An up and down season for Edgemont baseball thus far has not stopped senior captain Anthony Langiulli from a having breakout season.
The story goes back to Edgemont’s forgettable 2018 baseball season, where they churned out an abysmal 2-17 record just one year after making the Section 1 finals for the first time since 1999. Langiulli was a workhorse behind the dish, starting all but two games at catcher. He was awarded the team MVP award for his play in the field, in addition to swinging his way to a .302 average, as well as being second on the team with 13 hits.
Langiulli’s solid season did not come without a price, as it was discovered after the season that he had suffered a torn left labrum presumably while swinging a bat. Langiulli opted to postpone surgery until after his senior football season, where at quarterback and on defense, he led the Panthers to a 5-3 record, pacing the team in yards, touchdowns and tackles.
Doctors expected a four- to six-month recovery time, which meant he would likely miss the majority of the baseball season, probably leaving him as a designated hitter late in the season.
After the surgery, Langiulli stuck to a rigorous physical therapy routine, three times a week for three months leading up to the season. “The surgery was tough, but the recovery was the most mentally draining,” he said. “I’m glad that the countless hours of stretching, testing and repeating are over.”
Langiulli’s goal was to return for the first game and remarkably he did just that, catching fellow senior and team ace Kevin Lee in the opening day win vs. Dobbs Ferry. “None of us thought he would be able to come back so soon,” said sophomore Michael Miele.
Through 13 games for 5-8 Edgemont, Langiulli is on top of his game: a .433 batting average, 13 hits, eight runs and four RBIs. Just 12 games into the season, he has already matched his hit total from last year.
So what has changed for the senior captain? “My two strike approach,” he said.
In 34 plate appearances, not one pitcher has been able to get a third strike on Langiulli. “With two strikes, I try to hit the ball wherever it’s placed,” he said. “I never want the umpire to decide my at-bat, so I make sure to choke up and put the ball in play.”
Coach Mike Cozza is impressed with Langiulli’s approach behind the plate.
“He’s hitting line drives, and even to him, that’s not enough,” said Cozza. “When he makes an out, he wants to know what he did wrong.”
Langiulli went so far as to text Coach Cozza a video of himself hitting at Sportime USA hours after practice had ended.
Medically speaking, Cozza would not normally expect a player to return from such an injury so quickly, but he knew Langiulli was a different story.
“I doubted his return knowing the surgery, but knowing the type of kid he is I didn’t think he would miss his senior year,” Cozza said.
When he knew Langiulli would in fact be back on the diamond for the duration, the initial plan was to have him play third base for about a third of the season to limit the toll on his body. Well, through 13 games he’s started all but one behind the plate.
Over the last five games, the Panthers have won twice, including 1 of 2 league games. Three of the games were decided by one run as the Panthers topped Blind Brook 3-2 and lost 7-6 to Blind Brook and 4-3 to Rye Neck in nine innings.
Over that span, senior captains Kevin Lee and Anthony Langiulli have hit .370 and .420, respectively. Additionally, Lee has tossed 16 innings, pitching to a 3.00 ERA and 22 strikeouts in three games started.
With seven games left on the schedule, the Panthers will need more than a strong battery to energize the team.