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Rob Potter | Democrat

Justen Mills gets his bat on the baseball while taking batting practice in the cage during a recent Sullivan County Community College baseball team workout at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the SCCC campus in Loch Sheldrake.

Sullivan Generals are eager to begin their baseball season

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — March 12, 2010 — With a new coaching staff and more than half of the roster consisting of new players, the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) baseball team is looking for a fresh start for the 2010 season.
The Generals began their new season last Sunday with a doubleheader at Manchester Community College in Connecticut. SCCC won the first game, 7-4, as Alex Diaz and Curtis Lopez each blasted a home run.
SCCC pitcher Elier Santana recorded nine strikeouts in the second game, but Manchester CC prevailed, 1-0.
Under Coach Scott Cassidy, SCCC posted a 7-23 record during the 2009 season.
But Cassidy left during the summer and Coach Ryan Snair was hired to lead the Generals. Before coming to SCCC, Snair was the Head Coach of the Ulster County Community College baseball team for seven years.
Helping Snair guide the Generals this spring will be Assistant Coach Jed Carrier, Assistant Coach Tom Mattice and Strength and Conditioning Coach Rob Barrese.
Today, the Generals are leaving for a trip to Florida, where they will play 11 games in Winter Haven, which is the former spring training home of the Cleveland Indians.
“We’ll be playing teams from all over,” Snair said during a team practice last week at SCCC’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. “There are a couple of teams from Illinois and a couple of teams from Minnesota.”
After training inside the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse since January, the Generals are ready to take to the diamond.
“We have 24 players on the roster and 10 of them are returning sophomores,” Snair said. “Of the freshmen, six guys are from Miami, Florida and two are from Canada.”
Based on what he has seen during several weeks of preseason practices, Snair is feeling confident about SCCC’s season.
“I think we’re going to be vastly improved,” he said. “We hit pretty well and our pitching is pretty deep. We have a lot of ability.”
Joe Coto, who is one of the freshmen from Miami, is SCCC’s No. 1 starter.
“He has very good stuff,” Snair said. “He throws three or four pitches and his fastball is 88 to 90 miles per hour. He has a good chance for a professional future.”
Coto recorded seven strikeouts in five innings to earn the victory in the Generals’ season opener against Manchester CC.
Two of the aforementioned 10 sophomores on the Generals’ roster are very familiar to local baseball fans. Chris Gates is a graduate of Fallsburg Central School and Justen Mills was a member of the Liberty Central School Class of 2008. Gates, who played for SCCC during the 2007 season, has been out of the game for the last couple of years. Snair expects Gates to compete for playing time in the outfield.
Mills, who hit over .300 last season, will be the Generals’ starting right fielder.
“We’re all working hard in the preseason practices to make it pay off during the season,” he said. “We’re looking to improve.”
Gates noted that Barrese has been very helpful during the preseason.
“He has helped the players fulfill their goals,” Gates said.
Once the Generals return from The Sunshine State, they will begin playing their Mid-Hudson Conference schedule. SCCC will face Dutchess Community College, Orange CC, Rockland CC, Ulster CC and Westchester CC in MHC games. Like SCCC, all of those MHC teams are classified as National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II teams.
“Dutchess Community College is the returning Region XV champion,” Snair said. They will be a strong opponent. I think Rockland and Dutchess will be the top teams in the conference. Actually, all of the teams will be tough.”
After its Florida trip, SCCC will have a few days off before its next game at Monroe College in the Bronx on Friday, March 26.
The Generals open up their home schedule with a doubleheader against Westchester CC on Saturday, April 3. The opening pitch of the first game is set for noon.
The members of the 2010 SCCC Generals baseball team are:
Brian Aponte, Scranton, Pa.; Efrain Bautista, Bronx; Justin Brewer, Nova Scotia, Canada; Joel Cabrera, Bronx; Jimmy Caceras, Bronx; Joe Castro, Miami, Fla.; Joe Coto, Miami, Fla.; Alejandro Diaz, Miami, Fla.; Armando Fachado, Miami, Fla.; Sandro Ferriera, Bronx; Chris Gates, Fallsburg; Carlos Gerda, Bronx; Noel Guaba, Bronx; Matt Harding, Nova Scotia, Canada; Curtis Lopez, Brooklyn; Miquel Lopez, Bronx; Benny Martinez, Bronx; Jerolld Mejia, Miami, Fla.; Justen Mills, Liberty; Joanevel Pascual, Bronx; Dave Pimental, Brooklyn; Rob Rivera, Bronx; Elier Santana, Miami, Fla. and Dauris Travarez, Queens.

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