College baseball opening day is on deck, and an ex-Met is trying to restore the pride of one local team

Well, at least there’s one New York baseball team in action this week, when the Yankees and Mets were supposed to start gathering in Florida.

“We started practicing on Jan. 17,” Frank Catalanotto told Post Sports+ of his Hofstra club. “We have our first game on Feb. 25 at Houston Baptist.”

The Long Island native, who wrapped up an impressive 14-year major league playing career with the 2010 Mets, will be making his Division I coaching debut — as will his Houston Baptist counterpart, brief former Yankee Lance Berkman — with the Pride. He captured the college baseball world’s attention with his stellar job leading Division II New York Tech, taking that program to the NCAA tournament in 2019 (its first tournament bid since 1983) and posting a 9-5 record in 2020 before COVID shut down the rest of the season. Catalanotto spent last year giving hitting lessons at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank before the Hofstra opportunity arose.

“Hofstra baseball hasn’t been good in a while,” Catalanotto said (Hofstra finished 17-22 last season, its eighth straight year without a winning record). “The first thing is to get into the tournament and win the [Colonial Athletic Association]. That’s definitely something that’s doable. We want to make kids in the Northeast think, ‘OK, Hofstra is the place to go to play.’” All three of his coaches — Jimmy Goelz, Chris Rojas and Matt Wessinger — played professionally.

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