Joe Parisi has had some exceptional two-way position players in his 28 seasons as La Salle baseball coach. For what he accomplished as an infielder and a righthanded pitcher, Dom Cuoci is right up there with the best, if not at the top of the list.
Cuoci, a senior who doubled as a third baseman, went 9-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 702/3 innings this season for the Explorers. From the cleanup position, the St, Joseph's recruit batted .359 (23 for 64) with 33 RBIs, 14 runs, 5 doubles, 4 home runs, and 2 triples.
With Cuoci serving in a key or leading role, La Salle went 65-14 over the last three seasons and won a Catholic League championship and two PIAA Class AAAA titles.
The second of the state crowns came Friday. The Explorers, with Cuoci making his third start of the four-round tournament, topped Conestoga, 4-2, in eight innings at Penn State. In the seventh inning of a 2-2 contest, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthander escaped a bases-loaded jam by inducing a fly-ball out to right field.
"He's a tough, tough kid," Parisi said afterward. "You're going to have to work really hard to beat him. He's not going to give an inch to anybody."
Cuoci excelled despite being bothered for much of the season by a middle-back injury that required frequent icing. Cuoci, who was named the Catholic League Red Division's most valuable player, mixed a fastball clocked in the mid-80s, slider, and change-up on the mound.
With an 8-1 record and a 1.69 ERA, the senior righthander helped lead the Friars to their fourth straight Inter-Ac League crown. He will play at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The senior lefthander and North Carolina State recruit went 8-1 with a 0.59 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 592/3 innings. Brown, who also is a first baseman, pitched three no-hitters.
Playing a key role in the Pioneers' run to the PIAA Class AAAA state final, the senior lefthander went 7-0 with a 0.66 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 53 innings. Bufo is a former competitive downhill skier.
COUNCIL ROCK NORTH
The 6-foot, 220-pound senior, who is ticketed for Delaware, hit .491 with 21 RBIs and 15 runs from the third spot in the batting order. He slammed five home runs and four doubles.
POPE JOHN PAUL II
The strong-armed senior shortstop and Lehigh recruit batted .405 with 26 runs, 19 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. He registered six triples, three doubles, and a home run.
The senior shortstop batted .455 with 28 runs and 23 RBIs to spark the Quakers to a 20-6 mark. A Lafayette signee, he notched 14 doubles and four triples.
Moving from third base to shortstop, the junior batted .500 with 23 RBIs, 15 runs, and 6 home runs. Melone was a first-team all-Suburban One League Continental Conference pick.
For the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA champs, the senior third baseman hit .469 with 28 RBIs, 24 runs, 9 doubles, and a home run. He plans to play football and baseball at Widener.
A senior centerfielder and designated hitter, Born hit .520 with 30 runs and 16 RBIs. He was first-team all-Central League and will continue his career at Navy.
The senior leftfielder, who is bound for Division II Alderson Broaddus in West Virginia, hit .458 from the No. 3 spot in the order. As a righthanded hurler, he went 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 41 innings.
The Stony Brook recruit batted .489 with 20 runs and seven doubles from the leadoff spot. On the mound, the senior was 4-3 with a 2.40 ERA and 35 strikeouts in as many innings.
The senior first baseman batted .493 with 34 RBIs, 28 runs, and 4 home runs. Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder plans to report Monday to the club's rookie team in Fort Myers, Fla.
The junior sparked the Saints as a lefty pitcher and designated hitter. On the hill, Doudican was 7-1 with a 1.53 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 592/3 innings. He batted .333 with 22 RBIs and six doubles.