Playing in one of the toughest baseball conferences in Nassau County, the youthful Lynbrook Owls have held their own so far in the young season, thanks in large part to starting pitching.
In six conference games, the team has surrendered three runs or fewer in four of them. With a starting lineup of mostly sophomores and juniors, the team boasts a 4-5 overall record and 2-4 conference record.
Unfortunately for the Owls, it’s their offense that they’re waiting for to start clicking. After beginning conference play earlier this month by taking 2-of-3 from Floral Park and allowing just nine total runs in the process, the Owls faced Valley Stream North next and held them to 11 runs over the three-game set. But Lynbrook was unable to score in the series, mired in an offensive drought exacerbated by a little bit of bad luck.
In the opening game of the VSN series on April 15, junior Phil Piro allowed just two runs in the 2-0 defeat. Two days later, senior Andrew Abrams pitched a complete game in a 1-0 loss.
While Lynbrook coach Al Marrazzo said his offense is still a work in progress, he noted that his players have been hitting into some tough outs. “We unfortunately hit the ball on the screws six or seven times directly at people,” he said of their most recent series. “But I’m really happy with how we battled this week. We played a really tough team.”
The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Owls. They began a three-game set on Monday against three-time defending Class A champion Wantagh. That’s followed by a series against North Shore, before the Owls wrap the regular season with a trio of games in early May against last year’s Class A runner-up, Division.
Seeing these top teams day-in and day-out, Marrazzo said, will be a positive step towards battle testing his young team. “It’s good for them,” he said. “They see what good competition is like. It’s good baseball.”
Along with Piro and Abrams, Marrazzo said junior Danny Dalrymple has been another highly reliable starter this season. “Our pitching has been outstanding,” the coach said.
Marrazzo said he is still experimenting with different lineup combinations to help bolster the offense. He credited leadoff hitter and centerfielder Nick Focarazzo, a junior, for doing his part to set the table by getting on base consistently. So far, they just haven’t been able to cash in.
“We do see improvement,” said Marrazzo, noting an uptick in quality at-bats his team has had recently. “Just get better every day. That’s our mantra.”
So far, Marrazzo said his team has embraced the challenge. And continuing to progress with his young team against the county’s toughest competition is a prospect that excites him. “They’re all great kids,” he said. “After another offseason, they’re going come back better and stronger. When you work with great kids with great families, your job is easy. That’s what I’m looking forward to most.”