Baseball Ranked as High as #3 in Multiple Preseason Polls
Herkimer, NY - Herkimer baseball is coming off their 6th World Series appearance and find themselves ranked in multiple preseason polls. The JUCO Baseball Blog has the Generals ranked #3 in their poll while Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ranked the Generals 8th and the NJCAA preseason poll has them in at #7. Herkimer was tied as the top hitting team in the country last season with a .377 average. Herkimer will again feature their big bats as 7 starters return to the lineup this season.
The outfield is an area of strength for the Generals as they return All American Brendyn Stillman (Waverly, NY). The St. Bonaventure commit hit .422 with 13 doubles, 7 triples, 9 HR, and 54 RBI last year. Centerfielder and leadoff man Brandon Kruzinski (Mohonasen, NY) returns after a huge playoff run last year. The Lynn University commit hit .330, 7 doubles, 7 triples, 2 HR and is an electric defender with a bigtime arm. Steve Centorani (Winsor, NY) is a 6’6” power hitter who posted a .376 average with 5 doubles, 5 HR, 29 RBI and also contributes on the mound making 7 appearances throwing 12 innings with 3BB, 15K, and a 0.00 ERA. DI Western Arizona transfer Minjae Hong (South Korea) will also see time in the outfield and at DH after a strong fall season. Dom Fasolo (Whiteboro, NY) is a sweet swinging lefty stick with the ability to play all three outfield positions and will threaten to crack the starting lineup.
All Region catcher Matt Parkinson (Whitesboro, NY) returns after posting a .430 average with 14 doubles and 3 HR. Three freshman catchers will look to make an impact in Cedric Rose (Pittsfield, MA), Nick Gates (Australia), and DI transfer Joe Novenche (Clifton Park, NY) who are all feature different strengths and really have bright futures in the program.
The infield is loaded with returning players and bigtime freshman talent. All Region selection first baseman Brian Forbes (Rocky Point, NY) returns after posting a .374 average with 12 doubles, 4 triples, 3 HR, and 38 RBI. Sophomore second baseman Vito Castronovo (Utica, NY) returns and has made huge gains this season after hitting .361 with 4 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 HR in split duty last season. Sophomore Ben Osborne (Westhampton Beach, NY) is a contact left handed hitter with a strong glove at 3B who spent time at 3B, SS and DH last season and posted .355 average with only 4 K’s in 62 Abs. DI Marshall transfer Cam Collett (Guilderland, NY) is a smooth fielding infielder who will contribute to the lineup as well. Freshman lefty Frank Wayman (Horseheads, NY) is a premier defender at first base and is a power bat who will see time in OF and DH as well. Dillon Cassidy (Rocky Point, NY) is a middle infielder who had a great fall season and will provide much needed depth in the middle. Matt Tobin (West Canada, NY) is right handed hitter who will help the lineup with his big bat and the ability to play the left side of the infield. Najie Waller (Massapequa, NY) is a corner infielder who will see time at DH with his strong bat. Masaki Furudona (Japan) is an infielder who can also provide depth on the mound.
The pitching staff is deep with the most diverse arm actions that the program has had in years. Leading the way will be draft prospect Dale Stanavich (Amsterdam, NY). Stanavich, a Marshall University transfer, is a left handed pitcher with 90-92 mph fastball and two plus breaking pitches and a superior athlete who will also see time at DH. Setting up Stanavich will be sidearmer Yanni Orfanidis (Bayside, NY) who had a solid freshman season and has showed big improvements on the mound with his strong work ethic.
A talented group of left handed pitchers is led by returning UMBC recruit Keegan Leffler (Saratoga, NY) who spent time as closer then moved to the starting rotation late in the year. Leffler had 11 appearances with a 4-0 record with 3 saves, 29 innings pitched 37 K, 7 BB, 1.86 ERA. DI transfer Cole Miller (Chicago, IL) is a big left handed arm with the ability to frontline a rotation. Freshman Doug Rando (Whitesboro, NY) dominated the fall season and projects to be in the rotation. Lefties Rick Neuser (East Syracuse, NY), Evan O’Connor (Woodstock, CT), and Zak Green (Sidney, NY) will all have valuable roles out of the pen as strong match up pitchers. The staff is lucky to have seven talented lefties on the staff.
Herkimer also features eight right handed arms ready to make their impact on the staff this year. Albany recruit Ryan Lanaro (Mohonasen, NY) returns to the rotation after posting a 1-1 record with a save over 23 innings with 22k and 3.91 ERA. Hard throwing Matt Gonzales (Scotia, NY) moved from the pen to the rotation this year. Freshmen Tyler McDonnell (Yorktown, NY) and Chris Godlewski (New York Mills, NY) are hard throwing arms that the coaching staff is excited about. Matt Boone (Avon, CT) and Ben Wager (Johnstown, NY) are two experienced arms who can serve as reliable arms out of pen or crack the rotation as well. Anthony Ponticello (Gloversville, NY) and Seth Burnham (Unatego, NY) are two arms who can fill multiple roles on the staff as well.
Herkimer opens up in Florida on March 16th and will open up at home on March 31st.