Wednesday night at the Marriott in Uniondale just outside Nassau Coliseum, the county's best baseball players had a chance to ditch the spikes and the uniform for suits and ties at the annual Nassau County Baseball Coaches Association Dinner.
Garden City's Frank Cordio, James Cauchi, Jimmy Duff, Brandon Samardich and coach Rich Smith were all honored for their accomplishments this season.
Cordio and Duff were each honored for their All-County nominations, while Samardich was celebrated for his All-Conference choice.
Mike Borges, who was unable to attend the dinner, also recieved an award for his outstanding season. Borges batted .500, scored 37 runs, 23 RBI and three home runs.
Cauchi was the big winner on the night, as he took home plaques for his All-County selection and his A-1 conference Most Valuable Player award, and was a finalist for the Don Lang trophy, which honors the county’s best position player.
With a .575 batting average, 42 hits, 25 runs, 10 extra base hits, three home runs, 31 runs batted in and nine stolen bases, it's hard to imagine how Cauchi eventually lost to catcher Jake Thomas of Calhoun.
“It was just nice to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” Cauchi said. “I’m just honored to be standing with all of those other guys and to have all of our seasons recognized. It was a great night for all the seniors to come together in a good way.”
Cordio thought his teammate might pull off the upset of Thomas, who was a finalist last year, and who hit a home run about once every 10 at bats while throwing out two third of would-be base stealers.
“It could have went either way really, James could have definitely had it,” he said. “Thomas is a great player and had a huge year though, but it could have gone to any of the [four] finalists.”
Coach Smith was honored alongside Calhoun’s Joe Corea, each of whom tallied their 600th career win in Nassau County this season. The coaches got a standing ovation from the capacity crowd, and players and coaches from around the room made the trip to give Smith a pat on the back and to get a closer look at the monstrous golden-mitt trophy he was awarded.
“It was great to see him honored in front of everyone like this. He deserves it more than anyone I could think of,” Cauchi said. “We’ve been working toward this since sophomore year and I’m glad that we were the ones who got this win for him.”