Whitesboro baseball team pushing for more success

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(Note: This article is part of a series of high school baseball season previews. Look for more in the coming days.)

WHITESBORO — The Whitesboro baseball team is familiar with having some success in the postseason.

The Warriors won the Section III Class A title in 2019 and 2017. The team made it to the final in 2018. The team came up short last spring in falling in the semifinals, however.

The goal remains the same for longtime coach Tom Maggiolino – in his 13th year with the varsity squad – and the Warriors with seven seniors among the 20 players on the roster.

“Our expectations never change: It is to play late in June,” said Maggiolino, whose team finished 13-3 overall during a condensed 2021 season when he was also coach for Whitesboro’s football campaign that overlapped for a short time because of COVID-19 challenges. “That’s always the goal. That’s something we’re always going to stay with.” 

The Warriors are scheduled to open the regular-season at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Fayetteville-Manlius. Whitesboro’s home opener is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday against Baldwinsville at the middle school.

The team graduated four seniors from last spring and Maggiolino noted there’s a good mix of juniors and sophomores on the team this season.

He said the Warriors are “starting from scratch in certain respects.” 

Maggiolino said two seniors on this year’s squad  —  pitcher/infielder Ryan Cook and shortstop Max Pawlowski —  were freshmen on that successful 2019 team. The pair will be looked to provide leadership for the Warriors, he said. 

“They definitely learned a lot as far as leadership from the seniors (on that team) and what postseason baseball is all about,” Maggiolino said. “It is good to lean on them for our younger guys.”

Both will be looked to defensively this season, which remains of Whitesboro’s strengths, he said. They’re especially looking for solid defense from Pawlowski, one of the team’s captains. 

Maggiolino said the Warriors will lean on the team’s pitching. The Warriors’ top three returning pitchers are key. 

That group is led by senior Colin Skermont (0.77 earned-run average and 6-0 record with a save in 38 innings in 2021). “He brings all the tools,” Maggiolino said. “Obviously, on the mound, he can really do the job.” 

Cook (0.75 ERA in 28 innings in 2021) and Brian Zbytnieswki (1.64 ERA in 17 innings) fill out the team’s top three pitchers. 

Cook, who has been on the varsity for four seasons, is also an athletic first baseman while Zbytnieswki plays third and bats in the middle of the lineup, Maggiolino said. 

The other seniors are Dominic Bullis, Aidan Green and DaShawn Hutchinson and will be counted on as well. Juniors Jacob Scalise and Ty Montrose are other players the Warriors will be aiming to help, Maggiolino said. There are four sophomores on the roster. 

“We’re looking for solid pitching and good defense behind us. The offense will come,” Maggiolino said. 

Whitesboro’s offense tries to have a “little bit of everything,” Maggiolino said. 

“We can get to the small ball game and take pride in that,” he said. “We have some speed and the kids can handle the bat. If we need to get into that game, we can.” 

The Warriors have some good nonconference games to start before getting into the Tri-Valley League games. Maggiolino said the TVL remains tough and will help prepare teams.

“If you survive our league and get into sectionals, you’re going to be in good shape,” he said. 

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