By Ted Waddell
FALLSBURG Mike Weiner is taking over the reins from Darren Kenney this season as coach of the Fallsburg Comets varsity baseball team.
Weiner, who graduated from “The Home of the Comets” in 1976, will be assisted by Volunteer Coach Jeff O’Neill, a 2002 Fallsburg Central School graduate. O’Neill was a member of a Comets team that won a championship before he moved on to play baseball at Mt. Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
Last year, Fallsburg posted a 0-20 record, so in a sense the team has nowhere to go but up. Weiner is keeping his expectations on the short side for now until he sees how the season shapes up.
“One game at a time, and we’ll go from there,” he said. “We’re going back to the basics, inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch.”
As things stand now, the roster isn’t complete as Weiner is eyeing several kids from the Comets’ junior varsity team. But he doesn’t want to rob that program of too many players.
“We’re working around the edges,” he explained. “I’m worried about jayvee numbers.”
The Comets’ returning seniors include Sam Ingber, Nabil Javed, Michael Melko, Matt Seletsky, Greg Simpson and Colin Whitaker. Weiner said they will be joined by Zack Ingber, Danny Seletsky and “a lot of new kids.
“We’re going to have some experience on the front line, but in depth not as much,” Weiner said.
On the mound for the Comets will be Sam Ingber, Simpson, Whitaker and the Seletsky brothers.
“We’ve got an infield which is back this year, which is very important, [but] I’m worried about the outfield because we have some holes to fill,” Weiner said.
Weiner is in the final selection process for the team. But it looks like Jim Bertholf, a freshman, will be behind the plate and Sam Ingber will be anchoring center field.
“But I still have some questions about left [field] and right [field],” Weiner commented.
Weiner certainly knows his way around the diamond as he served as the Fallsburg varsity baseball coach from 1989 to 1991, along with spending “quite a few years on jayvee and [as the] assistant varsity coach.
“I played baseball when I went to school at Fallsburg,” Weiner said. “I believe in [the Fallsburg school colors of] Black and Gold and Fallsburg baseball is very dear to me. I love the game at Fallsburg.”
According to Weiner “it’s going to be a big dogfight” this season between three of the schools in Fallsburg’s division, which is Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV. The three schools Weiner referred to are John S. Burke Catholic High School, Liberty Central School and Sullivan West Central School.
Taking a realistic view of where the Comets will be at the end of the season, Weiner said, “Hopefully, we’ll be in the mix somewhere down the line.
“We’ve had a couple of rough years, but thinking positively, hopefully we’ll turn it around,” he added.