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No NY College Baseball Cinderellas This Year But Two Newbies To Vie for PSAL Baseball Title At Yankee Stadium (updated)

In my last post, I saluted three NY area college baseball teams, Army, Fordham, and Stony Brook, that made the Division I regional playoffs leading to the College World Series starting on June 15 in Omaha.

 

There will be no NY-area Cinderella this year as all three teams were eliminated quickly in the double-elimination tourney. Yet players from each team were drafted in last week's annual MLB amateur free agent draft.

 

**Fordham RHP Kyle Martin was drafted in the 15th round by the Orioles.

**SUNY-Stony Brook CF Michael Wilson was picked in the 16th round by the Brewers.

** His SB teammate SS Nick Grande was chosen by the AZ Diamondbacks in the 19th round.

**Army's catcher Jacob Hurtubise was picked by Seattle Mariners in the 39th and next-to-last round. 

 

More below on other area players picked in the draft.  But first here's a heads-up on what should be a memorable matchup this coming Wed night June 12th at 7p at Yankee Stadium.  

 

The high school baseball championship of the PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) will feature two newcomers to the title game, the Beacon Blue Demons versus the Gregorio Luperon Generals.  Both Manhattan schools earned the right to the title game by beating the previous two city champions, Grand Street coached by Mel Martinez and James Monroe led by Mike Turo.

 

Beacon won two out of three at Grand Street's home field in Brooklyn. Originally the school was called Eastern District HS (alma mater of late MLB RHP Saul Rogovin, later an English teacher at the school.  

 

Grand Street Campus is the alma mater of Yankee relief picher Dellin Betances (who unfortunately has suffered a setback in his battle with a sore shoulder). Beacon beat the 2016 PSAL champion behind two complete game performances by junior Adam Bogosian and senior Max Moss.

 

Tom Covotsos, the only baseball coach Beacon has had since the school was created in midtown Manhattan in the early 1990s, credits pitching and defense and knowing how to bunt and defend against the bunt as the keys to Beacon's rise to the title game.    

 

Under coach Rico Pena, Gregorio Luperon HS (named for a Dominican Republic general of the 19th century) deprived the Bronx's James Monroe HS of a three-peat.  Pena has a sense of baseball history because he brought members of his team a few years ago to the dedication of Willie Mays Plaza at 8th Ave and 155th Street above the New York Giants' legendary Polo Grounds. 

 

Before the Beacon-Luperon 7p game, there will be a 4pm matchup between Brooklyn's Lafayette HS and Manhattan's Inwood Campus, winners of semi-finals for schools with smaller enrollments than Beacon, Luperon, Grand Street, and Monroe..

 

It is free admission for both games. If you like good competition with WOODEN BATS, check out the action this coming Wednesday June 12th.

 

Now some more notes on the MLB draft with news of area players selected.

 

**The Yankees made SS Anthony Volpe their number one pick out of Delbarton School in Morristownl NJ. 

His teammate RHP Jack Leiter, son of former Yankee-Met LHP Al Leiter, was chosen in the 20th round by the Yanks but he is likely to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

 

[Speaking of Vanderbilt, they qualified yet again for the College World Series by eliminating Duke. Freshman RHP Kumar Rocker threw a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts to even the regional series and Vanderbilt routed Duke in the rubber match. 

 

And as of Monday morning June 10, only two spots remain in the 8-team CWS field.  Auburn and North Carolina will decide one spot, and Mississippi at Arkansas the other one later on Monday. 

 

Already in are Florida State, coach Mike Martin in his 40th and last year trying to win his first CWS title; Louisville; Michigan, Branch Rickey's law school alma mater that knocked off top national seed UCLA, Jackie Robinson's alma mater; Mississippi State; Texas Tech; and Vanderbilt.] 

 

More on the MLB draft selectees:

 **Columbia's LHP Josh Simpson was picked by the Miami Marlins in the 32nd round and is likely to forgo a fifth year of eligiblity at Duke to try his hand in the pros.

 

**The first Ivy Leaguer picked was Simon Whiteman, Yale SS, drafted in the 9th round by the Giants.  In the same week he found out that he was named an academic all-America. 

 
**Gavin Hollowell, a RHP from St. John's and New Jersey, was the first of several Red Storm players picked - in the sixth round by the Colorado Rockies.

 

**Ricky DeVito, RHP from Seton Hall, was the first Pirate to be drafted, in the 8th round by the Braves. 

 

**Gustavo Sosa, Tottenville HS catcher, was drafted in 19th round by the Blue Jays.  

I believe he was the first and perhaps the only PSAL player  drafted. 

 

But remember you can play pro ball even if you are not drafted.  Adam Jones, a top draft choice with Seattle who came to stardom with Orioles and is now with Diamondbacks, once put it beautifully:  "You are only a number one draft pick for one day."  

 

After that it is all about work ethic and the ability to bounce back from inevitable defeats in the often cruel grind of the pro game.  

 

That's all for now.  Always remember:  Take it easy but take it.

 


 

 

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Army, Fordham, and Stony Brook To Carry New York-area Banner Into College Baseball Regionals

Are you getting fed up with the epidemic of strikeouts in Major League Baseball?  For the second season in a row, it looks like a certainty that whiffs will eclipse wallops in The Show.  It disturbs me no end that doubles and singles are way down and triples nearly non-existent, but there is an alternative.

 

Try watching baseball on the college and high school levels. The pitchers are not yet fully developed or never will reach the mid-to-high 90 mph level. The hitters are not yet launch angle-crazy (though I fear a trend heading in that unfortunate direction).

 

So here's a salute to three New York area teams who will begin double-elimination regional play this weekend with a shot, admittedly a long-shot, at the College World Series starting in Omaha on June 15.

 
Last Sunday Fordham won the Atlantic Ten title at a conference tournament held on their Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.  They will open play against the host Big 12 conference winner West Virginia in Morgantown. Duke and Texas A & M are also in the same regional.

 
I didn't get to see the Rams play, but did watch the Davidson Wildcats advance with a victory over the Richmond Spiders coached by former major leaguer Tracy Woodson and with graduate transfer infielder Tyler Plantier, son of former Red Sox outfielder Phil.  (Yes, folks, Davidson in western North Carolina and the Dayton Flyers, runners-up to Fordham, are part of the Atlantic Ten which actually has 14 members.) 

 

Fordham has a proud baseball history that is immortalized with plaques that greet you as you enter Houlihan Park adjoining the football stadium. The list includes two early 20th century Hall of Famers, pitcher Ed Walsh ("the only man who could strut sitting down," in Chicago sportswriter Charlie Dryden's immortal phrase) and Frank "The Fordham Flash" Frisch who starred for both John McGraw's NY Giants and Branch Rickey's Gashouse Gang St. Louis Cardinals.

 
There is also post-Civil War star Esteban "Steve" Bellan, who helped to popularize baseball in his native Cuba; legendary broadcaster Vin Scully; sports and nature writer John Kieran (first "Sports of the NY Times" columnist); and Walter O'Malley, the man who moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to LA.  (I hated to write those last words but they are a part of baseball's rich if sometimes unpleasant history.)

 

Here's to a second New York-area champion:  Stony Brook, winners of the America East title, who will travel to Baton Rouge to face perennial contender LSU.  Seven years ago in 2012, Stony Brook shocked the college baseball world by winning the super-regional at LSU and heading to the College World Series.

 
In one of the greater sporting gestures I can recall, the ardent college baseball fans at LSU insisted that the conquering Sea Wolves run a victory lap around their ballpark.  Also in the Baton Rouge regional will be Arizona State, hoping to revive its storied college baseball history, and Southern Mississippi.


Army is the third NY team to make the tourney.  The West Point cadets will play host Texas Tech in a regional including Dallas Baptist and former CWS champion Florida.

 

Harvard, conquerors of defending champion Columbia in a thrilling playoff in Cambridge two weekends ago, will represent the Ivy League in Oklahoma City against host Oklahoma State.  Nebraska and Connecticut will also vie for the SuperRegional to be played the first full weekend in June at sites TBA.

 
A tip of the cap to Harvard's reserve infielder Evan Owolo who before the final playoff game in Cambridge played on solo violin one of the most beautiful National Anthems I've ever heard.  I think he played it as the notes were originally written and it took only 1 minute and 17 seconds.

 

Columbia fought Harvard valiantly.  Senior righthanders Josh Simpson and Ethan Abrams pitched brilliant baseball and ended their college careers on a high note.  But Harvard got great performances, too. 

 

Hunter Bigge pitched and batted the Crimson to a complete game victory in the first tussle.  And Patrick McColl's big bat couldn't be contained in the dramatic extra-inning clincher. 

 

One final note on amateur baseball - the New York PSAL high school semi-finals are set.  Tomorrow - Friday May 31 at 330p - Manhattan's Beacon travels to Brooklyn powerhouse Grand Street Campus (alma mater of Yankees reliever Dellin Betances).

Meanwhile two-time defending champion Bronx's Monroe journeys to upper Manhattan to play Gregorio Luperon. 

 
Each series is a best-of-three.  Winners play at Yankee Stadium on Wed June 12 at 7p.

Teams from smaller schools play their finals at 1p and 4p on that Wed.

 
So until next month when we may speculate on the results of Mon Jun 3's MLB amateur free agent, always remember:  Take it easy but take it!    

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