By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE June 9, 2006 Another very talented local high school player will continue his baseball career for Sullivan County Community College.
On Wednesday, Fallsburg Central School senior Chris Gates joined SCCC officials, his parents and friends for a ceremony at the colleges admissions office. Gates signed a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Letter of Intent to enroll at SCCC this fall and play for the Generals baseball team next spring.
Proud parents Harry and Deborah Gates sat beside their son as he took a pen and autographed the official letter.
We are happy to add another local baseball player to our roster, SCCC Athletic Director Chris DePew said. Chris Gates is an excellent player and we are proud that he has decided to be a General.
This season, Gates was one of the pitchers for the Fallsburg Comets and played center field. He posted a .333 batting average and a .419 on base percentage. He had 12 RBIs, scored 13 runs, hit four home runs and stole three bases.
This is a monumental signing for us, SCCC Coach Mike Marra said. I believe that Chris Gates is the best high school athlete in Sullivan County. He has played soccer and basketball, ran track, and, of course, played baseball. We are all very happy he has decided to play baseball here at Sullivan. Hes a great player and a great kid.
Although he had offers from other schools, Gates said that he made his decision to attend SCCC awhile ago.
Its close to home and I want to represent Sullivan County, he said. My father and [Fallsburg] Coach [Jeremy] Levner were behind me 100 percent. Knowing that they had my back helped make the decision easier.
Coach Levner supports me 100 percent and my parents support me 100 percent, Gates continued. I think my mother is proud of me the most. She has been telling everyone about this.
This summer, Gates will play for the Rondout Royals baseball team. The squad will play a 40-game schedule, which includes regular contests and tournaments in the Hudson Valley.
Although he spent the majority of his games with the Fallsburg Comets on the pitchers mound or in center field, Gates is willing to learn new defensive positions as a General.
Wherever they want me to play, Ill play, Gates said. I just want to go out there, represent Sullivan County and play my best.
Gates is the latest in a series of local high school seniors to agree to attend SCCC this autumn and play for the schools baseball team. The others include Eldreds Mike Prunka and Liberty teammates Mike Cook and Casey Pazzalia.