On Monday, March 25, the Harrison Huskies played their first game of the 2019 season, dropping their opener to visiting Nanuet 3-2 in a six-inning game shortened by darkness. But even though the young Huskies’ first action ended in defeat, head coach Marco DiRuocco remains confident that his players will continue to improve as they get more experience under their belt.
With just three returning players this year, DiRuocco said he expected his team to suffer through a few hiccups early on but was pleased with the way his team competed against the Golden Knights overall. The game was tied at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning when Nanuet finally broke through, scoring the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly.
“Nanuet got the timely hit that they needed and that’s going to do it; especially in the beginning of the year,” DiRuocco told the Review. “We had our chances, but we made some base-running mistakes, some plays in the field, and we are just going to have to alleviate those mistakes.”
The Huskies fell behind early, as senior starter Jimmy Horvath walked in a run in the top of the first inning, but Horvath rebounded from the shaky start to pitch 4.2 innings in which he allowed just one earned run. According to DiRuocco, the right-hander will be an important cog for the Huskies this year, lending experience and competitiveness to a relatively young pitching staff.
“That first inning, especially the first of the year can be tough and I was very pleased with the way he settled in after that,” DiRuocco said. “But I’m not shocked by anything he does because he’s got a bulldog mentality and we’re going to rely on him to be an absolute workhorse for us this year.”
Horvath, along with Christian Pizzutello and Vinny Corso—who will likely take the mound on Saturday, March 30 when the Huskies take on Yonkers—will be tasked with helping the team’s younger players eliminate some of the mistakes that led to Monday’s loss.
Corso, in particular, will be expected to play a big role as the only other experienced pitcher on the roster.
“We’re going to need to rely on those guys to help out some of the younger players early on,” DiRuocco said. “Jimmy, Vinny and Chris, they know what this program is about and they know what we are asking of them.”
After hosting Yonkers, the Huskies will play reigning Class A champion Lakeland on April 1.
“We just need to learn from our mistakes and figure out how we are going to move on from this game,” DiRuocco said. “The bar is now set and we just have to continue to get better.”