Ed Townsend | Democrat
Sullivan West senior Patrick Pierce was one of three high school players on the Sullivan Spartans team this summer. The Spartans play in the Hudson Valley Collegiate Baseball League.
Summer sputter for Sullivan Spartans
Story by Ed Townsend
LOCH SHELDRAKE July 30, 2013 The loss of two pitchers to pro ball appears to be a major factor in the Sullivan Spartans 8-18 league record this summer in the 2013 Hudson Valley Collegiate Baseball League (HVCBL).
After the Spartans 5-2 loss last week to Eastern division powerhouse Hudson Valley Canes at SUNY Sullivan, manager Steve Alhona gave an analysis of the team’s loss and season record.
Regarding the 5-2 loss to the Canes, Alhona said, "I think for us it was just one of those days when we were trying to get some work in toward the end of the year and it's a good team right there (Canes) and we let their best hitter get up in RBI situations and he put three runs on the board against us.
“You can't let their best hitter come to the plate with opportunities to drive in runs," Alhona noted.
Hudson Valley Canes scored single runs in the first, second, third, fourth and fifth innings while the Spartans pushed across single runs in the second and seventh innings.
Scoring highlights for the Spartans came in the second inning when catcher Joe Consorti from Newburgh blasted a long home run over the left field fence.
After last summer’s surprise run to the HVCBL finals, the Spartans fell to an 8-18 record in 2013 and are out of playoff contention. Alhona says the difference from a year ago comes down to pitching. “We lost a couple of guys to pro ball and we just didn't have the arms to match up."
The two pitchers Alhona made reference to included left-handed pitcher Travis Renwick (Middletown, NY/Chapel Field HS/Orange CC/Brockport St.) and RHP Bryan Chudy (Goshen, NY/Clarkson College). Travis was signed by the Las Vegas Train Robbers (New Mexico) in the independent Pecos League. Bryan was signed by the Whitesands Pupfish in the Pecas League after throwing 10 innings for the Spartans this summer, striking out 14 and allowing 2 earned runs.
Travis is presently 1-1 in 22 innings pitched, appearing in 14 games for the Trainrobbers who have advanced to the Championship series vs. the Roswell Invaders.
Bryan finished the season 0-2 in six starts, throwing 30 innings with an ERA of 4.01.
The Spartans have had eight players play professional baseball over their 10-year existence.
When asked if a team can benefit from a season like this, Alhona pointed out "for our young guys it was a huge learning experience and they got a lot of valuable at bats against good college pitching."
"We had three junior high school players with us this year and they got a great opportunity to pitch and come to bat against college pitching and have a lot of good workouts," Alhona added.
Regarding some of the local college kids from the area who Alhona pointed out did not get a lot of playing time at their colleges, “they got 90 to 100 at bats here with us this summer and will go back to their schools with a lot of experience."
Addressing rumors that there may be no Sullivan Spartans team next year, Alhona stressed “that we don't want to jump to any conclusions on that one because this team is a great thing and is a great thing for the college and it benefits the college kids in our area.
"In the three years I have coached, this league we play in has progressively gotten better. There is interest in this team, and as far as the future goes, I think we'll have a team next year," Alhona concluded.
The Collegiate Baseball League was formed in the spring of 1996 by two residents of Orange County, Tim Croker and Jim Bisaccia. Their intention being to provide collegiate, and some of the better high school aged ballplayers, the opportunity to improve their game and showcase their talents in a league designed to attract college coaches, as well as professional scouts.
The league is comprised of teams from the Hudson Valley area of New York and southern Connecticut. Games are played from June through the second week in August.
The general manager of the Sullivan Spartans is Jared Carrier. He also served as head coach from 2002-2008. Team advisory board members include Sullivan County Community College head coach Ryan Snair and Steve Cabarcas.
The 2013 players with local connections include Jack Schilling (Honesdale HS/SUNY Sullivan), Joe Franke (Liberty HS/Oneonta St.), Mike Mills (Livingston Manor HS/(SUNY Sullivan), Bobby Wagner (Monticello HS/Westfield St.), Tyler Lopez, (Tri-Valley HS/SUNY Sullivan), Jesse Brown (Tri-Valley HS/Kings College), Rodney T. Jester III (Tri-Valley HS/Tompkins-Cortland freshman to be), Bray Curreri (Eldred HS), Patrick Pierce (Sullivan West HS) and Jon Harned (Monticello HS).
The 2013 awards for this Sullivan Spartan team go to:
Top pitcher - Mike Mills
Top offensive player - Jake Schilling
Top defensive player - Bobby Wagner
Top newcomer - Joe Franke
Most improved player - Mike Ladka