South Side braces for playoffs


South Side’s baseball team appears poised to reclaim the county title it relinquished last year.

The 2021 Nassau A champs have won nine of 10 after dropping the final two games of their series to Kennedy in early April to improve to 13-3 (12-2 in Conference A2 play) at press time. The Cyclones won the first two games of their series with Roslyn last week by a combined score of 23-1 and will make up the finale Thursday at Barasch Field.

South Side is also in contention for a division title and had a big three-game game series with first-place Garden City (14-2, 14-1) earlier this week.

“They started clicking [and] coming together,” coach Tom Smith said. “We’re able to dictate the game we want to play. We get on the field, the pitchers attack the zone, we play very good defense behind them and then we go to work with the bats. It really keeps the entire lineup fresh.”

South Side’s pitching has grown steadier as the season progressed. The starting staff of senior Justin Peralta (6-0) and juniors Matt Arnott and Trevor Marigliano (each 3-1) and relievers Thomas McCarthy and southpaw Gavin Donoghue have combined for six shutouts while holding the opposition to three runs or less 12 times.

“The pitching staff has really done a great job of focusing and attacking hitters, where early in the year we were dancing around the strike zone too much,” Smith said. “But now we’re attacking batters and they’re having phenomenal results.”

Peralta already has a pair of five-inning no hitters under his belt – the Cyclones won by the run rule each time – and that has contributed mightily to his 0.70 earned-run average. The 6-foot-6 Arnott hurled a complete game three-hitter against Roslyn on May 3 and Marigliano tossed a 1-hitter with eight strikeouts at Sewanhaka on April 20.

Smith lauded senior catcher Sean Britt, who helped Marigliano that day by going 4-for-4 with three doubles and four RBIs, for his work with the hurlers.

“Sean has been such a key piece,” Smith said. “The way he handled the younger pitchers in Trevor, Matt, Gavin Donoghue, just the way he talks to them and calls their game and has them feeling comfortable, he’s been a key piece.”

Another key piece is senior center fielder Robert Pericolosi, who is batting .447 with 19 RBIs. Last year’s All-County honoree drove in four runs in a 17-7 win over Kennedy on April 3 and homered in all three games of the Sewanhaka series.

“He’s our catalyst,” Smith said. “By far one of the most natural athletes I’ve ever coached.”

Senior right fielder Christopher Rosenbaum’s All-Conference play from a year ago has carried over into 2023 with a .447 batting average and left fielder Brady Callahan has been showing consistent gap power at the plate. Senior shortstop and ninth-place hitter Drew Aromiskis is batting almost .300 and second-place hitter and junior second baseman Jack Bodkin has also progressed offensively, according to Smith.