Player of the Year: Mitch Calandra

Mitch Calandra is selected as the best baseball player in Nassau County


Five years ago, Mitch Calandra was an impressive eighth grader on the varsity baseball team.  On Saturday, June 27, he will graduate from Floral Park Memorial as one of the most distinguished male athletes in the history of the school.

Being named as the co-winner of this year’s Don Lang Diamond Award, given to the best overall baseball player in Nassau County, completed an incredible haul of honors for Calandra.  The five-year varsity player was selected All-County three times, was voted the conference player of the year twice, was named to Newsday’s All-Long Island team twice, and was designated as first-team Class A for New York State.  Last year, he was the winner of the Ryan Caufield Award given to the county’s best catcher, and was a finalist for the Diamond Award.

“Mitch is a complete five-tool baseball player,” said coach Mr. Pugliesi.  “He can steal bases, has an extremely strong arm, can hit for power and average, and is the top defensive catcher in the county. Mitch has the unique ability to change the game at any point – with his arm (on the mound or behind the plate), bat, or baseball intelligence.  Often he changes the game by not doing anything – other teams do not attempt to steal bases or often “pitch around” Mitch. Most impressive, Mitch is a true leader who makes his teammates better. Mitch leads by example – always working hard, staying positive, and, most importantly, having fun.  He is without a doubt the best baseball player I have coached in my 10 year career and I doubt I will ever coach another young man with the talent, work ethic, personality, and leadership ability as Mitch.”

The All-Long Island Baseball Team [Calandra is second from the left, in the front row]