Thursday, December 18, 2014

Baseball: Santospago brothers powering Wood

A break in accounting class Tuesday at Archbishop Wood allowed Joe and John Santospago a chance to continue their friendly sibling rivalry. This time, it played out in an impromptu armwrestling match.

Baseball: Santospago brothers powering Wood

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Brothers John (left) and Joe Santospago have sparked Archbishop Wood to a 13-4 overall record and 8-3 mark in the Catholic League Blue Division.

A break in accounting class Tuesday at Archbishop Wood allowed Joe and John Santospago a chance to continue their friendly sibling rivalry. This time, it played out in an impromptu armwrestling match.

"I took him down," John said with a laugh. "He's way stronger than me, but I think my forearm strength was the difference. It's from all the years being a catcher."

Joe's take on losing the contest? "He got lucky," the outfielder said. "I'm confident I can win the next go-round."

The good-natured competition between the Santospago brothers has benefited Wood's baseball squad, with each trying to outdo the other at the plate. "It's all in fun," John said. "It's like second nature to us."

Fittingly, as is the case off the diamond, little separates the senior duo.

From the No. 3 hole, Joe Santospago, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound centerfielder, is batting .467 (28 for 60) with 26 runs, 21 RBIs, six doubles, two triples, and one home run. He has a .683 slugging percentage and .529 on-base percentage.

Following his brother, at the cleanup spot, John Santospago, a 5-8, 175-pound backstop, is hitting .464 (26 for 56) with 22 RBIs, 19 runs, six doubles, three homers, and one triple. He has a .786 slugging percentage and .539 on-base percentage.

The brothers - Joe turned 19 in March, John will be 18 next month - have been nearly inseparable since Joe was held back in kindergarten. "My mom wanted John and I to be in the same grade," Joe said.

With the pair providing ample power near the top of the order, the Vikings are 13-4 overall and 8-3 in Catholic League Blue Division action.

Last week against Blue Division rival Archbishop Carroll, Joe Santospago (2 for 4, two runs) cemented a 7-3 road triumph with a two-run blast to right field. Earlier, John Santospago (2 for 4, one run) delivered a two-run shot over the fence in center.

Joe Santospago, who has stolen 10 bases, attributes some of his success to his work in the weight room. He can bench-press 320 pounds, squat 350, and power-clean 260. "Weightlifting is like a hobby for me," he said.

John Santospago is a three-year fixture behind the plate for Wood. Like his brother, the catcher trains in the offseason at On Deck Baseball's indoor facility in Hatboro. Con Aquilante directs the program.

The Santospagos, of Doylestown, play summer baseball for the Philadelphia Angels, Aquilante's team in the Marzano Scout League. "Con is awesome," John said. "He's been around the game forever."

The next stop for John Santospago, who last year earned first-team all-Catholic League honors, is Kent State.

"I like that it's a blue-collar type of team," he said. "They don't get the biggest kids. They get undersized kids who put everything they have into the game. I want to be part of that."

Joe Santospago, who played football at Wood for three seasons, will continue his baseball career at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, N.J.

"It's going to be weird, being apart from Joe for a long time," John Santospago said. "But it'll be good for us to experience things on our own. I'm sure we'll both grow from it."

Said Joe: "Like all good things, it's going to come to an end. But he'll still be my best friend. That part won't change."

$Extra bases. First baseman Chris Hartman and shortstop-pitcher Stephen Callahan are batting .548 and .381, respectively, for Franklin Towne Charter ... Central Bucks South senior righthander Ricky Dennis is 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 41 innings. Teammate Steve Veal, a centerfielder, is batting .434 with 15 runs and nine RBIs. ... Wissahickon outfielders Greg McDonough and Matt Oruch are hitting .409 and .375, respectively. ... Devon Prep's Zach Schellenger, a junior righthander, is 5-2 with a 0.47 ERA and 78 Ks in 44 1/3 innings. ... Swenson has been sparked on offense by junior first baseman Luis Castro (.500 average, 19 stolen bases, 14 RBIs, 10 runs) and sophomore shortstop Brian Nieves (.447, 4, 15, 17). ... Garnet Valley junior infielder-pitcher Andrew Bechtold is hitting .474 with 23 runs and 14 RBIs. ... Great Valley's Rob Campbell, a centerfielder, is batting .380. Next in line for the Patriots are catcher David Iacobucci (.373), leftfielder Will Graboyes (.353), and infielder Tom Allen (.333). ... Plymouth Whitemarsh senior shortstop Austin DiBonaventure is batting .408. ... Harriton's Corey Neel, a junior hurler, is 4-2 with a 2.00 ERA and 45 Ks in 36 innings. ... Lansdale Catholic infielders Mike Christy and Ian Conwell are hitting .429 and .400, respectively. Crusaders outfielder Matt Hull is batting .423.

Rick O'Brien Inquirer Columnist
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About this blog
Rick O’Brien has been at The Inquirer since 1993, primarily covering high school sports in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Rick O'Brien Inquirer Columnist
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