By Rob Potter
CALLICOON Hortonville resident and 2009 Sullivan West Central School graduate Brad Reimer and his Long Island University teammates are having a great 2011 baseball season.
With a 6-4 victory over Hofstra this past Sunday at MCU Park on Coney Island in Brooklyn, the Long Island University Blackbirds tied the school’s single-season record for wins with 27. Back in 1990, LIU went 27-13 and and won the program’s only NorthEast Conference (NEC) championship.
With a record of 27-16 going into this weekend’s four-game NEC series at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., Reimer and his teammates are eager to establish a new season record for victories.
Reimer, a sophomore right-hander, earned the victory when the Blackbirds defeated the Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday, March 13 as part of a four-game series in Manhattan, Kans. LIU split that series with the Wildcats.
“I’ve had no-decisions since then,” Reimer said in an interview on Wednesday morning. “We have been in a lot of low-scoring games.”
One of those no-decisions occurred on Sunday, April 17 in an NEC game against the visiting Quinnipiac Bobcats. Reimer gave up three runs in the top of the first inning. But the Blackbirds scored seven runs in the first five innings.
Reimer left the game after the fifth. He gave up five runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits and a walk. He also struck out four batters.
LIU rallied in the late innings for a 10-9 victory.
Reimer usually pitches for LIU, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school, on Sundays.
“I’ve been throwing good,” said Reimer, who is slated to be on the mound for the Blackbirds when they face Monmouth this Sunday.
Before his freshman season last spring, Reimer said he pulled a muscle near his rib cage while lifting weights as part of his offseason training routine. He pitched in a few games for the Blackbirds and then played in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League last summer.
Reimer said he enjoyed playing in the summer league, which included players from mostly Division I schools.
This season, Reimer has a 1-0 record and is pitching on a regular basis. While playing for the SW Bulldogs, Reimer played other positions defensively when he was not pitching and took his turn in the batting order.
But he doesn’t need to worry about hitting right now.
“We have the designated hitter,” Reimer said. “It’s kind of nice just to focus on one thing. I like being able to concentrate on my pitching.”
Playing in the Hamptons last summer was a good experience for the 20-year-old, but he is really looking forward to this summer when he will be playing baseball in the Aloha State.
Reimer, like hundreds of other college baseball players from across the United States of America, will be playing in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League.
“There will be mostly Division I kids there, some from D-II and D-III and some junior college players,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it for two reasons. One, I’m looking forward to playing good baseball in the league. The second reason is being able to spend the summer in Hawaii.”
Of course, Reimer is currently focused on doing his best to help the Blackbirds keep their record-setting season going for as long as possible.
Following the four-game NEC series against Monmouth, LIU will host Central Connecticut on May 13, 14 and 15 at MCU Park to wrap up the regular season. The NEC Tournament is scheduled for May 19, 20 and 21.
After that, the Blackbirds could continue their season in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
“I definitely would like to see us win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA tourney,” Reimer said. “For us to win a couple of games in the NCAA Regionals would be a really good experience.”