Thunderbirds Soaring At Season’s Start

HALF HOLLOW HILLS, New York, April 9

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

The Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills High School East’s baseball team completed its first three-game series sweep of the 2014-2015 season on Monday by defeating the Eagles of Copiague, 12-3, in League III play.

The Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills High School East are back on the baseball diamond to start their 2014-2015 campaign, of which, Head Coach Tim Belz is expecting big things. (Long Islander News photo/archives)
The Thunderbirds of Half Hollow Hills High School East are back on the baseball diamond to start their 2014-2015 campaign, of which, Head Coach Tim Belz is expecting big things. (Long Islander News photo/archives)

Kevin Jimenez led the Thunderbirds on the mound as he allowed just three hits, one walk and an earned run to earn the first win of his varsity career. Matt Schwartz fueled the Thunderbirds’ offense with a 2-for-2 campaign from the plate – including a home run – which earned him 3 RBIs.

Looking to build on last season, when the Thunderbirds finished league play with an 8-10 record, Head Coach Tim Belz was excited about Hills East’s fast start.

“We had a young team last year, but now this is the best team, all around, that I’ve ever had,” Belz said. “We’re going for a league title and we hope that we can perform at the level we need to in order to get there.”

This year’s Thunderbirds squad rosters 13 seniors and six players who have already committed to playing baseball at the college level.

Catcher Rich Villa, committed to Lafayette University, is a four-year varsity player that’s “all the way around good” at the game of baseball.

Brandon Bonomo, Hills East’s no. 1 pitcher, is a senior headed for Marist University in the fall with a fastball that touches the 90 miles-per-hour mark, Belz said. Bonomo led the Thunderbirds in their first-of-three wins over Copiague (0-3) with an 11-strikeout performance on March 30; Hills East won that game 8-0.

“He’s a legitimate no. 1 pitcher,” Belz said.

Sophomore Patch Dooley made his mark as Hills East’s no. 2 pitcher in the team’s second win over the Eagles, which came via a score of 15-4 on April 1. Dooley struck out 10 and allowed just one hit, one walk and no earned runs over four innings to secure his first varsity win.

Perhaps one of Hills East’s strongest players, Belz said, also rattled the scorecards during that win: freshman “phenom” Matt Hogan.

“He’s got a cannon for an arm and he runs well,” Belz said of the centerfielder. “He’s a big, strong kid that started for us last year as an eighth-grader.”

Hogan went 4-for-5 with a home run, triple and 6 RBIs to power the Thunderbirds past Copiague on April 1, and, on Monday, he contributed by shutting the Eagles down in the final three innings of the game with a solid pitching performance.

The Thunderbirds (3-0), however, didn’t skip a beat and were back out on the diamond early Tuesday after press time to begin a series with the Wildcats of Walt Whitman (0-2). The final game of that three-game series will be played at Walt Whitman High School on Friday; first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, April 9, 2015;  A27)

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