Studies went 13-3 in the Queens “AA” Eastern Division, a year after going 11-5, both of which were second-place finishes. Head coach William Carey, thrilled with the output in spite of the final result, labeled 2017 “a truly amazing season.”
“These kids work so very hard,” said Carey. “The school community has embraced this playoff run in an amazing way. The amount of people at the championship game and the outpouring of support is truly an honor.”
Not so bad coming from a team who only played two games on their home field throughout the course of the season, and couldn’t practice there due to conditions.
Putting together a 24-8 record in league play over the last couple of seasons, the Eagles have demonstrated a dominant level of consistency.
Coach Carey says that the “sky was the limit” for this group going into the season, who had an eye for the championship from the beginning and nearly achieved the landmark feat before missing out on a banner by a mere one-run deficit.
“I feel as a program we excel at being a true team,” he said. “When my players leave this program I want them to leave with the idea that hard work pays off, and this team truly embodied that concept.”
Unlike other programs, the Academy of American Studies has no junior varsity baseball club, so players are quickly thrown into the fire at a younger age.
One could argue, though, that is the best way to learn.
It also means that with one ball club, team building is even more critical, but perhaps more attainable. Carey attributes the team success to literally everyone on the roster, but specifically highlighted a few standouts, led by starting pitcher Julian Schwarz, whom he referred to as “one of the best ball players I have been around in my career.”
“In the championship, Julian pitched an amazing game and really put the team on his back,” said Carey. “Andrew Meshaj was one of the best catchers in the city this year and had an awesome relationship with Julian that truly led us.
“We also couldn’t have done this without the amazing fielding and hitting of shortstop Lorenzo Brea, center fielder Sebastian Castrillon, and left fielder Jorge Salazar,” he added. “With players like Tran Hennessy, Henry Bajraktari, and Jeff Zamora returning, we have a good core coming back so it really depends on how hard they push each other to get better and compete on a daily basis.”