Getting to Know Baseball Pitching Coach John Guarino

(Image credit: Manhattanville Valiants)

(Image credit: Manhattanville Valiants)

Jeremy Silber, Contributor

Spartans pitching coach John Guarino’s work starts long before he gets to the field. 

He’s back in his office watching a video of STAC’s future opponents. The Spartans are going to play two doubleheaders against the College of Staten Island. So Coach Guarino has to examine the hitters on the team.

The goal is “to see what’s the best way to attack the hitters, if there is anything that lies with the specific abilities our guys have, and what works best with our repertoire,” he says.

It’s labor intensive work, made more difficult when technology doesn’t cooperate.

“Sometimes it’s a little difficult because the cameras are a little bit [farther] away from home plate,” Guarino says. “But, if you do it enough years, you can kind of figure out based off where the catcher is set up and how he receives a pitch so you can make adjustments and see where guys are a little bit weaker.”  

For example, he’ll look for  players who don’t swing at the first pitch. “That’s something we try to attack,” Guarino says.

If Guarino cannot find anything specific for the Spartans to exploit, they rely on their players’ strengths. “We typically lean towards what our guys do best, which is pounding the zone with multiple pitches to get guys off balance,” he said.

The Spartans have an 18-22 overall record and an 11-5 conference record.  As of Wednesday, the Spartans suffered their fifth straight loss after facing the rival Dominican University. 

Guarino started his career playing at SUNY Oswego where he played four years.  “I had an awesome experience and a great coach,” he said.

After playing, Guarino decided to go into coaching.  He spent a year at Monroe College, a junior college in the Bronx, followed by three years at Manhattanville College, a DIII college in Westchester County where he was the graduate assistant.

He’s in his second year as part of the STAC baseball staff under Coach Jon Garvey. “We have great players and a lot of competitors that play the game really hard,” he said. 

“This is probably one of the best coaching staffs I’ve been a part of,” he adds. “Just the way we’re able to work together and really converse with three high-level minds that see the game all just a touch differently, it gives the ability for Garvs to have a lot of options.”