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.