It’s business as usual, but serious business nonetheless.
The Poly Prep baseball team has gotten used to being in title defense mode, having captured the New York State Association of Independent Schools championship five of the last six seasons.
That doesn’t mean that the Blue Devils squad is willing to rest on its laurels; coach Matt Roventini said his team is fully aware other squads are determined to upset it and is more than prepared for battle again this spring.
“They know that, no matter what people think of you, it matters how you play,” Roventini said. “They haven’t taken anything for granted or said, ‘We’ve been really good before, we’ll be good again.’ I think there’s always something to prove.”
The team has established itself as one of the most dominant prep baseball teams in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Poly spent a week in Florida late last month, competing against some of the top teams in the country; a trip that proved to be a big confidence-booster.
“Florida’s huge for us,” said senior pitcher Nick Storz. “It’s a major step in developing a team and especially the young team we have, it was a good week to learn the basics. It helped us a lot.”
Roventini added that his players “took advantage of every minute we got on the field. We’d practice and then play a game or play and then practice. They have fun, but it’s a business trip.”
Poly will start an almost entirely new infield this spring as well as brand-new players at the top three spots in the lineup, but the Blue Devils remain as confident as ever. The team boasts one of the strongest pitching rotations not just in its league, but in the entire state.
Storz — who has committed to attend Louisiana State University and is projected to be drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft this year — will lead the way, while Oliver McCarthy, committed to attend Duke, is also slated to see significant innings on the mound.
The duo pack a formidable one-two punch, but the coach noted that his team is also blessed with a deep bullpen and a capable offense.
“The pitching is going to carry us, that’s our plan and I think that’s going to be our strength,” Roventini said. “A lot of guys proved some very good things down there in Florida.”
Poly Prep’s expectation every season is to win a title, and this spring is no different. At the same time, the squad doesn’t feel pressured to repeat — just convinced that it will.
“I’m super confident,’ McCarthy said. “I don’t think we have anything to fear. Everyone’s buying into the team and I couldn’t be more excited.”