N I A G A R A G A Z E T T E
HS BASEBALL: GI expects to be in NFL title huntBy Nate Beutel
GRAND ISLAND — Dean Santorio has always been known for
his demanding style as a coach both on the gridiron and the diamond. But this
year, the veteran coach doesn’t even have to plead with his team — they know
what it’s going to take to achieve their goals.
“I like the fact that that this group has a great work ethic, they have the desire to succeed and a passion to play the game,” Santorio said. “This is a really focused group.”
Senior Matt Klock agreed.
“It’s more of a business-type attitude around here this year,” he said. “We’ve all been putting our time in. We’re pretty focused and hopefully that will carry out on the field.”
A lot of the enthusiasm on the island has to do with a large contingent of returnees, including the Vikings’ top two pitchers — brothers Joel and Matt Klock. Joel, just a sophomore, will be GI’s ace. The southpaw has added zip on his fastball and his off-speed repertoire is top-notch.
“I have all the confidence in the world in him,” Matt said of his younger sibling.
Matt, meanwhile, will give GI a solid No. 2 with seniors Greg Stephan and Neal DeMartin also to see plenty of time on the hill.
At the dish, Matt Klock and Joe Oliverio will provide the pop in the middle of the order. Klock will man center field when he’s not on the mound, while Oliverio returns for his second year as the Vikings catcher.
The top of the lineup features a lot of speed with junior Shaun Winter to lead off and play left field. DeMartin, a great contact hitter, will hit second and man either shortstop or second base. Chris Podlucky, a junior, will join DeMartin in the middle infield. When Joel Klock isn’t pitching, he’ll play first base. Stephan will rotate between first and third base depending on who’s pitching for GI.
Senior Mike Heftka will likely play right field, with junior Marvin Pawlowski and his “heavy bat” also to see plenty of time.
“Our lineup is pretty solid one through nine this year,” DeMartin said. “We all have great fundamentals defensively too.”
Now, the Vikings are hoping all their hard work pays off on the diamond as they prepare for a rugged Niagara Frontier League schedule.
“We should be right in the mix with everyone this year,” DeMartin said. “We’re very excited about our chances.”
Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.
2008 BASEBALL ROSTER
Name Grade Position
Bob Amsdill 11 1B
Joe Amsdill 12 2B
Neal DeMartin 12 2B/SS/P
Mike Heftka 12 OF
Mike Karpie 11 OF
Joel Klock 10 1B/P
Matt Klock 12 OF/P
P.J. Lemme 12 3B
Joe Oliverio 11 C
Marvin Pawlowski 11 OF/3B/C
Chris Podlucky 11 SS/2B
Greg Stephan 12 1B/3B/P
Shaun Winter 11 OF/2B
• COACH: Dean Santorio
• LEAGUE: Niagara Frontier League
• KEY HITTERS: Neal DeMartin (Sr.), Joe Oliverio (Jr.), Chris Podlucky (Jr.), Shaun Winter (Jr.)
• KEY PITCHERS: Joel Klock (Soph.), Matt Klock (Sr.), Greg Stephan (Sr.)
• THE QUESTION: Can GI compete with the upper-echelon of the NFL on a daily basis?