File Pat Vigilio’s first season at Greens Farms Academy baseball coach under What Could Have Been.
GFA seniors Ian Brown, Michael Canning, and Noah Kanfer were ready to lead a young, albeit talented, Dragons squad on the diamond this spring — only to have the season taken away.
“I was pretty disappointed that we were not able to get on the field this year,” Vigilio said. “The players had worked very hard during the winter months and were just beginning to come together as a team when we were told we would begin distant learning."
"Even though the team was young, the expectations were high. We had a number of players returning and everyone was looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off.”
After missing the FAA playoffs by one win one year ago, the Dragons were looking to get back into the postseason this year.
After missing the FAA playoffs by one win one year ago, the Dragons were looking to get back into the postseason this year.Instead, the three seniors leave behind a legacy — hard work is important at the plate, in the field, and in the dugout.
While Vigilio didn’t know the seniors well, his assistant coach Peter Jay, who joined the program when the players were sophomores, knew a special group was leading GFA this season.
Jay talked about each senior fondly. Starting with Brown, a 6-foot first-baseman taking his talents to Grinnell College. "When he squared up on the ball, opponents would have to be ready to chase it down on GFA’s fenceless outfield," he said.
“On the field Ian was an imposing staple in the middle of the Dragon lineup, not only because of his stature but also his ability to swing it,” Jay explained. “(He is) a consistent producer both in the box and manning first base but some of his best contributions to the program came behind the scenes. Ian was always a good role model for his teammates, consistently attentive at practice, willing to learn from all the coaches, and had the desire to be there for his teammates. Sometimes that meant doing the scoreboard for a JV game or offering a teammate a word of encouragement.”
Canning proved to be an integral part of the team since he could play multiple positions and pitch. “Depending on the day, Mike could be found at numerous different positions,” Jay said. “Being able to split his time between the infield and the pitcher’s mound, he was integral to the team running smoothly. He has a competitiveness that will be sorely missed. Mike was going to give it his all, especially on the mound, which was inspiring to all of his teammates and fans.”
Kanfer, another Dragon who could play multiple positions, had an arm that could eat up innings “A versatile player,” Jay said, “Noah was always willing to hop on the mound to give us some outs or play anywhere in the infield."
"Despite baseball being the ultimate game of failure, Noah played the game with a constant smile that rubbed off on his teammates. His ability to turn any situation more positive will certainly be missed by the baseball program.”
A lot of talent returns to the baseball field next spring. It’s seniors, however, will be certainly missed.