Login |  Register |  help

Stepinac Alumni lead Manhattanville to NCAA Tournament!

Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 by Keith Richardson

Manhattanville enters D-III baseball tournament optimistic


Senior center fielder Kevin Murray, from Stepinac, is hitting .392 for Manhattanville College.

Senior center fielder Kevin Murray, from Stepinac, is hitting .392 for Manhattanville College. (Manhattanville College]

 

By Brian Heyman • bheyman@lohud.com • May 18, 2010

The last and only time Manhattanville made it to the NCAA Division III baseball tournament, it lost two games, leaving the 2007 stage quickly and quietly. This time, though, the Valiants are coming in swinging loudly.


 

They are feeling optimistic after scoring 10 runs each time in a three-game sweep at the Freedom Conference tournament. The heavy-hitting, senior-laden team earned a ticket to the double-elimination NCAA regionals with the program's first conference tournament title since that '07 season, its final one in the Skyline.

Manhattanville will take its 22-19-1 record to the Mid-Atlantic Regional at Waterfront Stadium in Trenton, N.J. The Valiants drew the No. 7 seed. Kean, the 34-10, No. 2 seed and regional host, will be their first opponent on Wednesday at about 7:45 p.m.

"I think the first time, we were a little bit in awe of the whole situation," said Jeff Caulfield, Manhattanville's sixth-year coach. "This year, I think the guys have the confidence and belief that we can actually go in there and win some games and possibly get to the College World Series."

This Purchase-based ballclub has made it this far with help from several homegrown players. Caulfield has 15 guys from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. Two others also attended high schools in Westchester.

"When I took over the program, my goal was to get the best kids from the Westchester area so they could play close to home and their families could see them," Caulfield said. "The Westchester-Rockland area has some outstanding baseball."

"That was one of the reasons I came here: all the local kids," Joe Gallace said.

 

Subscribe to The Journal News

 

The shortstop from Harrison missed the 2007 regionals. He was a freshman at Tampa. The transfer struggled earlier this season. But he batted .538 (7 for 13) with five RBI to extend his hitting streak to 12 and win MVP at the four-team Freedom tournament.

 

"It was a long season, but (I got hot) pretty much at the right time," Gallace said. "I just went up there and hit. I didn't really think about too much. You can't really think that it's playoffs. You have to play like it's any other game."

 

The Valiants started at just 3-6 in conference games. There were some injuries, but it was more than that.


 

 

"We weren't doing some of the little things to get these victories," said Kevin Murray of Valhalla, the .392-hitting senior center fielder who played at Stepinac and was at Oneonta in 2007.

But they claimed nine of their last 12 in the conference and are on a 15-6-1 roll overall. Senior left fielder Paul Blejec, the Fordham Prep product named conference player of the year, is batting .448, one of four .400 hitters on a team batting a collective .372.

But it hasn't been all offense. The pitching has been better in the second half.

Caulfield said right-hander Stephen Arroyo-Falcon, another senior out of Fordham Prep, and Mamaroneck's Alex Mason, a lefty out of Rye Neck who's in his second season here after two years at Pace, are his top two pitchers heading into the regionals. But John Kain, a senior righty from Harrison, also delivered a strong start for a win in the conference tournament.

Still, this team revolves around its bats.

"I think there aren't many teams that would want to play us the way we're hitting the ball right now," Murray said. "If we do what we know we can do, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to make it through this region."

The Valiants started at just 3-6 in conference games. There were some injuries, but it was more than that.


 

"We weren't doing some of the little things to get these victories," said Kevin Murray of Valhalla, the .392-hitting senior center fielder who played at Stepinac and was at Oneonta in 2007.

But they claimed nine of their last 12 in the conference and are on a 15-6-1 roll overall. Senior left fielder Paul Blejec, the Fordham Prep product named conference player of the year, is batting .448, one of four .400 hitters on a team batting a collective .372.

But it hasn't been all offense. The pitching has been better in the second half.

Caulfield said right-hander Stephen Arroyo-Falcon, another senior out of Fordham Prep, and Mamaroneck's Alex Mason, a lefty out of Rye Neck who's in his second season here after two years at Pace, are his top two pitchers heading into the regionals. But John Kain, a senior righty from Harrison, also delivered a strong start for a win in the conference tournament.

Still, this team revolves around its bats.

"I think there aren't many teams that would want to play us the way we're hitting the ball right now," Murray said. "If we do what we know we can do, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to make it through this region."

 
 
  • You might also be interested in:
  • Ossining man sentenced to 40 years for raping sisters (The Journal News)
  • Police blotter (The Journal News)
  • Postgame notes: Teixeira has another big day (The LoHud Yankees Blog)
  • 3 nabbed after diner check unpaid (The Journal News)
  • Selected for you by a sponsor:
  • Cameron Diaz Caught Leaving A-Rod's Apartment (LimeLife)
  • Kate Hudson Dating Three Guys A-Rod (iVillage)
 
 

This page was created in 0.2969 seconds on server 132