La Salle College High School wins the 2018 Catholic League Championship 10-0 vs. Archbishop Carroll - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister
IMMACULATA, PA – Anthony and Andrew Cossetti stood side by side. The La Salle High School seniors were surrounded by noise at virtually every angle. Laughter to the left. Merriment to the right. Hilarity from behind. Glee straight ahead. Basically, it all sounded the same in one harmonious sequence.
Question after question, the fraternal twins answered with appropriate aplomb. There was seriousness. Reflection. Respect. Candor. Humor. Appreciation. Wonder. Awe.
Their mixture of sentiment supported La Salle’s 10-0 victory over Archbishop Carroll in the Catholic League championship May 26 at an immaculately pedicured Immaculata University.
In a few months, Anthony will start protecting the country at the Naval Academy while Andrew will work on his “The Hawk will never die” chant at St. Joseph’s University. In the meantime, two of La Salle’s main anchors – an All-Catholic outfielder and catcher, respectively, who bat third-second in one of the area’s most potent lineups – will prepare for PIAA districts and states in hopes of duplicating La Salle’s 2014 state title.
Win or lose states, they will forever reminisce on accomplishing something their father, Tony Cossetti, experienced in 1988 as a La Salle junior, when his Explorers defeated St. John Neumann, 5-2. According to tedsilary.com, La Salle had jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and coasted home behind the complete-game pitching by future Philadelphia Phillies’ first baseman Gene Schall.
That Anthony and Andrew won the Catholic League championship together is obviously epic.
“I can’t really explain it,” said Andrew. “We’ve been playing together all of our lives. We’ve obviously won some championships in travel baseball in the summer, but nothing like this. It’s really hard to explain.”
The Cossetti tandem batted a combined eight times and reached base . . . eight times. If you include a grounder that was bobbled deep in the hole at shortstop but arguably would not have mattered had the ball been fielded cleanly, yet was opined as an error by some in the press box (in high school, it’s definitely a hit). Andrew, the Catholic League’s Offensive Player of the Year, scored twice and reached base four times on two walks and two singles. He also stole a base.
Not to be outdone, Anthony followed with three singles and a walk. In the second inning, he ripped a single that scored his brother, an occurrence that is far, far from an anomaly. He would have been credited with an earlier RBI back in the first inning, but Carroll junior centerfielder Tyler Kehoe threw a would-be run out at the plate. It hardly mattered, as the Explorers sent 13 to the dish and tallied a surreal seven runs in the opening frame before adding two more in the third and the 10-run-mercy-rule clincher in the fifth.
As for his single that scored Andrew with the ninth run of the game?
“It happened quite a lot honestly,” said Anthony, “and it’s actually special when your brother, even though he’s slow, still scores an RBI for you.”
The playful banter between the two belies their approach on the field. In between the lines, from backstop to outfield fence, nothing is comical. It’s all business.
In winning their 20th game against only three losses, the Explorers also avenged their only Catholic League loss, 5-4, back on April 30. Their 11-1 league record was one better than Carroll’s 10-2, but it annoyed the Explorers to no end.
“It always feels good to come back and win against a team you lost to earlier in the year,” said Andrew. “They’re really good competitors and came out to play. We just played our game and luckily we came out on top.”
2018 PCL Baseball Champs - La Salle College High School - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister
“On any given day that could be an entirely different ballgame, and today it’s not really luck because we trained for this the entire year,” he said. “Can’t put words to it.”
Close by but not invading their much-earned spotlight, Andrew and Anthony Cossetti ‘s father Tony was flanked by his wife Taunya and her father Harvey Kling. In 1988, Cossetti batted lead-off when he won a Catholic League title playing under coach Joe Parisi – the first of four championships engineered by the legendary La Salle mentor and athletic director, who retired from coaching four years ago and is godfather of the twins. Tony Cossetti graduated the following year and was named a second-team All-Catholic second baseman.
Dark sunglasses, necessitated by an ultra-bright sun consistent with a game that began at 10 and ended a bit before noon, veiled eyes that began welling up with emotion. Asked to be interviewed on camera, Tony Cossetti started strong. About 30 words in, he politely requested a moment to compose himself emotionally. This, after all, wasn’t a normal interview.
This was an interview that revolved around Andrew and Anthony playing their last Catholic League game together, about his sons sharing one of his own lifetime joys from three decades ago that suddenly seemed like yesterday. This was an interview that would mention his two young men – no longer boys for sure – diverging in two different directions for the first time in their 18 years together.
Emulating his sons from earlier, a better-prepared Tony Cossetti returned to the metaphorical batter’s box and was completely up to the task.
“It’s really surreal,” he said. “I’m just so proud of them for all the hard work they put in. They’re such good kids. I always tell them to play with class and to play the game the right way. To come out and play the way they did, I’m just really proud of them.
“The most important part for me is to play La Salle baseball. Joe Parisi instilled it into us and I try to tell them that this is what coach Parisi taught me. There’s a certain way you play La Salle baseball and these guys all got it. My kids got it. The teammates got it. Seeing them play with class is the most important thing.”
Asked to assess winning the Catholic League crown, Anthony described it as “an entirely different experience and I couldn’t be more happy than to do it with my brother.” Andrew said that he “can’t really explain it. We’ve been playing together all of our lives. We’ve obviously won some championships in travel baseball in the summer, but nothing like this. It’s really hard to explain.”
Both were asked what it might be like when they are 120 miles apart.
“I’d be lying if I said it was going to be easy,” said Anthony. “I’ll be thinking about my little bro every single day. We’re both going in the right direction and hopefully we will play against each other someday, who knows.”
Andrew demurred just a bit.
“I don’t like thinking about that yet,” said Andrew. “Just taking it day by day, but I know he’s going great things down at the Naval Academy. I couldn’t be happier for him. I’m excited about the future.”
Before returning to teammates, friends, and family passing around the Catholic League championship plaque, two final questions: How much older is Anthony?
“Sixteen minutes,” chimed Anthony as if on cue.
And, Anthony, do you remind Andrew of this fact? Anthony and Andrew’s immediate response was literally simultaneous.
“Every single day,” they said.
Brothers – and now, like their father, Catholic League champions – through and through.
NOTES: La Salle’s first CL title since 2013 was its ninth overall and first under fourth-year coach Kyle Werman . . . Archbishop Carroll was attempting to win its first championship since capturing seven in a 14-year span from 1991 through 2004 . . .
La Salle senior pitcher Joe Miller pitched a complete game and allowed three hits and three walks while striking out eight . . . Senior shortstop and leadoff hitter Eric Marasheski went 2 or 4 with two RBI and a run scored . . . Every single starting Explorer reached base with a hit, and eight of them scored a run . . . Senior first baseman and clean-up hitter Brian Schaub supplied the walk-off hit, a single that scored Marasheski from third.
Marasheski had moved to second when Andrew Cossetti walked, and to third when Anthony Cossetti singled.