Flyers Form One of the Most Talented Teams in Chaminade High School History

Photo by Geoff Walter ’01

Jack Chitos ’23

This year’s varsity baseball team proved to be one of Chaminade High School’s most exciting teams ever. After winning last year’s NSCHSAA championship, the team sought to repeat that victory with a new, star-studded roster. Made up of 16 college baseball commits, nine of whom committed to D-I programs, this varsity team is being called the most talented in Chaminade history.

Prior to the start of the season, the varsity team was ranked 10th out of the top 25 Northeast high school teams, and second in New York. The Flyers started out the first game of the season with a 4-3 win against St. John the Baptist High School, where Nick Ungania ’22 went three-for-four, with four RBIs. The Flyers started out hot; they won their next two games against Kellenberg Memorial High School, where the Chaminade pitching staff—led by strong outings from John Downing ’22 and JJ Gatti ’22—threw two shutouts. Their next game against Xaverian High School resulted in a 8-5 win for the Flyers, as Matthew Dieguez ’23 finished two for four with a home run. 

The Flyers then swept St. Dominic High School, 6-5 and 7-6, hitting three home runs in the two game stretch. Next they played Archbishop Molloy High School; Andrew Heiderstadt ’22 and Antonio Tufano ’23 combined for 7.2 scoreless innings.

The score was 3-3, but a walk-off single by Aidan Katzman ’23 allowed the Flyers to score and propelled their record to 7-0. The Flyers looked to continue their undefeated season in a rematch with St. John the Baptist. Downing was dominant on the mound, throwing seven innings and striking out 14 batters, as run support came from Nolan Nawrocki ’22, who launched a solo home run. The Flyers dominated the next four games as well, with a total run differential of 63 to 1.

Some highlights from this stretch include Downing’s perfect game against St. Mary’s (recording 11 strikeouts in five innings), Evan Baschnagel ’23 recording three hits and four RBIs against Christ the King, and Michael Sweeney ’23 going two-for-three with a home run. In their next two games they played St. Anthony’s High School, where they split the series, winning 5-0 and then losing, 1-0.

The Flyers then bounced back, sweeping Holy Trinity, 4-0 and 4-1, with Vinny Roman ’22 and Nawrocki both hit home runs. In their next game against Monsignor McClancy Memorial

High School, the Flyers pitched juniors: Matt Brandt ’23, Jack Puvogel ’23, Giacomo Travaglia ’23, John Ruchalski ’23, Matt Connolly ’23, and Tufano, and they gave up no runs and had nine strikeouts in a 4-1 win. 

In their final game of the season the Flyers played St. Francis Prep, winning 4-0 and finishing with a 17-1 record as they clinched the #1 seed. After securing a first-round bye, CHS played St. John the Baptist, winning 1-0. Downing pitched a complete-game shutout, and Brady Steinert ’22 got the RBI single for Chaminade. Next, the Flyers played St. Anthony’s in the semifinals and, although the score was 0-0 going into the 6th, the Flyers rallied for 11 runs, winning 11-0.

Gatti pitched a complete game, and Baschnagel went two- for-two with a three-run home run. Finally, the Flyers faced Kellenberg in the finals in a best-of-three tournament. After losing the first game, the Flyers bounced back with a commanding 8-1 victory over Kellenberg.

In the final game, the Flyers beat Kellenberg as Heiderstadt pitched six innings and gave up no runs. Nawrocki had a two- RBI double to give the Flyers the lead.

As the season comes to a close, certain key players have led this team to their success. Ungania finished with the highest batting average at .458, followed by Baschnagel at .357, and Roman at .356. Ungania led the team in RBIs with 22. Nawrocki had 20, and Brian Heckelman ’22 had 16. Deiguez led the team in home runs with three. Steinert led the team in walks with 19, and Ungania led the team in stolen bases with 28.

On the pitching side, Downing led the team with eight wins. Gatti won six games, and Heiderstadt won four. Chaminade’s three starting pitchers led the strikeout column as well: Downing had 97 strikeouts, Gatti had 60, and Heiderstadt had 31. This was followed by the closer Tufano, who had 17 strikeouts with an ERA of 0.00 and five saves. Of the three starters, Downing had the lowest ERA with 0.48, followed by Heiderstadt with a 0.67 and Gatti with a 1.00. Congratulations to the team on an outstanding year!