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Updated: 6/15/2009 - 2:05 PM

Baseball: Veryzer becomes M.P. head coach
Miller returns on mound to lead Panthers
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robert o'rourk photo
Miller Place senior Thor Miller, a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher, will anchor the Panthers' staff this season.
In his first year as the varsity head coach, Tom Veryzer inherited a team ready to win. As the JV coach the past three years, Veryzer was selected shortly before the season began to replace Ira Kohansov, who had been the varsity coach the past two seasons.

"The program that has been put in place before me by the excellent coaching before me makes it pretty special," Veryzer said.

The Panthers return a stacked team that went 13-5 in League VI last year and is anchored by lefty Thor Miller on the mound.

Miller was dominant for most of last season, tallying an 8-0 record before losing in the playoffs against Mount Sinai. The Panthers lost Dan Cavazzini, who had pitched in the top spot in the rotation, so Miller bumps up as the ace this year. He can locate several different pitches and can beat someone with his fastball.

"Thor is a very talented pitcher and we're looking forward to see how he progresses," Veryzer said.

Dean Haussel, a right-handed senior, returns in the No. 2 spot in the rotation. He's in his third year on varsity and can mix in three pitches -- a fastball, curve and change-up.

'The identity with this team is going to be ... focused and hardworking' -Tom Veryzer
"We have a lot of talented pitchers in our league and I think Thor and Dean can hold their own," Veryzer said. "But they'll have their share of great challenges."

The third spot in the rotation could go to several different pitchers. James Wegge, Matt Dunn and Matt Hinchy are all the mix.

In the field the Panthers return All-County catcher Joe Mancini, who can also play left field. Tyler DeRosa returns in the middle infield and Mike Moosbrugger returns in the outfield. He and DeRosa were both All-League players last year.

Having already been apart of the program, Veryzer said the transition was seamless for him and the players.

"The identity with this team is going to be the same as it's been," he said. "It's going to be focused and hard working."

In the early part of the season Veryzer said he's looking for his players to have a good approach offensively and defensively.

"I want them to see as many pitches as they can," he said. "And do the little things right."

The Panthers open the league season with a three-game set against local rival Shoreham-Wading River starting Monday.

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