Cranston West (RI)

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

Follow on Twitter: @pbr_newengland
Follow on Instagram: @pbr_newengland

To view the full list of 2023 Team Previews that we have already completed, please click here.

2023 Spring Team Preview: Cranston West

CRANSTON, R.I. - As a 1988 Cranston West graduate, Rob Malo understands the challenge as head coach at his alma mater.

“I think we do a very good job of staying up with the competition,” explained Malo, who took the program over in 2007 after serving as volunteer assistant and then freshman coach. “Unfortunately, we lose kids to private schools. But we still have one of the top public schools in the state and in my mind are one of the teams to beat even if it’s a down year. In 2021 we had an off year and made it in as a 16 seed and drew Hendricken, the number one seed, and knocked them out.”

The thought by Malo is that the 2023 edition will make its mark coming off an 11-7 campaign that saw the Falcons fall in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion North Kingstown.

“We have three starters back and that gives us a little advantage over most,” related Malo. “We’ve got a very good core group of players. From a team chemistry standpoint, they work well together. They hang out, they push each other in the offseason and it’s a good environment. It’s an easy environment from a coaching standpoint because everyone gets along.”

Luciano Leone is expected to be the staff ace with fellow seniors Demetri Sampalis and Nick Masse the two-three pitchers according to Malo, who has had two players selected in the MLB Draft since 2007.

“Our bullpen is inexperienced so we’ll probably rely on sophomores with a couple of juniors also in the mix there,” Malo said.

Senior Ethan White and sophomore Jonathan Antin are battling for the catcher’s position with Masse settled in at first base in his final season of high school.

Junior Ryan Zarrella and sophomore transfer Ethan Madden are in competition to play second base with senior Eddie Silverio, a Rhode Island College commit, set to play shortstop. Another Rhode Island College signee, Chris Piscione, the 18th-rated 2023 third baseman in New England, rounds out the infield at third base.

Colby Kuzman, one of the team captains, anchors the outfield in center with the UAB commit, the sixth-rated senior outfielder in New England, getting help in right field from junior George Threats. Juniors Dante Piscopiello and Brendan Smith are potential left fielders.

“I’m pretty confident in our three starters, looking at us on paper that’s our strength,” Malo said in reference to his pitching staff. “Offensively, we lost two big bats that both hit close to .400 last year. As long as we can hit, and hopefully our bullpen develops, we should be in the thick of things and make a run in the state tournament.”

Recent Articles