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The Portledge Baseball program is thriving in 2015, with an impressive record of 11-1, and currently ranked 3rd overall in preparatory schools in the Northeast, according to High School sports website, MaxPreps. The Panthers are led by six tremendous seniors that made a major impact in the victory against a solid St. Ann’s team from Brooklyn, NY, during the ACIS Division I semi-finals game on May 9. The Panthers are ranked #1 in the ACIS Division I League as they prepare to take on Berkeley Carroll, the defending champions, in the championship game at MCU Park on Tuesday, May 12 at 4pm.
Since Coach Frank Battaglia took over the helm in 2011-2012, he has produced some of the top preparatory school players and teams in the Northeast. Coach Battaglia has brought experience and wisdom, through eleven years of college coaching, to the Portledge Varsity Baseball Program. In his first year with the program, he developed two of the top hitters in the preparatory school league and, in his second year, Portledge won the PSAA Division II Championship title leading to the first Varsity Baseball Championship in the school’s history. In 2015, Coach Battaglia’s impressive coaching methods have led to several of Portledge's top hitters and pitchers receiving regional recognition on MaxPreps.
Zack Kleinwaks '15, leads the preparatory school division in five categories: batting average .645, slugging percentage 1.096, on base percentage .700, 23 runs batted in and 1 home run on the season. Other Portledge offensive standouts include: Nick Reda '15, ranked 2nd in batting average .516 and slugging percentage .645, and Bradley Stewart '15, ranked top five in six different categories. Stewart, the Panther’s ace, boasts a .30 ERA and holds the MaxPreps #1 ranking in preparatory schools. Matt Butler '15, another notable senior, is leading the team with six wins on the season, #1 in MaxPreps among preparatory schools in Batter Strike Outs with 33, and is #2 in ERA with .82. Anthony Porrino '17, the phenomenal closer in the ACIS semi-finals game, is also ranked in the top five in five different categories on MaxPreps.
Now that the “March Madness” of college basketball has come to an end, the only NCAA Division I winter sport that has yet to crown a National Champion is Men’s Ice Hockey. That will be accomplished this Saturday night, in Boston, Massachusetts, when the Frozen Four Championship game takes place (ESPN @ 7:30pm). Portledge is very proud to be represented in the final game of the college hockey season by two alumni. Providence College junior, Thomas Parisi, Portledge Class of 2011, will be a leading figure for the Friars, and Boston University freshman, Brandon Fortunato, Portledge Class of 2014, will be logging serious ice time on defense for the Terriers.
Parisi, who scored the game winning goal for Providence in the Regional Final, was a senior captain at Portledge in 2010-2011 season. While wearing a Panthers uniform for 4 years, Parisi scored 124 total points. When discussing Parisi’s contributions to the Portledge program, the Panthers Head Coach, Jon Sandos, commented, “...his leadership, especially during his senior season, was second to none. The attitude he displayed both on and off the ice helped us have one of our best seasons ever. He is a very talented and skilled player who has a high hockey IQ which helps him be an impact player on every shift”.
Fortunato attended Portledge in 9th and 10th grade before being selected to participate in the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Despite his diminutive stature, Fortunato is a smooth skating and highly effective puck moving defenseman. Before becoming a highly decorated international player, Fortunato scored 52 points for Portledge during his two seasons on the Varsity. Coach Sandos added, “Brandon’s skating ability allows him to make plays most other players cannot make. His hands are impressive and he always provides an offensive spark from the back end.”
In addition to these two players, who are both playing at the pinnacle of the collegiate level, another Portledge alumnus, Jeremy Bracco, Class of 2015, is in Switzerland competing at the Under 18 World Championships for Team USA. Bracco attended Portledge for 3 years prior to also being selected to join the National Team Development Program. Bracco is projected to potentially be a late first round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. “Jeremy has the best vision of any player I have ever coached. His ability to see options and plays before they happen is nothing short of impressive, and when combined with his exceptional skating skill, separates him from most other players” said Sandos.
Parisi, Fortunato and Bracco are just a few from a long and impressive list of Portledge hockey players that have gone on to be successful at the collegiate and professional levels. Portledge continues to provide Long Island student athletes with the opportunity to receive an exceptional college preparatory education combined with a highly competitive prep school hockey program.
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