Several members of the Sacred Heart University Baseball team are playing in collegiate summer leagues throughout the northeast. Follow their summer seasons, as SHU Baseball Media Coordinator and Play-By-Play announcer Randy Brochu updates their progress periodically through the summer with the Sacred Heart University Baseball Summer Notebook.
The August sun has set on the summer collegiate baseball season, and for four of the nine Pioneers who played the past two months throughout the northeast, it ended with yet another post season appearance in 2011. However, unlike the Northeast Conference Championship ride this past spring, for Rob Griffith, Troy Scribner, and Liam Rafferty in Vermont of the NECBL and for Rocco Gondek in North Fork of the ACBL, the summer playoffs ended earlier than they had hoped.
Gondek's North Fork Ospreys team fell in a classic to their rivals, the Westhampton Aviators, 4-3 in the Hampton Division Championship this past Thursday. Still, for Gondek, it was an encouraging summer after having to sit out much of the Pioneers' season with a foot injury. He hit .284 this summer in 29 games, going deep once and driving in 13 while scoring 11. He also saw time in both the outfield and at catcher, which is always valuable for a guy who can fill in multiple spots for Sacred Heart next spring as well.
Up in Vermont, Scribner's winning streak in the NECBL came to an end in the first game of the playoffs for the Mountaineers, despite pitching well as usual. He gave up three earned runs in six innings against Holyoke, scattering nine hits with five strikeouts and a walk. It also marked the only time all season the Mountaineers did not win when Scribner pitched, as they were undefeated in the nine regular season games in which he took to the hill. Scribner finished the regular season a perfect 5-0 (second in the league in wins) with 3.00 ERA in 45 innings, giving up 40 hits with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks… Griffith reached base twice in Vermont's final game of the year, a 4-3 loss to Holyoke to culminate a two-game sweep in round one of the playoffs. His overall line for the year ended at .260 (26-100) with one homerun, eight RBI, and 12 runs in 29 games. He played his typical stellar defense at first base, boasting a .995 fielding percentage for the season….In the bullpen, Liam Rafferty's streak of 13.1 innings without allowing an earned run came to an end in the best way possible – a win in relief against Danbury on July 30. Vermont pulled off a 3-2 victory, with Rafferty pitching two innings and allowing one run. He finished off a very positive summer in which he consistently pounded the strike zone to the tune of 24 strikeouts and five walks in 18.2 innings, compiling a record of 2-4 with a 3.38 ERA. Rafferty has perhaps the most live arm on the Pioneers' staff, and by demonstrating excellent control this summer, the Pioneers hope he is poised to harness the potential he has to be a dominant reliever next spring for SHU.
As the summer draws to a close, it is almost time for Pioneer Athletic fans to turn their attention to the gridiron, pitch, rink, and court. However, the boys of spring and summer will still be getting their work in at the yard soon with Fall Ball, gearing up to defend their title next spring when they open at New Mexico State University on February 24. Until then, get out to a ballgame and enjoy the pennant chases for your big league teams who are still in it.