OAK BLUFFS, Mass. – Not only are some of the Marymount (Va.) University baseball players out prepping for another season on the diamond in summer leagues throughout the East Coast, but so is Head Coach Frank Leoni, who is managing a squad in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England.
Leoni, the inaugural head coach for the Saints' baseball program that started in 2014, took over the Martha's Vineyard Sharks this summer and has guided them back into contention for another league title. The 2013 FCBL champions claimed the regular-season title on Sunday night with a 13-1 victory over the North Shore Navigators, moving their overall record to 34-20. The Sharks are the hottest team in the league right now, winning eight of their previous 10 games.
In his first season at the helm, Leoni was named the league's Co-Manager of the Year after sealing up the top seed in the playoffs in last night's victory.
Leoni has helped the team to a .282 batting average, 528 hits and 325 runs, all of which lead the league. Additionally, throughout the summer, he has coached two players from the Capital Athletic Conference. Earlier in the season, Salisbury University's Pete Grasso played in four games, and currently, Frostburg State University's Ryan Callahan is a part of Leoni's pitching staff, throwing in one game so far for seven strikeouts and the win.
The program has become a perennial contender for the title, winning the championship in 2013 in a two-game sweep of the Nashua Silver Knights before falling short in the title series in 2014 to the Worcester Bravehearts.
The road to the championship begins on Tuesday, August 11 with the first-round matchups. The top-seeded Sharks will play host to eighth-seeded Pittsfield in a single-elimination game. Pending a victory, the squad would advance to another knockout-round game on Wednesday looking to advance to a best-of-three championship series starting on Thursday.
Picture Caption (Top right): Starting from the left, Sharks' Owner John Roberts, Manager Frank Leoni, FCBL Commissioner Chris Hall, and Sharks' General Manager Shana Metzger.
Picture Caption (Bottom right): Leoni with Sharks' minority owner and celebrity Bill Murray, who threw out the regular-season finale's first pitch on Sunday night.