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Vincentian baseball has new coach, young core

Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal - Vincentian's Phil Madonna is a standout catcher entering his junior season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Louis Raggiunti  |  Pine Creek Journal</em></div>Vincentian's Phil Madonna is a standout catcher entering his junior season.
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal - Vincentian sophomore Jay Cortese will be a staple in the lineup this season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Louis Raggiunti  |  Pine Creek Journal</em></div>Vincentian sophomore Jay Cortese will be a staple in the lineup this season.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Baseball used to be a way of life for new Vincentian baseball coach Jay Fennell. Fennell spent years coaching baseball at Baldwin and Butler as well as teaching the sport.

He helped his sons grow up with the sport, sending both to play in college and one to the Chicago White Sox organization.

With several years at the Class AAAA level on his résumé, Fennell opted to coach a Class A program.

He inherits a rather young squad, but the new coach is quick to point out that although his team may be overlooked, it won't let that effect how it approaches the season.

The team will build around junior catcher Phil Madonna, a player Fennell said is one of the smartest and best he has seen.

“Nobody manages a game better, and he will definitely play baseball after high school,” Fennell said.

Senior Jake Bartoszewicz is a team captain and third baseman who also will pitch this year.

Fellow senior Ryan McCann will be in the starting pitching rotation and be a designated hitter. Junior Greg McQueen will pitch and help out in the infield, and fellow junior Anthony Smaldino will play in the outfield.

The sophomore class is the biggest at Vincentian Academy (89 students in all), and the baseball team reflects that trend.

Nine players are sophomores, including the top two pitchers.

That class begins with Jay Cortese, the hardest thrower on the team according to Fennell.

“He has explosion in his arm,” Fennell said.

“I expect big things from him. He has power and will bat fourth for us.”

Center fielder Ryan Wolfe will bat leadoff, and Ian Taylor will help out the pitching rotation as a solid lefty option.

Alex Madonna will play shortstop, and David Morgano will factor into the mix to round out the squad.

“We are young, but the message is don't wait until next year, think this year,” Fennell said.

“Our sophomores are good enough to win now.

“There is a lot of pressure on the sophomores … we have a sophomore batting first, third and fourth. They need to play like seniors for us to win games.”

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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