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Newark Academy's Anthony Giachin has filled a critical role as the shortstop for the Minutemen the past two seasons but could project as a corner infielder at the next level once his college career gets going at Army. (photos courtesy of NA Athletics)

In his on-going 'team-first' approach, Anthony Giachin has also filled an important role as a key starting pitcher for Newark Academy. (Photo by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

Newark Academy's Anthony Giachin has proven to be a solid defender on the infield

As Millburn catcher Peter Serruto has his glove in position to receive ball, Newark Academy's Anthony Giachin connects during an at bat in a 2016 SEC-American game.

(continued from page 1)

Giachin and the North Jersey Cardinals have been seen by college coaches, including from West Point, during a busy summer that has included a tournament at the New England Baseball Complex in the Boston area, and again at other events, including at Bryant University and Rhode Island College and in Rome, N.Y., at the Syracuse Tournament plus at Diamond Nation in Flemington. The Cardinals will close out the summer schedule with a showcase back at Diamond Nation from Aug. 1-5.

While he had strongly considered Lehigh, Dartmouth and Columbia, Giachin was thoroughly impressed with all that he saw and experienced during a recent visit to the West Point campus and baseball facilities, leading to his decision to accept an offer from Coach Foster, who had most recently been the associated head coach and pitching coach at Boston College and before that the head man at Rhode Island.

“I have to admit that before I visited West Point I was a bit skeptical about going the military route in college,” explained Giachin, who is a Livingston resident. “But, once I went up there, saw the magnificent campus and met the coaches, I was blown away!

“The facilities are unmatched when compared to anything else I have seen and I knew then that Army baseball and the commitment to that life were something I definitely wanted to commit to doing. My values coincide with the Army values, and in terms of baseball, I was impressed with coach Foster and the plan that he has to revitalize Army baseball, and it all became an easy decision for me in the end to be part of what he is developing there.”

Giachin, who said he will most likely major in engineering at West Point, has developed as a superb baseball player while also growing physically from a 5-foot-4, 115-pound freshman to a 5-9, 150-pound sophomore and now a 6-foot, 185-pound high school senior-to-be.

He has worked on improving his strength, speed and agility at the Annex Sports Performance Center in Chatham with its owner Mickey Brueckner, who was once a Seton Hall Prep student-athlete.

In addition, he continues to hone his baseball skills at The Strike Zone during the off-season.

“Baseball-wise, he keeps getting better and better and I see him as a corner infielder at the college level,” said Bellini, who was a Hall of Fame shortstop at Seton Hall University and played in the Cleveland Indians organization while reaching the Triple A level. “His strength and speed have increased tenfold, and he is just so much bigger now.

“Anthony’s dedication to the game and becoming the best athlete he can be have resulted in some great opportunities for him, and I know he’ll be a success at whatever role he assumes in the Army moving forward plus continuing to be a very good ball player in the game he loves to play.”

Giachin has shined under two different coaches at Newark Academy in former head man Frank Dasti, who moved over to Madison this past spring, and Dennis Sasso, Jr., who did a solid job in his first season at the helm of Minutemen diamond fortunes this past spring.

Harnessing his skills under the tutelage of both Dasti and Sasso, plus working with Bellini with the North Jersey Cardinals has been a great experience for Giachin in terms of soaking up all the baseball knowledge that he can from all three men.

“I have been with the North Jersey Cardinals since the eighth grade and coach Dasti helped prepare me for high school baseball before my freshman year at Newark Academy, and coach Bellini has been phenomenal with all that he has taught me hitting-wise,” said Giachin, who could play both third and first base for Army. “Plus, he’s such a straight shooter when it comes to the college process and helped teach me about how to present myself and other important things to know while meeting college coaches.

“I’ve just been so fortunate to be surrounded by very knowledgeable and supportive coaches during my entire career. Coach Dasti was tremendous to play for during my first two years at Newark Academy and I was devastated when he left for Madison.

“But, our athletic director (Ted Gilbreath), along with the other people at Newark Academy who get involved with the decisions on new coaches, did a great job in finding Coach Sasso, who did just a tremendous job his first year in a not-very-easy situation where there were a lot of younger players and only about 20 guys in the entire program.

“He showed great trust in me to help provide some of the leadership on the field and he does a great job not only in player development, but also in emphasizing to his players to grind out every at bat and focus on each and every inning, one at a time.

“I thought we did a real nice job as a team this past spring in a touch (Super Essex Conference-American) division and Coach Sasso was a huge part of that.”

Newark Academy finished a very respectable 13-12 overall and 8-8 for fourth place in the 9-team SEC-American that features such top countywide powers as Seton Hall Prep, Millburn and Nutley.

Giachin batted an even .500 with 34 hits, 20 runs, eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, 22 RBI, and drew 20 walks.

In addition to his second straight selection to Sideline Chatter’s first-team All-Essex, he was also a first-team choice on both the coaches All-SEC American Division and all-Prep B squads.

“Anthony set the tone this past spring with the way he goes about his business every day and he’s such a great example to the younger players on the team ,” said Sasso, who had previously been an assistant college coach at both Fairleigh Dickinson University and William Paterson “He’s a quite leader and very meticulous with the way he comes to work hard every day and I’m impressed with his decision to attend Army.

“He is the type of special young man who can succeed in that type of ‘big picture’ commitment’ that the military life is.”

EXTRA BASES- Giachin, who has played both third and first base along with occasionally being in left field for the North Jersey Cardinals, is one of three rising seniors on the elite summer travel team’s current 17-U squad who have now committed to Division I schools as Andrew Eng, a center fielder from North 1, Group 4 runner-up Ridgewood, and Ryan Lutz, a shortstop from Goshin, N.Y., have also made their college decisions to Binghamton and Seton Hall University, respectively…Binghamton is also the college where former North Jersey Cardinal and Cedar Grove star infielder Paul Rufo is a starting shortstop as he enters his junior year at the upstate New York school….New Army head coach Jim Foster, who had been the Rhode Island head coach for nine seasons before spending the past two years as the associate head coach at Boston College, was a big part of a coaching staff that guided the Eagles to a 35-win season in 2016 that included the Chestnut, Mass. School’s first NCAA bid since 2009 as the Eagles won the Oxford Regional and advanced to the Super Regionals where they lost to Miami in a best of three series….Foster was appointed as Army’s new head coach on June 23. The Cadets, who are members of the Patriot League, were 16-32 overall last spring…Foster, who played collegiately at Providence College, was a 22 nd round pick of the Baltimore Orioles and played seven years of minor league baseball with four different organizations.

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Newark Academy's first-year head coach Dennis Sasso, Jr. (above) is thrilled to have Anthony Giachin to provide great example and be tone setter for otherwise young Minutemen baseball team that was 13-12 in '16. (Photos by Gene Nann-nannphoto)

Newark Academy's Anthony Giachin (left) was the outstanding player for Essex County and GL's Dan Baroff (right) won same award for Union County as 7th annual Essex-Union Underclassmen All-Star Game was held at Kean in June. Giachin went 2-for-2 with RBI double to help lead Essex County to 9-6 victory. (Photo by JR Parachini)

Newark Academy's Anthony Giachin prepares to tag out a Millburn baserunner who is doing a headfirst slide into second during game at NA. (photo courtesy of NA Athletics)

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