York College standouts making mark in Central League

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

While the Central League has long been known as the ‘working-man’s league,’ a pair of college standouts have proven they have a place in the ranks.

After leading York College to the Middle Atlantic Conference championship series this spring, the duo of Robbie Elzinga and Joe Capobianco have been catalysts for the Manchester Indians this summer.

The Indians, who are 9-6 in the Central League, find themselves in contention thanks in large part to Capobianco, 23, and Elzinga, 21.

Elzinga, who batted leadoff for the Spartans this year, is raking at a .357 clip, while Capobianco isn’t far behind with a .340 batting average.

The fact that those two are among the leaders offensively for the Indians should not come as a surprise. Elzinga led York College with a .369 average, while Capobianco was right on his heels with a .356 average.

“I wouldn’t say that it was a competition between us two,” Capobianco said. “But (Robbie) always kind of knew what was going on with the averages and stuff.”

Manchester second baseman Robbie Elzinga fires for an out against the Vikings in Central League baseball in Shiloh Monday, August 2, 2021. Manchester won the game 10-0. Bill Kalina photo

Baseball grind: The competition both have regularly seen during their collegiate careers has helped during their time in the Central League. York played 43 games this past season, in which the Spartans advanced to the MAC final against top-seeded Lebanon Valley.

The grind of playing that many games, combined with the intense practices and workouts that go along with playing college baseball, definitely has benefited the duo.

York College's Joe Capobianco, left, and Jack Barry celebrate consecutive runs against Lebanon Valley during season opener baseball action at York College of Pennsylvania in Spring Garden Township, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. York College would score nine runs on eight hits in the first inning. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“Yeah, it’s every day,” Capobianco said. “Whether it’s practice or games, you’re out there competing or practicing every day. You only get one day off a week.”

 While Elzinga and Capobianco thoroughly enjoy the college game, both admit they do find some pleasure in the more laid-back nature of the men’s league.

“At Manchester, it’s really just being on our own,” Elzinga said. “But at York, coach (Mike) Scappa really controls a lot of what we do, especially in terms of when we’re on base and things like that. (Manchester manager) Dave (Miller) really just lets us do our own thing and play baseball and have fun.”

Joe Capobianco

Future with Spartans uncertain: Capobianco, a nine-year veteran of the Central League despite his young age, has a decision to make about his playing future at York College. After red-shirting his freshman season at Flagler University, the Dallastown A High School graduate still has one year of eligibility remaining thanks to the NCAA exception provided during the pandemic.

“I haven’t decided,” Capobianco said. “But I’m not really ready to be done playing competitive baseball, so a sixth year is not out of the picture.”

Robby Elzinga

Elzinga, a three-time York-Adams League all-star during his high school career at Northeastern, has no doubt that Capobianco will be back with him next year at York.

“I think he really wants to come back for another year,” Elzinga said. “And, I’m obviously going to be back there for my senior year.”