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Christian Huertas '12 Highlighted in New Paltz Preview!

Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2015 by Keith Richardson
NEW PALTZ, N.Y. - After weeks of preparation, including nine canceled or postponed games, the 2015 season is finally ready to begin for the State University of New York at New Paltz baseball team as the Hawks play at No. 22 Randolph-Macon College on Thursday, March 12.

Under second-year head coach Matt Righter, the Hawks return 19 players from last year's roster and welcome in 16 newcomers for the 2015 season.

The Hawks look to improve on last year's 14-22, 6-12 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) mark and earn the team's first SUNYAC Tournament win since 2001.

Last season, New Paltz ranked second in the SUNYAC in doubles, stolen base attempts and earned run average (ERA) but fell short of the playoffs, finishing tied for sixth place in the conference with SUNY Fredonia.

Along with second-year assistant Mike Impellittiere, the Hawks welcome Andrew Grann '14 as the pitching coach for 2015. Grann is the program leader with 17 career wins.

"As always, we want be better and to make it to the SUNYAC playoffs," Righter stated. "We want a better record than last season and from there, anything goes."

"This year has been a little more laid back and our upperclassmen know everything going into the season," Righter continued. "So we have focused a little more on the development of the mental and emotional part of the game and that will go a long way."

Catchers

Behind the plate will be junior Tyler Bell (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip), who started 31 games last season and finished with a .294 batting average. Bell drove in a team-high 15 RBI and struck out just once in 102 at-bats, which tied for first in the SUNYAC.

Joining Bell is converted outfielder, junior Taylor Anderson (East New Market, Md./Cambridge-South Dorchester), who appeared in 22 games, earning five starts in 2014.

Rounding out the catching corps are freshmen Spencer Brown (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville), Tyler Laco (Commack, N.Y./Commack) and Danny Santana (New York City, N.Y./East Side Community).

Infield

At first base, expect to see senior Shaun Hansen (Southold, N.Y./Greenport), sophomore Robert Fitzpatrick (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) and sophomore Anthony Diana (North Amawalk, N.Y./Somers) to all earn playing time.

Last year, Hansen appeared in 30 contests and earned 19 starts while tallying a team-high 10 doubles, which was tied for third in the SUNYAC. Hansen registered a .304 average, 21 hits and a team-best .449 slugging percentage. Fitzpatrick and Diana combined to play in 28 games with 19 starts.

Second base will be led by senior Stanley DeLaCruz (Bronx, N.Y./ High School of International Business & Finance), who started 33 games last year and recorded 27 hits, including six doubles.

Playing shortstop will be junior Andrew DiNardo (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay-East Fishkill). DiNardo earned 32 starts last season and recorded a .288 average with 32 hits, including six doubles. Freshman Anthony Pantano (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale) will also see playing time at short.

Senior co-captain Mike Sparacino (Commack, N.Y./Commack) will be at third base, as he provided 21 starts last year while appearing in 30 contests. Freshman Tom Read (Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge) provides additional depth at the hot corner.

Freshman Ryan Bowser (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac), freshman Chris Amato (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) and sophomore Gus Morales (Ridgewood, N.Y./The School at Church Farm) all provide additional depth for the infield.

Outfield

Leading the outfield will be senior co-captain Richard Guido (Ulster Park, N.Y./Kingston), who was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2014.

Guido started 33 games a year ago and cracked 24 hits, including seven doubles and three triples, the third-most in the SUNYAC. Guido also scored a team-high 16 runs and led the Hawks with 17 stolen bases, which tied for third most in the SUNYAC and fifth most in single season program history.

Joining Guido in the outfield are freshman Chris Moran (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River), Jake Williams (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford), Jeff Sarra (Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Connetquot) and sophomore Andrew Martini (Monroe, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury), who played in 13 games, including four starts, in 2014.

Pitchers

Senior southpaw Roy Missall (Hemlock, N.Y./Honeoye Central), junior lefty Jamie Fox (Calverton, N.Y./Riverhead), junior right-hander Christian Huertas (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac), senior lefty co-captain Brian Solomon (New Windsor, N.Y./Newburgh Free Academy) and sophomore righty Luke Schuessler (Highland Mills, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury) make up the projected starting rotation.

Missall led the staff with a 1.40 earned run average (ERA) last year, which was the third-lowest in single season history. The crafty lefty appeared in 12 games and went 1-1 in 19 1/3 innings. Fox joins the team after transferring from Division II Nyack College.

Huertas brings a strong right arm into the rotation as the junior posted three saves a year ago, which tied for second-most in single season history. Huertas made 12 appearances, including six starts, and posted a 2-4 mark and a 2.54 ERA. In 2014, the righty threw 39 innings and struck out 17 batters.

Solomon adds valuable experience to the staff as the power lefty earned six starts and made 10 appearances in 2014, throwing 37 innings and posting a 3.41 ERA with 27 strikeouts. Schuessler played in seven games during his rookie season and earned two starting nods, going 1-1. The right-hander tossed 17 innings and recorded a 3.71 ERA.

Coming out of the bullpen are freshman left-hander Brian LoRusso (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City), freshman right-hander Conor Donachie (Garden City, N.Y./Chaminade), sophomore left-hander Brett Wisner (Forest Hills, N.Y./Forest Hills), sophomore Spencer Ballot (Amawalk, N.Y./Somers), DiNardo and Hansen.
Last year, Wisner, DiNardo and Hansen combined for 16 innings pitched, eight strikeouts and one save.

Providing depth in the pitching staff are freshman right-hander Luke Christy (New York City, N.Y./NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies), sophomore righty Kevin Frank (Bellmore, N.Y./W.C. Mepham), senior righty Matt Lawson (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South), senior right-hander Tyler Mitts (Nanuet, N.Y./Don Bosco Prep), freshman left-hander Jordan Deitch (Commack, N.Y./Commack) and senior lefty Jesse Vahamonde (Huntington, N.Y./Harborfields).

Lawson, Mitts, Frank and Vahomonde combined to appear in 25 innings in 2014, totaling two wins and 16 strikeouts out of the bullpen.

Schedule

The 2015 schedule is challenging, featuring 16 games against teams with 20 or more wins last year and two 2014 conference champions (SUNY Cortland, Union).

After playing Randolph-Macon, the Hawks have a tough opening slate at Port Charlotte, Fla. in the Snowbird Classic, taking on Heidelberg, Wooster, UMass Boston, Lancaster Bible, Denison, and Salem State. The spring break trip concludes with a three-game series and SUNYAC opener against perennial conference power Cortland from March 20-21.

Upon returning north, the Hawks play at Ithaca on March 26 before hosting Mount Saint Mary in their home opener on March 28. New Paltz remains at home until April 7, hosting Old Westbury, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Oneonta during that stretch.

After traveling to SUNY Fredonia, the Hawks host Union (N.Y.) on April 14 and SUNY Plattsburgh from April 17-18. The regular season concludes on the road at Oneonta on April 21 and The College at Brockport on April 24-25.

The 2015 SUNYAC Tournament runs from May 1-3 with the winner earning the automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Regional play is slated from May 13-16 with the College World Series being held in Appleton, Wisc. from May 22-26.

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