North Salem is Dangerous Again0
By Chuck Slater
North Salem High baseball coach Rob Gilchrist, whose team won its first-ever Class C State championship last year, isn’t primarily concerned with having a great regular-season record. On a team that lost its ace pitcher (the C Player of the Year) and two other regulars to graduation, his Tigers are into a schedule that includes all the other Section 1 titlists—all larger: Ketcham (Class AA), John Jay (Class A) and Keio (Class B). And other bigger schools as well.
The goal for Gilchrist, whose club finished 20-6 a year ago, is not to win as many in-season games as possible but to be as battle-tested as possible for the post-season. “We should be right up there again,” the coach said. “We played all the tough teams last year, too, and that provided us with the opportunity to succeed.”
The opportunity is there again, led by All-State shortstop Adam Concadoro, on a team that is returning six regulars and outscored the opposition by 40-12 in four State tournament games. Concadoro, a senior committed to Misericordia University on a scholarship and with a 3.3 average, was the area’s best leadoff hitter when healthy; he missed post-season time a year ago. He is taking his high .300s batting average into the key Number 3 spot in the order. “He should have a great season if he stays healthy,” the coach said.
And so should pitchers Connor Mahoney and J.B. Healy, now 1-2 on Gilchrist’s staff with player-of-year Danny Capra (7-2, 1.20 ERA, 88 strikeouts in 58 innings) now throwing for Rochester Institute of Technology. But the left-handed Mahoney—“He’s our Number 1,” said Gilchrist— and Healy, who combined to beat Avon in last season’s State-title game, are still around and still dominant. “I feel good with those two,” the coach said. Both are seniors, and they can also hit, but next in line is a junior, Will Baumler. “My mindset is always, I’m going to get this guy out,” said Mahoney, who is headed for Quinnipiac.
Concadoro, who has been playing baseball since he was four, started out as an outfielder in middle school but was shifted to short—”and I love the position.” He also loves his team’s chances. “We still have a good, solid team,” he said, “and with the pitching so sound, we have a chance to do as well (as last year).”
A pleasant surprise, and filling a graduation-created outfield hole, is sophomore Rian Balbino. “The team really likes him,” Gilchrist said. “He put a lot of work in during the off-season, including weights. He’s ready.” “We have four kids hoping to play second base and third base,” the coach added.
There is no such question mark at the spot between the two bases. “Concadoro is our guy,” Gilchrist said. “The whole season the bats were going,” Gilchrist’s guy said. The Tigers are looking to repeat that consistency.