Summer Ball Season Produces All-Stars, Top Prospects for Wildcats
Aug. 31, 2012
During a busy summer season of baseball Villanova had three current players named all-stars and another selected as a top prospect. In all the Wildcats were represented throughout the entire country in numerous collegiate summer leagues.
Rising junior Max Almonte (Long Beach, N.Y.) was named the No. 18 prospect in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League by Perfect Game at the end of the summer. He played for the Southampton Breakers under former Villanova star Rob Cafiero and was also joined on the squad by current Wildcats teammates Connor Jones (Chandler, Ariz.) and JB Kole (Basking Ridge, N.J.).
All three players helped lead the Breakers to a postseason appearance and the team's first-ever Hampton Division title. During the regular season Almonte made seven starts for Southampton and went 3-2 with a 4.29 ERA while logging 42.0 innings with 41 hits allowed and 41 strikeouts. He made a strong start in the playoffs in the opener of a best-of-three series against Riverhead, going six innings and allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out six to pick up the win.
Kole also appeared in Game 1 of the series against Riverhead, relieving Almonte in the seventh and going one-plus innings with a strikeout and an unearned run allowed in a 6-2 victory. Kole appeared in 10 regular season games with three starts and was 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 30 1/3 innings pitched, during which he struck out 32 and averaged nearly 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Earlier in the postseason Jones went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in Southampton's first playoff game against North Fork. The Breakers swept a pair of games from North Fork to advance to the division championship series against Riverhead. Jones also scored a run in Game 1 of the Riverhead series. He batted .239 (11-for-46) in 15 regular season games with a double, five runs scored, six RBI and four stolen bases without being caught.
One of the Wildcats all-stars from the summer season was senior left-handed pitcher Matt Longfield, who pitched in relief for the North Adams Steeplecats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League and earned second team All-NECBL honors. Longfield was named to the All-Star Team and also helped lead North Adams to a playoff berth.
Longfield pitched in 28 games during the regular season and was 5-1 with three saves and a 1.68 ERA while racking up 39 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings pitched (13.2 strikeouts/nine innings). He also allowed just 24 hits and nine walks while holding opponents to a .245 batting average against him. Longfield was tied for third in the league in wins and was tied for eighth in both saves and strikeouts. His 39 strikeouts were the most among pitchers who worked exclusively in relief. Longfield pitched two-thirds of an inning with one strikeout in the NECBL All-Star Game and threw four scoreless innings with six strikeouts in two appearances in the playoffs.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Josh Harris (Streamwood, Ill.) was named to the All-Star team in the Metropolitan Collegiate Baseball League of Illinois. He pitched for the Crystal Lake Cardinals and picked up where he left off following a successful freshman campaign at Villanova. Over the summer he pitched in 10 games for Crystal Lake and went 7-2 with a 1.70 ERA, allowing only 51 hits and 11 walks while striking out 58 in 63 2/3 innings.
The third member of the Wildcats to be named to a summer all-star team is senior designated hitter Phil Rosenblum (Berwyn, Pa.). He played for the Geneva Red Wings in the New York Collegiate Baseball League and batted .277 (18-for-65) in 22 games with three doubles, six home runs, 15 runs scored and 17 runs batted in.
Villanova had three players competing over the summer for teams in the Cape Cod Baseball League, perhaps the most renowned of the summer collegiate leagues around the nation. Senior second baseman Tyler Sciacca (Staten Island, N.Y.) and junior pitchers Pat Young (The Woodlands, Texas) and Matt Meurer (Katy, Texas) all were successful playing on the Cape this summer.
Sciacca played for both the Harwich Mariners and the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and excelled for both squads. In the first week of the season he was traded to Yarmouth-Dennis and played on a temporary contract for 13 games, during which he batted .400 (12-for-30) with seven runs scored. Later in the summer he rejoined the Harwich team and batted .293 (22-for-75) in 23 games with two doubles, one triple, three home runs and 16 runs scored.
Harwich was also where Meurer called home in three Cape appearances. He logged 7 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in his three games for the Mariners and allowed just two hits and two runs while recording nine strikeouts. Young pitched in 14 games in relief for the Bourne Braves and compiled a 1-0 record and a 2.74 ERA while pitching 23.0 innings. He allowed 18 hits and had 22 strikeouts.
Two other summer leagues with statistics available online were the California Collegiate League and the Coastal Plains League. Junior pitcher Matt Lengel (Devon, Pa.) pitched in nine games for the Gastonia Grizzlies in the Coastal Plains League and went 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA. He pitched 49.0 innings and had 42 strikeouts while allowing 49 hits and holding opposing batters to a .269 batting average against him.
In the California Collegiate League sophomore Brandon Carr (Danville, Calif.) played in 31 games for the San Luis Obispo Blues and hit .190 (19-for-100) with four doubles, 16 runs scored and 11 runs batted in. He also walked 14 times and had a .311 on-base percentage.