The first time Jim Mauro attempted to recruit Justin Santonocito back in 1997, matters didn’t train the Niagara University baseball coach session.

Mauro lost out at the offerings of the then Monroe Community College 0.33 baseman to Mercyhurst College because Mercyhurst had greater of what Santonocito wished (scholarship cash) than Niagara.

Justin Santonocito pleased to be part of Canisius baseball lifestyle 1

Little did the 2 realize that their paths might go once more a few 21 years later with the kind of the job of reversed: Mauro searching out the right man to end up just the fourth baseball coach within the history of Canisius High School’s varsity program, and Santonocito seeking to persuade the Crusaders’ athletic director that he indeed become that teach.

“I felt in speakme to Justin, I knew he become obsessed with the sport,” Mauro stated lately. “But in our meeting, he stated he’d haven’t any hobby in every other high faculty job.”


“Canisius is the epitome of Western New York baseball,” stated the 42-12 months-old Santonocito, who owns his personal baseball school in Blasdell, Academy Stars. “I think there’s a lot lifestyle at that school. It simply seemed to be a step up from any other program I don’t forget looking in Western New York. They appeared to do things differently. Only three coaches within the records of the faculty. … The youngsters have always been respectful.”

If any player steps out of line nowadays, it’s Santonocito’s process to accurate that trouble because that’s one of the duties related to running his dream activity.

Santonocito’s first season with the Crusaders goes well. The man, who has taken the reins from retired Bryan Tenney, holds the identical process as Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Famers John Barnes and Connie McGillicuddy.

Canisius takes a 7-7 normal record into Saturday’s nonleague game in Erie, Pa., towards Cathedral Prep. The Crusaders then go back to movement at four:30 p.M. Monday at defending Georgetown Cup champion St. Francis in Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association play.

While the Crusaders’ universal file is a byproduct of a younger group taking its lumps during its annual journey down South, Canisius is five-2 in league play with wins over St. Francis and — most significantly — rival St. Joe’s.

After education, his first recreation in opposition to St. Joe’s, a five-4 win via the blue and gold, Mauro said later that night time Santonocito sent him a text taking pictures of the spirit of coaching in the competition game: “It turned into the whole lot I had was hoping for.”

It’s the purpose Santonocito wanted to get into scholastic education for the duration of the spring.

Santonocito was a part of the scholastic season at some stage in his days as a scholar-athlete at Bishop Timon-St. Jude and West Seneca East. Though he’s lived his dream of running his own baseball academy because, in 2001, he forms of overlooked being a part of the spring season.

Of route, the most effective manner he turned into inclined to instruct high school baseball changed into if he landed his dream process. When Bryan Tenney decided to name it quits following closing 12 months, the window opened. Mauro selected Santonocito over seven other exceptionally-certified candidates.

“I suppose he’s a splendid teacher,” Mauro stated of Santonocito’s education. “He’s more allow’s play unfastened. Let’s have fun. He wants them to play the proper manner which fits into how Bryan desired them to play, so he’s in shape in properly.”

While Santonocito coaches journey groups for his personal academy, springtime baseball in Western New York is a chunk extraordinary than the travel-league-summer season circuit. Summer league groups are geared extra to showcasing person gamers to recruiters than winning, he said. The spring is all approximately the crew stringing together as many ‘Ws’ as possible.

That is what Santonocito has quick found out on account that succeeding Tenney, who guided Canisius to thirteen Georgetown Cup championships over 25 years.

The Crusaders aren’t the best group inside the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association that wants to win the Cup. But they are the best perennial contender with a new teacher.

“There’s more, which means in these games because you spot these boys 5, six, now and again seven days every week, he said. “You experience like a real group. You want to win for each other.”