By Ted Waddell
MOUNTAINDALE - July 30, 2002 The Sullivan County Spartans baseball team brought some life back to Baxter Stadium this year as they competed in the Collegiate Baseball League (CBL), commonly known as the Wooden Bat League.
Although the Spartans started out with a 1-8 record after nine outings, the teams bats finally woke up behind some strong pitching and a significant reduction in the errors column.
The Spartans finished the regular season with a record of 12-15 by splitting a home game double header against the Orange County Pirates.
The lads of Sullivan County almost made it to the CBL playoffs, but came up short in a do-or-die game against the Montgomery Cardinals the week before.
Tim Havas is general manager of the team. The Monticello High Class of 1981 grad summed up the Spartans 2002 season on the local field of dreams.
Overall, it was a great success [because] we had baseball in Sullivan County this summer, and the kids are playing at a very high level, he said. Now we have a reference to build on for next year.
Havas said that while the team had excellent pitching this year, hes looking for added depth in the bullpen next season, saying you cant have too much good stuff on the mound. Hes also looking for more consistent hitting in 2003.
We were all a little bit lost at the beginning of the season, but they turned it around and started playing ball, he added. Were going to start next season ready to play.
Jared Carrier, a player/coach for the Spartans this year and 1997 graduate of Delaware Valley Central School, said the team was a tough mix.
We had guys coming off college seasons, some like myself who hadnt played in a couple of years and a few guys who havent played any college ball, said Carrier.
It took a while for everyone to get on the same page, he added. But I didnt think it was going to take nine games after that, we played excellent baseball.
Havas and Carrier agreed that the best pitchers this season were James Biondo of Middletown (4-2, 1.71 ERA) and Bloomingburgs Sean McGuire (4-4, 1.89).
Every time they went out, they gave us a solid effort, said Carrier. We play well behind them they threw strikes and we got the job done.
According to Havas, his top hurlers had different styles on the mound.
Sean is a finesse pitcher, while Jimmy got down and dirty, he said.
Between the two of them, they pitched close to 60 innings each. They were the heart and soul of the team.
Five Spartans pitchers tossed a total of double-digit innings during the season: McGuire (59.1 innings), Biondo (57.1), Brian Heavy of Wurtsboro (23.1), Billy Reichmann of Callicoon (18.2) and South Fallsburgs Timmy Gilmore (13.2). The pitching staff hurled a total of 187.2 innings in 2002 for a combined 2.50 ERA.
At the plate, the top-10 hot sticks for 2002: Jared Carrier (22 at bats/3 runs on 9 hits/4 RBI/.500 slugging average and a batting average of .409); Mark Stofko (13 AB/1 run on 4 hits/1 RBI/.308/.308); John McElwee (44 AB/4 runs on 12 hits/6 RBI/.318/.273); Andrew Peterson (70 AB/4 runs on 19 hits/10 RBI/.371/.271); James Biondo (56 AB/7 runs on 15 hits/7 RBI/.339/.268); Stephen Marshall (19 AB/0 runs on 5 hits/3 RBI/.316/.263); Jesus Pintado (69 AB/9 runs on 18 hits including 2 homers/5 RBI/.406/.261); Gil Suarez (23 AB/4 runs 6 hits/2 RBI/.261/.261); William Reichmann (50 AB/8 runs on 12 hits/3 RBI/.240/.240) and Adam Larson (13 AB/3 runs on 3 hits/3 RBI/.308/.231).
The rest of the pack: Timmy Gilmore (28 AB/0 runs on 6 hits/6 RBI/.357/.214); Tim Kuveke (33 AB/0 runs on 6 hits including a homer/7RBI/.333/.182); Sean McGuire (11AB/1 run on 2 hits/1 RBI/.182/.181); Dan Begnoche (17 AB/1 run on 3 hits/0 RBI/.176/.176); James Kautz (40 AB/3 runs on 7 hits/5 RBI/.175/.175); Kris Kujawski (37 AB/4 runs on 6 hits/7 RBI/.162/.162); Lance VanDermark (45 AB/1 run on 6 hits/5 RBI/.156/.133); Brian Heavy (39 AB/0 runs on 5 hits/3 RBI/.128/.128); Daniel Matland (8 AB/0 runs on 1 hit/0 RBI/.125/.125); George Brandes (24 AB/0 runs on 3 hits/0 RBI/.167/.125); Scott Coddington (67 AB/4 runs on 8 hits/0 RBI/.119/.119) and Raymond Suarez (4 AB/.000).
Individual leaders at the plate: At Bats: Peterson (70); Runs: Pintado (9); Hits : Pintado (18) Doubles: Biondo (4); Triples: Peterson (2); Home Runs: Pintado (2); RBI: Peterson (10); Strike Outs: Heavy (17); Stolen Bases: Pintado (6); On-Base percentage: Carrier (.480); Slugging Average: Carrier (.500) and Batting Average: Carrier (.409).
Team totals: 732 at bats, 57 runs, 156 hits, 23 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and 78 RBIs.
The Spartans went down swinging 129 times this year and stole 19 bases.
The teams on-base percentage was .324 with a .265 slugging average and a batting average of .213.
Havas said Jesus Pintado, the Spartans lead off swatter, came on strong as the season drew to a close as he started to hit for power on the road to hitting two homers in their final five games of the year.
Peterson hit the ball well all year, McElwee did well for us, Reichmann started off slow but in the last two to three weeks picked his average up, and Carrier batted over .400, he added by way of neatly wrapping up the season.
Havas expressed kudos to stadium owner Billy Resnick for letting the Sullivan County Spartans use the field gratis. He also credited several players fathers with helping keep the team running down the road to victory.