Looking back on Red Dragons’ season
It’s been 56 years since the Niles Red Dragons have won a district championship in baseball.
It wasn’t a year coach Mike Guarnieri envisioned, but it was another one the Red Dragons baseball team saw themselves in yet another time in district play.
Some veteran players. Some underclassmen.
It was a rough start to the season with only one win in the annual trip to Myrtle Beach in early April.
Niles made the mix work, as they’ve done for so many years.
Unfortunately, the Red Dragons fell short once again, losing about a month ago to Canfield in a Divison II Struthers District final.
No regional appearance once again.
“I wouldn’t say it was a surprising season, but it was one we knew we were going to have to develop as a team, develop some younger guys,” Guarnieri said at the May 31 Niles Dragons baseball camp.
He saw this team overcome setbacks and come together, like they’ve done most years.
“I was proud of how the guys came along and the younger guys following the leadership of the senior and really buying into what we’re doing,” Guarnieri said.
They lose ace pitcher Marco DeFalco to graduation, who is heading Youngstown State University to play for the Penguins.
His loss doesn’t mean Niles won’t be competitive next season.
“Marco was a special player, special pitcher,” Guarnieri said. “We feel real good about the group we’re bring back. We’re going to bring back Corbin Foy, who was out with the ACL. He’ll be back in the rotation and back at shortstop next year. He’s going to pick up where Marco left off.”