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Magno leading the way for first place Spartans
Phil Sanfilippo wasn’t sure who he would tap as his leadoff hitter for Valley Stream North. There was concern heading into the season.
Enter TJ Magno, who was looking to make an impact.
“He’s a guy we thought could help the varsity team, but nobody knew he would make this kind of impact,” said Sanfilippo, Valley Stream North’s coach. “He does everything.”
Yup, it’s true. Magno is doing it all for the Conference A-IV leading Spartans (9-3), who are currently in their bye week. And he’s not doing it in the two or three-hole, which he played a lot of as a junior varsity ballplayer.
He’s getting it done in the leadoff spot, something Magno is thriving in.
The junior is batting .471 with an on-base percentage of .581, leading the team with 13 runs. He’s also got a homer, a triple, two doubles and nine steals.
“He took that role, earned it and has never looked back,” Sanfilippo said.
Magno said he is just doing what any other prototypical leadoff guy would do: get on base and “let the run producers do their thing.”
“Every time I put the ball in play, I’m looking to run all out, 110 percent all the time,” Magno said. “I like to be aggressive. No regrets. Don’t let the good pitches go by.”
Magno didn’t let a good late pitch go by in Valley Stream North’s 6-5 league win over Cold Spring Harbor on April 17, the final game before the bye week. His two-run triple in the sixth was the winning hit for the game’s final margin.
Magno also pitched three innings in relief for the win. That’s the thing about the Spartans third baseman. He’s not a one-dimensional ballplayer. He also pitches.
“I’d play anywhere,” Magno said. “I’d be the first one to offer to play any position. I wouldn’t hesitate.”
Initially, Magno wasn’t starting at third at the beginning of the season. In the Spartans’ opening series, Magno filled in at second base in a non-league game against Herricks on March 21.
He pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and went 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk to lead Valley Stream North, now 10-3, in its 10-3 win.
“I feel like my speed and aggressive style are what make me the ballplayer I am,” said Magno, who is 2-0 with two saves and a 1.23 ERA.
Sanfilippo isn’t complaining.