2011 Year in Review. April 2. Carbone versus Carbone. Torrington meets NYC.
TORRINGTON- At some point on Saturday afternoon, somebody on the Torrington boys baseball team will look around and utter the words, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”
That’s because the boys will be in the heart of New York City, preparing to take on one of the premier baseball teams in NYC and one of the top 20 in the country in a pre-season scrimmage for the visitors.George Washington High School, located in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, is one heck of a powerful baseball institution.
Names that may sound familiar like Manny Ramirez and Rod Carew called GW home at one point and today, a local Torrington alumni is at the helm of the program while his head coach fights a one-year suspension for illegal recruiting.
Nick Carbone, a three-time All-State baseball player for the Raiders who roamed the outfield at Fuessenich Park until he graduated in 2000, is managing the Trojans in 2011.
Gerry Carbone, the head honcho of the Raiders, thought it would be a great experience for his team to take on probably the best high school team any of them will ever face.
“This is a premier baseball team,” Carbone said, “They have players drafted each year and are ranked second this season amongst all the New York City teams.”
The younger Carbone has been teaching at GW for the past six years after attending Manhattan College following his graduation from THS.
Three GW players from the past few seasons are playing ball at the next level.
Mike Antonio was a third round pick chosen by the Kansas City Royals in last June’s MLB first-year player draft and is working at the Royals minor league complex.
Xyruse Martinez (Ball State, Indiana) and Nestor Martinez (Wharton County Junior College, Texas) played big roles for the Trojans over the past few seasons.
The Trojans are well into their regular season, having played 10 games so far, winning nine of them.
Steve Mandl, the suspended head coach who is fighting the charges levied against him in court, has been a legend at GW for over 27 years, winning over 900 games, 26 division championships, and two city championships in that span.
The younger Carbone has learned from the best and now gets to show his father what he has learned
“It’s going to be fun coaching against him,” Gerry Carbone said, “I told him not to embarrass the old man, though.”
The Torrington players, who may think a bus trip to Ansonia is rough, are about to experience some serious culture shock as they go to a school where the student go through metal detectors on their way in and see a steady diet of NYPD officers who regularly patrol the halls of the school.
For the Trojans, getting to a game is something of an adventure in itself, according to Gerry Carbone.
“I heard it took two hours for the players to get to Brooklyn for a game,” Carbone said, “ Two buses and a train later, they were at the field.”
The field itself will present a new set of challenges for the Raiders; they will play on turf.
GW uses a football field at the school with a diamond laid out on it for spring ball, so it will be a fast surface for certain.
Playing against the best can only serve to help the Raiders as they get ready to start action on Wednesday, April 6 against rival Naugatuck on road.
“I’m realistic,” Carbone said, “I want us to be competitive but understand we are playing against a very, very good team.”
Since the suspension of their coach, the Trojans have made it a rallying cry to win for the man who created all this greatness at the school.
Look out NYC schools, a championship caliber baseball team has a chip on their shoulder.
Just remember Nick, your mom and family will also be at the game. Take it easy on the boys from the northern country.