The Hills West baseball program is traditionally one of the top in the county, led by head coach Thomas Migliozzi. Even with such success, expectations coming into this year were high. After finishing third in the county last year, and with a talented core of players returning, the Colts were picked to win their league this season.
The Colts’ season began with five nonleague games, which they swept to bring their record to 5-0. One of their opponents, Kings Park, ended up finishing the regular season with a 16-2 record. The team’s three starting pitchers were established to be juniors Aaron Glickstein and Jon Faraci and senior Tommy DiGiorgi. Following this stellar start to the season, league play kicked off with a three game series against Riverhead. Hills West won all three games behind exceptional pitching and with some displays of a potent offense. Now, with an 8-0 record, the Colts had to tackle their main league competition, with series against Hauppauge, East Islip, and West Babylon.
The first game of the series against Hauppauge saw a highly anticipated meeting between star pitchers, with Aaron Glickstein on the mound for the Colts. Hills West managed to squeak out a victory in a close, low scoring game that was highly contested throughout. The next game was also a victory for the Colts, but the third game proved more of an issue. The way that the schedule worked out, Hauppauge had enough time off to throw their ace pitcher again, and it proved the difference, as the Colts’ offense was held in check and Hauppauge escaped with the win. This brought Hills West’s record to 10-1, with a 5-1 record in league play.
The next series saw the Colts matched up against the defending league title, East Islip. The pitching once again shined in the first game, as Aaron Glickstein threw a no-hitter, a remarkable feat against a talented team. The second game saw the offense shine and take another victory. In the third game, however, the sweep once again evaded the Colts as late miscues let the opponent win the game, giving the Colts their second loss of the season. This set the Colts one game behind West Babylon in the league standings with a deciding matchup upcoming.
In the series against West Babylon, each team only needed to win two of the three games to essentially secure a league title. In the crucial first game, Hills West rolled behind pitcher Aaron Glickstein yet again, winning in a shutout. This meant that a victory in the second game would put the Colts in the drivers seat for the league title, but things did not go well. Pitcher Jon Faraci had to leave the game with an injury, and West Babylon took advantage, scoring 9 runs and winning the game, setting up an all-important rubber match that would decide the league. The Colts jumped out to an early lead, and Tommy DiGiorgi had one of his best outings of the year on the mound, meeting the pressure. A late run by West Babylon put the winning run for them in scoring position, but the threat was averted and the Colts won the game. This meant that, after sweeping Copiague, the weakest team in the league, the Colts were League champions.
Heading into the playoffs, the Colts were given the 2-seed in the county with their 17-3 record. Their first matchup was against 15-seed North Babylon, a team they have faced many times in the past. The game was scoreless for a long time, but a clutch hit by Owen McMenamy gave the Colts the 1-0 victory, sending North Babylon into the losers bracket of the double-elimination playoffs. This victory locked the Colts in to play Connetquot in the second round, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. A burst of offense early proved to be all they needed, and they won the game 4-0. The Colts are next slated to play defending Long Island champions Ward Melville in a crucial playoff game.
The Colts have not disappointed yet this season, losing just three games and winning their first two playoff games. Aaron Glickstein has been dominant on the mound, dictating every game in which he pitches. The offense has been led by Tommy DiGiorgi, who finished the regular season with a batting average over .500 and tied for the county lead with six home runs. The Colts are poised to make a deep run into the playoffs this year. To see the up-to-date playoff bracket, visit sectionxi.org.