North Haven Baseball Stayed Strong to Claim Division Title
The 2022 edition of the North Haven baseball team rallied down the home stretch of the season to win the SCC Oronoque Division title this spring. With 64 years as North Haven’s head coach under his belt, Bob DeMayo said that he will remember this year’s squad by how the Nighthawks battled until the very end to finish their year as divisional champs.
North Haven completed the spring season with an overall record of 9-13. The Nighthawks went 9-11 during the regular season, winning three of their last four games to qualify for both SCCs and states. North Haven clinched its spot in the Class L State Tournament with an 11-1 home win over Shelton on May 17. Two nights later, the Nighthawks notched a 9-7 victory at West Haven to claim the Oronoque Division crown and secure a berth in the SCC Tournament.
After winning its first two games of the season, North Haven then lost three games in a row. The Nighthawks went on to alternate wins and losses throughout the year before putting together a nice stretch at the end. Coach DeMayo said that winning the Oronoque title showed that this year’s team kept playing hard regardless of the circumstance and was determined to be remembered as a winner.
“When we started the year, we had a lot of people out. It was a tough battle all the way,” said DeMayo. “Getting in and winning the division was big.”
By virtue of winning the Oronoque Division, North Haven clinched its bid to compete in the SCC Tournament. The Nighthawks were the No. 8 seed in SCCs and took a 4-1 loss to top-seeded Xavier in a first-round game. Coach DeMayo’s squad then entered the Class L State Tournament as the No. 25 seed. North Haven faced No. 8 seed Lyman Hall in the first round and took a 3-1 defeat.
In both its postseason games and throughout the season, Coach DeMayo said it came down to consistency for North Haven this year. While the Nighthawks didn’t finish the postseason how they wanted to, DeMayo said if that things could have been different if just a few more hits went their way.
“We had all kinds of opportunities to win the games. We just never came up with that key hit. It just didn’t happen. They were two close games,” DeMayo said. “A couple of hits, it could have been a different season. But that’s baseball. The variables are there. Sometimes they help you, and sometimes they destroy you.”
Heading into the season, North Haven had lost several top pitchers from last year’s team. Throughout this season, DeMayo held eight scrimmages as he looked to find out who could step up on the mound. DeMayo put together a staff that included junior Antonio Fusco, who served as one of the team’s top pitchers; and junior Tyler Harger, the team’s original starting catcher who went on to win four games on the hill. Senior Alex Bauman pitched in 10 games for North Haven, while junior Jack Martineau earned two wins on the year.
Junior Steven Vincent was sidelined from the pitching staff for a good portion of the season. Vincent was able to come back at the end of the year and give North Haven some innings. The Nighthawks also used Owen Pincince in a relief role as the senior captain appeared in seven games this season.
Pincince, who also played second base, was named to the All-SCC First Team for the second-straight campaign as one of North Haven’s top hitters. Pincince led the Nighthawks a .458 batting average and .571 on-base percentage while recording 18 RBI on the year.
Fellow senior captain Michael Anquillare hit .330 and had an on-base percentage of .480 for the season. Anquillare led North Haven with 19 RBI and played the first 20 games of the year in the outfield without making an error. Anquillare was named to the All-SCC First Team, the Class L All-State Team, and was also Academic All-State.
Pincince and Anquillare led the charge as North Haven’s two captains this year. Coach DeMayo described both athletes as among the best captains he’s ever worked with in his 64 years at the helm. DeMayo said that Pincince and Anquillare were always determined to improve and, while they weren’t happy with the Nighthawks’ postseason exit, they felt proud about the progress that the team had made.
“They’re two of the best I’ve ever had. They worked with a young team and were able to pull some games out,” said DeMayo, who finished this season with 937 career wins. “They were disappointed with how it ended, but they knew we were on the right track. They knew we were improving. The captains were key in that. They never got down. They were always positive. They were good kids and good leaders.”
Next to the captains, the biggest contributors for North Haven’s offense were fellow seniors Sal Giaimo, who had a .286 batting average; Anthony Acampora, who hit .283 to go with 16 RBI; and Shaun Murray, who posted a .494 on-base percentage as the team’s leadoff hitter.
North Haven’s senior class also included Ty Rooney, Mike Brandt, Chris Tobin, Chris Hager, Tyler Signore, Derek Mortali, and Derek Novicki. Coach DeMayo said that the Nighthawks’ seniors all played a crucial role down the stretch leading up to the team’s Oronoque-clinching win.
Looking ahead to next year, Coach DeMayo feels that the returning Nighthawks got a good lesson in what it takes to be a winning team and how to persevere through adversity in 2022. DeMayo wants those returning players to take a piece of what he will remember most from this year’s team. DeMayo will always remember that the Nighthawks worked together and played hard until the final out, no matter the outcome.
“We hung in there at the end of the year when we looked like we were really low. With the leadership of the seniors, we were able to pull together and make something out of the season, regardless of the situation,” said DeMayo. “They stayed together and worked together. We worked our butts off and shook off a bad start and were able to win something.”
The North Haven baseball team’s varsity roster includes senior captains Owen Pincince and Michael Anquillare; seniors Ty Rooney, Alex Bauman, Mike Brandt, Sal Giaimo, Chris Tobin, Chris Hager, Tyler Signore, Shaun Murray, Derek Mortali, Anthony Acampora, and Derek Novicki; juniors Tyler Kornacki, Steven Vincent, Antonio Fusco, Jack Martineau, Tyler Harger, Noah Greco, Luke Blasi, and Will Whitcomb; and sophomores Max Cargan, Jake Pomichter, Ryan Bauman, Jordan Higgins and John O’Neill.