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Joey Falcone Witnessed Hell In Middle East

Joey Falcone Witnessed Hell In Middle East

Joey Falcone Military 1By LOU PAVLOVICH
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

(This story was originally published in the May 20, 2011 edition of Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Joey Falcone is now a senior at Columbia University where he is a member of the Lions baseball team. In 2013, the outfielder hit .331 with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs and 29 RBI. He was named to the All-Ivy League and ABCA Northeast Region second teams.)

NEW YORK. — Sergeant Joey Falcone has witnessed more suffering and death than anybody should be allowed as a medic for the U.S. Marine Corps infantry during three tours of duty in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old freshman right fielder at College of Staten Island is a true American hero.

Collegiate Baseball is honored to tell his story of the horrors he witnessed during his tours of duty to remind people what sacrifices these brave men and women make to keep our country free.

Rarely does our publication focus in on the military. But with the recent killing of Osama bin Laden, we thought it was appropriate to take an in-depth look at what one of our own went through as he served his country.

At times, baseball coaches will refer to games as “war”. But veterans like Falcone take great exception to this because war is about killing enemies which causes death and destruction. Baseball is nothing close to war.

 Falcone, who had five relatives working near the Twin Towers in Manhattan, N.Y. on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists forced two airliners into the buildings which killed thousands, has never forgot that day even though he was a young boy at the time.

His uncle was working in the North Tower while three cousins were doing construction across the street. And still another uncle was a fireman who was on the scene. All of them survived.

Since he was a 3-year-old, he had a bat in his hand and played baseball all the way through high school at Bolton High School in Alexandria, La where he was a right fielder.

His dad is former Major League LHP Pete Falcone who played 10 years for the Giants, Cardinals, Mets and Braves, and he taught his son how to play the great game of baseball.

After Joe finished high school, he decided to enlist in the Navy because he didn’t apply himself academically in high school.

“I didn’t take high school and grades very seriously,” said Falcone.

“I gave it a minimal effort. I was essentially a C student, and it just wasn’t that important to me. My favorite thing to do in high school was play baseball. Other than that, I could care less about academics. I didn’t feel it was even important to fill out applications for colleges because I just didn’t want to go to school any more.

“I wasn’t a great high school player and had close to a .300 batting average. That’s not outstanding. So I really didn’t have anything going for me. Since I didn’t have any interest in going to college, I enlisted in the Navy in 2004 as a 17-year-old kid.”

Falcone said that was the beginning of a seven year odyssey in the military that took him to some of the most dangerous places in the world in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for the United States and caring for soldiers who were shot or blown up by road side bombs as a medic.

 After boot camp for nine weeks, he was trained to be a medic as he learned everything it took to keep wounded soldiers alive for an additional 16 weeks.

At that point, he was sent to Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. After two months, Hurricane Katrina hit, and he was put on a hospital ship to help victims in the Gulf area. Once he got back to Bethesda, Md., he worked on the Casualty Ward at Naval Hospital and helped wounded Marines who came back from Iraq for the next couple of years.

First Tour Of Duty
In February of 2007, he went on his first tour of duty in Kuwait and didn’t experience much action as he served until September. Then he flew back to Bethesda, Md. and was then sent to the third Marine Division in Camp Lejeune (Lejeune, N.C.). At that time, he went through new training to become a Marine Corps medic.

When he graduated, he was sent to Hawaii to be with the Second Battalion, Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division in December of 2007.

 “They told me I would be going to Iraq in a couple of weeks. I had just got back from that area of the world in September, and here I am going back again.”

Falcone said the Third Marine Division then flew to Iraq in February of 2008 and performed numerous dangerous missions in the suburbs of Fallujah.

“That place was pretty nasty. We went to a forward operating base, and we were right in a middle of a third world, run down war zone slum with bullet holes in all the buildings. The place smelled like smoke, gun powder, crap and sewage. We lived in a little Iraq police station which was essentially a little hut of concrete.

“Me and another guy were medics for over 60 Marines. We worked out of there and pushed out on missions in incredible heat which was over 120 degrees as you were wearing uniforms complete with bullet proof vests over your chest, right and left flanks and back along with an 80 pound back pack and medical bag to treat wounded soldiers. You also had to carry ammunition and a rifle. Plus you have your Kevlar helmet on.

“You are extremely uncom-fortable in this oppressive heat carrying all this weight. But had to get used to hauling all this stuff and wearing it. Every day was just an endless march among these slums as you pushed out on missions for hours at a time and even days. At times, you were just moving like a mule and trying to survive.”

Always Being Watched
Falcone said you were always being watched by the bad guys during these missions.

“There were many times you get shot at, and you didn’t even know where the bullets came from. So you keep walking.

“You patrolled through these small towns which are mine choked in the ground with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devises). If you step on one, it will either kill you or take off your legs. They are hard to spot, but you are trained to look for the smallest things which tip you off.

“It was like Russian roulette going out on these patrols. You never knew if you would step on a mine, and you never knew if you would make it back alive. Every day was like this…an endless march with the possibility of dying.

“You had sniper fire and people who would walk up to you and detonate a bomb which would blow themselves up along with a Marine. The enemy would blend in with the people of the town. And you never knew who was who. A guy might come up to you and try to shake the hands of a soldier and praise him by saying, ‘American forces good’ or something like this. But that night, he might be the same guy who places an IED in the ground to kill us.

“When my men got shot, I would have to wrap them up and medivac them out. Hopefully they wouldn’t die. If one of my men was shot, you had to determine if it was safer for another Marine to get him to me or me go to them. In some cases, the victim might be 15 meters away and other cases 200 meters away. It depended on how big the ambush was and geography of the fire fight.

“Once I start administering first aid and made sure his heart was still ticking and air was filling up his lungs, that is when I call the helicopter to medivac him out. And I would tell them it was immediate, urgent or routine. I would usually tell them immediate so I could get them out of there as quick as possible.

“If my guy was dead, then he would be called ‘black’.

“In Iraq, none of the guys who died that I had to put in a body bag were in my company or platoon. As they were passing through our area, they got hit. There were four who died in 2008 in Iraq. In my three deployments, I treated dozens of wounded soldiers as a medic and would guess that the total number was just under 100.”

Falcone said that he medically attended to the enemy at times and the residents of the town who were caught in the middle.

“The reason we attended to the enemy is that we might possibly obtain information from them that might be valuable. Also, you would unfortunately see children under 10 years old who were absolutely mangled. They were probably better off dead because of the severity of the injuries But you at least have to try and help them. Nothing really prepares you for young kids being hit with gunfire and being mangled by mines in the ground. They got blown up just like other people did. My first time out when I saw a little kid mangled, it really bothered me quite a bit. But you also had to keep your mask of composure on at all times.”

Joey Falcone military IEDWar Is Absolute Hell
Falcone said that IED explosions to soldiers were absolutely horrible to treat.

“They were extremely messy, and they would lose one or both legs. I had a buddy who stepped on an IED, and the explosion destroyed both legs and his body just above his hips. You can’t live like that. He survived for a short period of time but eventually died from his wounds. When you are a medic and face a situation like that, you have to have tourniquets above the wound area to stop the bleeding because blood  is just gushing out.

“You hold that tourniquet as hard as you can until the bleeding slows or ideally stops. You also utilize pressure dressings and something called Quick Clot, among other techniques. If the guy is conscious, you try to be a calming influence in the situation. But many times they aren’t.”

Falcone said most of the soldiers he took care of were IED explosion victims

“As a medic, you didn’t want to run directly to the victim because another IED might be waiting to blow you up. So you had to be extremely careful. Sometimes I would grab the victim if he was close and help him. Other times, they were brought to me. The last thing you want is for two people to be victims of IEDs lying in the ground next to each other.”

Falcone, who was never wounded during his three tours of duty.

But he came extremely close to being killed several times including once along a mountain road.

“We were in vehicles traveling on a mission. And an enormous IED explosion went off between my vehicle and the one directly behind mine. If the mechanism in the bomb went off two seconds earlier, the explosion would have destroyed the vehicle I was in or the one behind me two seconds later.

“The explosion was absolutely massive. I looked through my back window and couldn’t even see the vehicle behind us with the fire blast, smoke cloud and debris flying everywhere. Probably five seconds later, I saw the vehicle pushing out of a huge crater.”

Cleaning Up Body Parts
Falcone said that maybe the most horrifying situations during his deployments took place when vehicles ran over IEDs which then destroyed the vehicles and anybody inside.

“Often times it would be a big fireball. Out of the corner of your eye at the top of the fireball, the vehicle would get propelled over a power line almost as if it was a toy. And your friends were in there. Then you had to fight if necessary. If there was only the blast, you more than likely had dead bodies. You might be there for hours cleaning up the vehicle debris. In addition, you were required to clean up any human remains of your friends that were left. You put body parts in body bags. But sometimes you ran out and had to put them in garbage bags.”

Falcone said the smell of the decaying flesh was difficult to stomach.

“Keep in mind the temperature is 120 degrees, and body parts are just decaying in the bags. Mangled flesh has one of the most nauseating smells I have ever endured. Plus, you are looking at it and realizing that they were your friends. It not only smells, but it is so eerie as well.

“After one of these explosions took the lives of several of my friends, I had a recurring nightmare. But each time I had it, it would be in a slightly different scene. I had a great priest who helped me with my nightmare problem. We had chaplains come out to the base to help us with things like this. I remember telling this one particular priest about the nightmare I kept having. The guy was an absolutely genius who helped me get through it. I wish I could talk to him again some time. He was pretty special.”

Tough To Deal With
Falcone said the worst part of being deployed in Iraq was coming back to the USA and knowing that he would be deployed once again in the near future to Afghanistan.

“Being out there is difficult being in fire fights, people being torn to shreds with mines and cleaning up body parts and all that messy, gruesome stuff.

“But being back in the U.S. and knowing you have to go back to that was horrible. It was the worst feeling in the world which hit you in the pit of your stomach. I got back to the U.S. in September of 2008 and then told in November that we would be deployed in Afghanistan — only two months later.”

Falcone said when he arrived in Afghanistan, it was more of the same, but with a different landscape and different enemies.

“Afghanistan had more mountainous regions. I was in southern Afghanistan where a lot of the Taliban was. The best way I can describe the Taliban is that they were bullies and bandits. They took advantage of the local people who were extremely poor. Afghanistan is a third world country, and almost everybody is flat broke and live in mud huts.

“The Taliban would take advantage of that and roll into the houses of these people. They would take anything they wanted, and there was nothing people could do about it. If you resisted, there would be consequences. They might kidnap the mother and do whatever they wanted with her. Or they would just kill her right in front of the family.”

Joey Falcone PrisonerCutting People To Pieces
Falcone was asked if he ever saw any beheadings as the Taliban retaliated against others.

“They would bully the local people quite a bit. One time we saw the remains of a local school teacher who was filleted and diced into many parts with a knife. Maybe the Taliban thought the teacher was being sympathetic to Americans. Who knows? It was so difficult as an American to comprehend people doing things like this.

“I remember getting shot at by the Taliban. One of their techniques was to hold an infant in the arms of a soldier while his buddy, close to him, would be shooting at us an AK-47 assault rifle. And he knew we wouldn’t shoot back at him with his buddy holding an infant in his arms right next to him. I didn’t want to shoot at him with him holding a little kid. None of us fired back.”

Falcone remembered another situation which took place when the Taliban targeted a local family.

“This poor family was rolling down a dirt road in a car which was packed with people. There was a pregnant mother, two little girls, a dad and his son. The Taliban planted an IED specifically for this family in the ground of the road. The car ran over the mine, and the vehicle was pulverized. Amazingly, only a couple of people from the family died in the explosion.

“The Taliban didn’t care. They just wanted to kill all of them. They had no patience with families trying to work with the coalition forces. So they would murder the whole family.”

Falcone said in November of 2009 he got back to the USA from Afghanistan and was stationed in Hawaii. And then from November until July, he served out the remainder of his time in the military since he didn’t want to re-enlist and began playing baseball once again for his unit team.

“I was thrilled to be playing baseball again. And the level of play was superb in Hawaii. When I was discharged, I initially visited my parents in Alexandria, La. for a bit. Then I came back to New York to live.”

Terrific Season In Baseball
After a period of time, he decided to enroll at College of Staten Island since it was close as he took full advantage of the GI Bill and didn’t have to pay for classes.

As he was enrolling for nursing classes, he asked if he could try out for the baseball team, and he was told where to apply.

He made the team and has had an outstanding season as a 24-year-old freshman.

Late in the 2011 season, he was hitting .355 over 35 games which ranked second on the team. He also knocked in 29 runs and produced 7 triples, 4 doubles and 1 home run as he recorded a team-leading slugging percentage of .545.

Most freshmen would be thrilled at such numbers.

But the grizzled combat veteran gave an interesting answer.

“I have been in the infantry for so long that failing seven out of 10 times really bothers me as a hitter,” said Falcone.

“When you are involved in the military, there is no room for error during battles because people will die. It really bothers me to fail so often now. I am not thrilled with it. I don’t fail seven out of 10 times with my grades. I had a 4.0 grade point average my last semester at College of Staten Island.”

Joe Falcone is an American hero who can play on my ball club any day.

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Mike Evans Exonerated By Bellevue

Mike Evans Exonerated By Bellevue

Mike Evans Mug New Mexico StBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From the Feb. 21, 2014 issue)

BELLEVUE, Neb. — Bellevue University has reached a settlement with long time baseball coach Mike Evans that exonerates him of any wrongdoing with events surrounding the team’s forfeiture of 40 games during the 2010 season.

The financial aspects of the settlement are confidential and were not disclosed.

Evans, who coached at Bellevue for 22 years from 1989-2010 with a 928-457-1 record, led the Bruins to 12 NAIA World Series appearances while earning an NAIA national title in 1995.

He did not have his contract renewed following the 2010 season.

Late that season, allegations were made that a transfer document from Sam Houston State for player Jon Reed was never received by Bellevue Athletics’ Director Ed Lehotak.

According to Evans, Lehotak told him that he never received the release. Evans responded that he was informed by the Bellevue administrator who handled transfer releases that it had arrived months prior to this. Evans said he and two other witnesses were at a meeting with this administrator to make sure the transfer release had been received. In addition, paperwork turned in by this administrator verified the transfer release was in as a document was sent to the NAIA.

The former Bellevue coach said Lehotak never bothered to ask this administrator to arrange for another transfer release to be sent from Sam Houston State to clear the matter up and instead self reported the problem to the NAIA just as the baseball team was entering the post-season playoffs.

The NAIA ultimately ruled two of the wins were allowed in 2010 since Reed didn’t play in those games while 40 games were either forfeited or lost during that season as Bellevue suffered a 2-40 season despite closing the regular portion of season with 29 wins in 30 games.

When Evans’ contract was not renewed at Bellevue, he said it took nearly a year to find another job as he applied for 175 jobs with no success until Head Coach Rocky Ward at New Mexico State hired him as the Aggies’ pitching coach in 2011.

Evans FAXed a copy of a letter to Collegiate Baseball that Bellevue President Mary Hawkins sent to him on Sept. 20, 2013 that stated: “Dear Mr. Evans. After reviewing the facts and the circumstances leading to the 2009-10 forfeiture of the Men’s Baseball season, Bellevue University has concluded that you properly directed university staff to obtain a Release from a transferring student’s university.

“However, the staff failed to obtain the Release which ultimately resulted in the University to self-report to the NAIA. The University wishes you the best with your future coaching endeavors and thanks you for your past service for over 20 years.”

Evans said in a release that he was thrilled with the financial settlement outcome from Bellevue.

“What I am not thrilled with is the fact that we lost our season,” said Evans.

“It still haunts me every day that our season was taken away from my players who gave their blood, sweat and tears for each other and their dreams of becoming the next national champion for Bellevue University.”

To read more about Coach Mike Evans’ 3-year battle to clear his name, purchase the February 21, 2014 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Craig Keilitz Named New ABCA Director

Craig Keilitz Named New ABCA Director

Craig Keilitz 2013 ABCAMT. PLEASANT, Mich. — Craig Keilitz has been named the new Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association after a lengthy national search.

Currently the Vice President for Athletics at High Point University, he will be the fifth full-time executive director for the ABCA, an organization now in its 70th year of existence.

Dave Keilitz, Craig’s Hall of Fame father, announced that he will step down as Executive Director of the ABCA in June. He has served with distinction in that capacity for the last 20 years.

Craig will take over on July 1.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with our selection,” said Mark Johnson, chairman of the ABCA Selection Committee.

“We had some outstanding people apply for the job, and the committee feels that Craig is the perfect person to lead us. We started the process last June at the College World Series in Omaha.

“Applications for the job were open for 90 days, and our committee had a tough decision to make. Craig brings some impressive qualities to the job.”

Craig said he is thrilled to be the new executive director of the ABCA.

 “I am honored and humbled to be chosen by the selection committee,” said Keilitz. “I am going into a great situation with a great staff. I can’t wait to get started July 1.”

Ron Wellman, athletics’ director at Wake Forest, and Keilitz’s boss for a number of years, felt the ABCA hit a home run with their selection.

“Craig is an exceptional person and a rising star in college administration,” said Wellman.

“He is so upbeat and positive about everything and has a tremendous work ethic. Craig’s connections in amateur baseball and professional baseball are impressive. He will be an outstanding leader for the ABCA.

“When he was at Wake Forest, he was instrumental in every success we had. He was a leader who was respected and trusted by all of our staff members.”

Dave Keilitz, the ABCA’s outgoing executive director, said: “Craig has all the skills and experiences to take over the ABCA Executive Director position. We will continue to have a great organization to the highest degree without missing a beat.”

Under Craig’s guidance, High Point has upgraded facilities, added two sports, upgraded staff positions in all areas and increased resources to be competitive with the top schools in the Big South. 

Under Keilitz’ leadership, High Point Athletics has undergone a complete evaluation of all aspects of the department and its various programs with goals of operational efficiency, extraordinary service and championship performance.

In the past five years, High Point has won nine conference championships in the regular season or tournament. The Panthers finished third in the Big South Sasser Cup all-sports standings each year under Keilitz’s watch. Prior to that, HPU had never finished higher than fourth.

An energetic and enthusiastic leader, Keilitz’s first major project was a $2 million renovation of the interior of the Millis Athletic Center. The project included a new playing floor, all new chair-back seats throughout the arena, a fourth video board, a new center-hung scoreboard and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.

Upgrades have continued with a new volleyball locker room in 2009, a new men’s and women’s basketball office suite in 2010 and new men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms in 2012.

Craig’s fundraising skills are the envy of many in collegiate athletics. He increased Panther Club income from $180,000 in 2007-08 to $1.9 million in 2012-13.

Facility improvements funded through the Panther Club include:

  • $10 million Athletic Performance Center currently under construction.
  • Improvements to Williard Baseball Stadium, including new outdoor batting cages and bullpen, new multimedia video board with sound system, video webstreaming with three cameras for every game.

When he was at Wake Forest from 1996-2008, he had direct supervision of marketing and promotions, media relations, ticketing, operations and event management and facilities. He ultimately became Associate Athletics Director.

Craig was a member of the executive team that managed the $48 million Deacon Tower football facility construction project that included a new press box, luxury suites, club seating and a restaurant.

Wake Forest set football attendance records five times in seven seasons of oversight by him.

Keilitz has been active at the conference and national levels. He was named to the NCAA Div. I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet in 2012 and is on six different Big South committees, including chair of the men’s soccer committee.

Keilitz started his career in college athletics at the University of Michigan in 1993 and was promoted to Director of Compliance in 1995.

A native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Keilitz earned his bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in marketing from Central Michigan University in 1991.

He was a member of the Chippewas’ baseball team as an outfielder. Keilitz received his master’s in sports administration from Ohio University in 1992.

He resides in High Point, N.C. with his wife Jane, who works as a physician’s assistant at Johnson Neurological Clinic.

2014 High School Pre-Season All-Americans

2014 High School Pre-Season All-Americans

Louisville Slugger 2014 BannerMichael Rivera Venice HSTUCSON, Ariz. — An all-star lineup of high school players headline the 2014 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season High School All-America baseball team

The players on this list represent not only amazing athletic ability and talent in their respective positions, but they also are among the most sought after players by pro scouts and college recruiters.

The majority of the players have committed to a college and most have received national recognition already. Many were players of the year in their league, region or state and have racked up a number of awards.

For the 18th straight year, Louisville Slugger is sponsoring the High School All-America team. The staff of Collegiate Baseball newspaper selects the team.

First Team
Pitchers
Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, TX
Luis Ortiz, RHP, Sanger HS, CA
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, Jacksonville, FL
Paxton Stover, LHP, Dyer County HS, Newbern, TN
Cobi Johnson, RHP, Mitchell HS, Trinity, FL
Justus Sheffield, LHP, Tullahoma HS, TN
Marvin Gorgas, RHP, East Hampton HS, CT
Jeb Bargfeldt, LHP, Owasso HS, OK
Turner Larkins, RHP, Arlington Martin HS, TX
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Christian, Coral Springs, FL
Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, SC
Jonah Patten, RHP, Norwell HS, Ossian, IN
Dylan Cease, RHP, Milton HS, GA
Tyler Frost, RHP, Greenway HS, Phoenix, AZ
Grant Hockin, RHP, Damien HS, LaVerne, CA
Matthew Ruppenthal, RHP, Brother Rice HS, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy, Orlando, FL
Kevin Steen, RHP, Oak Ridge HS, TN
Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego, CA
Brad Bass, RHP, Lincoln-Way Central HS, New Lenox, IL
Trysten Barlow, LHP, Dyer County HS, Newbern, TN
Gentry Fortuno, RHP, Flanagan HS, Pembroke Pines, FL
Spencer Vogelbach, RHP, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA
Carson Sands, LHP, North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, FL
Brendan McKay, LHP, Blackhawk HS, Beaver Falls, PA
Alexander Faedo, RHP, Alonso HS, Tampa, FL
Mac Marshall, LHP, Parkview HS, Lilburn, GA
Micah Miniard, RHP, Boyle County HS, Danville, KY
Braden Webb, RHP, Owasso HS, OK
Cole Sands, RHP, North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, FL
Keven Pimentel, RHP, Montverde Academy, Montverde, FL
Garett King, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS, Orange, CA
Brandon Murray, RHP, Hobart HS, IN
Ryan Falls, LHP, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin HS, Chardon, OH
Joe DeMers, RHP, College Park HS, Pleasant Hills, CA

Catchers
Alex Jackson, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, CA
Chase Vallot, St. Thomas More HS, Lafayette, LA
Mike Rivera, Venice HS, FL
Colton Shaver, Jordan HS, Sandy, UT
Michael Blasko, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, NV
Cody Henry, Pensacola Catholic HS, FL
Jakson Reetz, Norris HS, Firth, NE
Benito Santiago, Coral Springs Christian Academy, Coral Springs, FL

Infielders
Shane Benes, SS, Westminster Christian, St. Louis, MO
Trace Loehr, SS, Rex Putnam HS, Milwaukie, OR
Chandler Avant, SS, Pike Liberal Arts HS, Troy, AL
Madison Stokes, SS, AC Flora HS, Columbia, SC
Brody Westmoreland, SS/3B, ThunderRidge HS, Highlands Ranch, CO
Evan Hanifee, 3B, Turner Ashby HS, Bridgewater, VA
Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, Orlando, FL
Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, CA
Calyn Gremier, SS, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, NV
Dale Burdick, SS, Summit HS, Spring Hill, TN
Evans Bozeman, 1B, Pensacola Catholic HS, Pensacola, FL
Gregory Deichmann, SS/3B, Brother Martin HS, New Orleans, LA
Cole Tucker, SS/2B, Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix, AZ
Trevor Ezell, SS, Bryant HS, AR
Ti’Quan Forbes, SS, Columbia HS, MS
Nick Madrigal, SS, Elk Grove HS, CA
Braxton Davidson, 1B, TC Roberson HS, Asheville, NC
Gavin LaValley, 3B/1B, Carl Albert HS, Midwest City, OK
Drew Ward, SS, Leedey HS, OK

Outfielders
Donald (DJ) Peters, Glendora HS, CA
Lane Thomas, Beardin HS, Knoxville, TN
Jon Littell, Stillwater HS, OK
Carl Chester, Lake Brantley HS, FL
Cole Krzmarzick, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, NV
Derek Hill, Elk Grove HS, CA
Clay Casey, DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, MS
Jeren Kendall, Holmen HS, WI
Stone Garrett, George Ranch HS, Richmond, TX
Scott Hurst, Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, CA
Eli Dilday, Francis Howell HS, St. Charles, MO
Beau Jordan, Barbe HS, Lake Charles, LA

Multi-Position Athletes
Michael Gettys, OF/RHP, Gainesville HS, GA
Jack Flaherty, RHP/INF, Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, CA
Alex Verdugo, LHP/CF, Sahuaro HS, Tucson, AZ
Jesse McCord, RHP/3B, Spanish Fort HS, AL
Keaton McKinney, RHP/1B, Centennial HS, Ankeny, IA
Adam Haseley, LHP/CF, The First Academy, Orlando, FL
Chris Andritsos, RHP/1B, The Woodlands HS, TX
Dazon Cole, SS/RHP, West Bloomfield HS, Pontiac, MI
Ryan Castellani, RHP/OF, Brophy College Prep, Phoenix, AZ
Grant Reuss, LHP/1B, Cranbrook HS, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Reese Cooley, CF/RHP, Fleming Island HS, FL
Sean Deely, RHP/1B, Archmere Academy, Claymont, DE
Brendan Illies, RHP/C, Puyallup HS, WA
Scott Schreiber, SS/RHP, Kimberly HS, WI
Alex Destino, LHP/OF, North Buncombe HS, Weaverville, NC
Kyle Pate, LHP/OF, Fayetteville HS, AR
Zack Henderson, OF/RHP, Greendale HS, WI
Sam Hentges, LHP/1B, Mounds View HS, Arden Hills, MN

Honorable Mention
Pitchers
Corey Childress, RHP, Fairhope HS, AL
Austin Riley, RHP, DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, MS
Andy Pagnozzi, RHP, Fayetteville HS, AR
Patrick Raby, RHP, Farragut HS, Knoxville, TN
Bradley Schaenzer, LHP, Lake Orion HS, MI
Matt Desomer, RHP, Andrean HS, Merrillville, IN
Jacob Nix, RHP, Los Alamitos HS, CA
John Murphy, P, Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, NJ
Anderson Deleon, RHP, John Adams HS, Queens, NY
Clark Cota, RHP, Topsail HS, Hampstead, NC
Tyler Stevens, RHP, Rocky Mountain HS, Fort Collins, CO
Tony Romanelli, LHP, Beacon HS, NY
Byron Hood, RHP, Norris HS, Firth, NE
Zach Logue, LHP, Archbishop Moeller HS, Cincinnati, OH
Gus Raglund, RHP, Archbishop Moeller HS, Cincinnati, OH
Zach Engelken, P, Blue Valley West HS, Overland Park, KS
Calder Mikell, RHP, Petal HS, MS
Maverik Buffo, RHP, Spanish Fork HS, UT
Tyler Mondile, RHP, Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, NJ
Hunter Van Horn, LHP, Jesuit HS, Tampa, FL

Catchers
Hunter Morris, Paris HS, IL
Ryan McCullers, Jesuit HS, Tampa, FL
Justin Morris, DeMatha Catholic HS, Hyattsville, MD
Vincent Taormina, Silverado HS, Las Vegas, NV
Brewer Hicklen, Huntsville HS, AL
Bryce Carter, Cascia Hall HS, Tulsa, OK
Nic Perkins, Francis Howell HS, St. Charles, MO

Infielders
Carl Stajduhar, 3B, Rocky Mountain HS, Fort Collins, CO
Nick Dunn, SS, Shikellamy HS, Sunbury, PA
Payton Squier, 2B/SS, Greenway HS, Phoenix, AZ
Jeremy Peterson, 3B/1B, Reno HS, NV
Nick Roark, SS, Broken Arrow HS, OK
Mason O’Brien, 1B, Owasso HS, OK
Kory Young, SS/3B, Rockford HS, MI
Quinn Rawson, 1B, Puyallup HS, WA
Chris Davis Jr., 2B, Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA
Riley Mahan, SS, Archbishop Moeller HS, Cincinnati, OH
Phil Dickinson, SS, Gloucester Catholic HS, Gloucester City, NJ
Joe Wainhouse, 1B, Kentridge HS, Kent, WA
Brandon McCalla, 1B, Nova HS, Davie, FL
Bryson Brigman, SS, Valley Christian HS, San Jose, CA

Outfielders
Anthony Brocato, Rutgers Prep, Somerset, NJ
Matthew Railey, North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, FL
Nolan Hayward, Mount Saint Charles Academy, Woonsocket, RI
Brian Kiser, Eastwood HS, El Paso, TX
Gage Canning, Ramona HS, CA
Gerrio Rahming, The Rabun Gap School, Rabun Gap, GA

Multi-Position Athletes
Troy Garcia, LHP, Antonian College Prep, San Antonio, TX
Nick Gates, 1B/RHP, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, NV

For statistics and details about the 2014 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season H.S. All-America team, purchase the Jan. 24, 2014 edition of Collegiate Baseball newspaper by CLICKING HERE.

NCAA Div. I Pre-Season All-Americans

NCAA Div. I Pre-Season All-Americans

PrintTUCSON, Ariz. — The 2014 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-Americans were announced which feature a remarkable mix of talented NCAA Division I baseball players across the USA.

The teams, chosen by Collegiate Baseball, feature five starting pitchers with a combined 2.07 ERA. LHP Carlos Rodon of N.C. State struck out a nation-leading 184 batters last season and is the projected National Player of The Year in 2014. He also is projected to be the first player chosen in next June’s Free Agent Draft.

RHP Thomas Eshelman of Cal. St. Fullerton set an all-time NCAA Division I record with only 3 walks allowed over 115 2/3 innings. He also ranked first in the nation in strikeout to walk ratio (27.67) with 83 strikeouts.

UCLA Closer David BergUCLA closer David Berg set an NCAA Division I record last season with 24 saves. He also posted 7 wins and had a 0.92 ERA in 51 appearances. Mississippi State’s Jonathan Holder had 21 saves last season and a 1.65 ERA in 34 appearances with 90 strikeouts and 17 walks over 54 2/3 innings. Closer Nick Burdi of Louisville has a 101 mph fastball which allowed him to strike out 62 batters over 35 2/3 innings.

The first team offense features power, line drive hitters, speed and a number of talented defensive athletes. C Kyle Schwarber of Indiana led first teamers with 18 homers. OF D.J. Stewart of Florida St. had 25 doubles and 59 RBI. SS Trea Turner of N.C. State swiped 30 bases.

For complete stats of all 2014 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-Americans, CLICK HERE.

First Team
RHP Aaron Nola (Louisiana St.)

LHP Carlos Rodon (N.C. State)
RHP Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt)
RHP Thomas Eshelman (Cal. St. Fullerton)
RHP Justin Garza (Cal. St. Fullerton)
Relief David Berg (UCLA)
Relief Jonathan Holder (Mississippi St.)
Relief Nick Burdi (Louisville)
C Kyle Schwarber (Indiana)
1B Casey Gillaspie (Wichita St.)
2B Ross Kivett (Kansas St.)
3B Dustin DeMuth (Indiana)
SS Trea Turner (N.C. State)
OF Michael Conforto (Oregon St.)
OF Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco)
OF D.J. Stewart (Florida St.)
UT Clinton Freeman (East Tennessee St.)

Second Team
RHP Trent Thornton (North Carolina)

LHP Ryan Kellogg (Arizona St.)
LHP Harrison Musgrave (West Virginia)
RHP Andrew Moore (Oregon St.)
LHP Bryan Radziewski (Miami, Fla.)
RHP Andrew Morales (U.C. Irvine)
RHP Luke Weaver (Florida St.)
RHP  Zech Lemond (Rice)
LHP Matt Imhof (Cal Poly)
RHP Karson Whitson (Florida)
RHP Scott Baker (Ball St.)
LHP Ben Wetzler (Oregon St.)
Relief Ryan Thompson (Campbell)
Relief Ryan Burr (Arizona St.)
C Mark Zagunis (Virginia Tech.)
C Grayson Greiner (South Carolina)
1B Sam Travis (Indiana)
1B Connor Spencer (U.C. Irvine)
2B Conor Brown (James Madison)
3B Joey Pankake (South Carolina)
SS Alex Bregman (Louisiana St.)
OF Skye Bolt (North Carolina)
OF Dylan Davis (Oregon St.)
OF/1B Mike Papi (Virginia)
UT Drew Reynolds (East Carolina)

Third Team
RHP Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina)

RHP Brandon Finnegan (Texas Christian)
LHP Cole Irvin (Oregon)
LHP Garrett Cleavinger (Oregon)
RHP Daniel Gossett (Clemson)
LHP P.J. Conlon (San Diego)
RHP James Kaprielian (UCLA)
RHP Tommy Lawrence (Maine)
LHP Joey DeNato (Indiana)
RHP Dan Savas (Illinois St.)
RHP T.J. Renda (Alabama St.)
Relief Scott Schultz (Oregon St.)
Relief Trace Dempsey (Ohio St.)
Relief Jake Matthys (Kansas St.)
Relief Ross Mitchell (Mississippi St.)
Relief Matt Troupe (Arizona)
Relief Brian Miller (Vanderbilt)
Relief Travis Stout (Jacksonville St.)                                                    
C Brett Austin (N.C. State)

C Conor Joe (San Diego)
1B Cole Lankford (Texas A&M)
1B Zach Stephens (Tennessee Tech.)
1B Jacob Hoyle (Western Carolina)
2B Jason Blum (S.E. Missouri St.)
3B Alex Blandino (Stanford)
3B Taylor Sparks (U.C. Irvine)
3B Chesny Young (Mercer)
SS Aaron Attaway (Western Carolina)
SS Tyler Vaughn (Troy)
SS Luke Tendler (North Carolina A&T)
OF Brandon Downes (Virginia)
OF Derek Fisher (Virginia)
OF Matt Shortall (Texas-Arlington)
OF Michael Bishop (Jacksonville St.)
OF Caleb Adams (La.-Lafayette)
UT Josh Dezse (Ohio St.)
UT Ashton Perritt (Liberty)
UT A.J. Reed (Kentucky)

From USC Superstar To Secret Service

From USC Superstar To Secret Service

Bill Bordley Slider Photo Photo by Melanie BurfordBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From Jan. 3, 2014 Edition)

LOS ANGELES — Bill Bordley is one of those unique individuals who should have a motion picture made of his life.

He not only was of the greatest pitchers in college baseball history at the University of Southern California.

But he then became a Secret Service agent for the U.S. government as he protected Presidents and now serves as Major League Baseball’s Vice President of Security & Facility Management. He is responsible for directing all of the league’s security and facility management policies, procedures and programs.

Bordley’s story begins as a high profile prospect in high school with a rocket for an arm.

He started gaining national attention as a junior at Bishop Montgomery H.S. (Torrance, Calif.) in 1975 as he posted a 16-1 record with 14 complete games. He struck out 176 batters in 115 2/3 innings.

He was a can’t miss prospect who was coveted by professional baseball scouts because of a 95 mph fastball.

Within the Secret Service, he worked in conjunction with law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide on counterfeit situations that took him to 85 countries.

Bordley also worked on death threat cases and even interviewed Charles Manson who made threats from prison.

In some capacity, he worked for every president from Ronald Reagan to the current Barack Obama administration and was extremely close to the Clinton family as he was on Bill and Hillary Clinton’s detail. He also was assigned to Chelsea Clinton’s detail when she attended Stanford University.

He once testified as a witness for prosecutor Kenneth Starr on the relationship President Clinton had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

According to The Starr Report, which was submitted to Congress and later published as a book, Bordley said he stopped Lewinsky outside the Oval office in late 1995 or early 1996 because she did not have her pass.

President Clinton opened the Oval office door, indicated to Agent Bordley that Lewinsky’s presence was all right, and ushered her into the office. Bordley saw Lewinsky leave about a half an hour later. That was the extent of his testimony on their relationship. But the sexual affair nearly destroyed the Clinton presidency.

To read more about the amazing life of Bill Bordley, purchase the Jan. 3, 2014 College Preview edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

2014 Top Draftable College Baseball Players

2014 Top Draftable College Baseball Players

Jeff Hoffman East Carolina ActionBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From Jan. 3, 2014 Edition)

TUCSON, Ariz. — The following is a list of college players who have an excellent chance of being drafted in the first two rounds of next June’s Free Agent Draft with a good season.

The list was made after consulting with college baseball coaches across the nation along with scouts.

LHP Carlos Rodon
N.C.
State
The heavy favorite to be the No. 1 pick overall in the 2014 draft, Rodon has put together a remarkable career at N.C. State.

This chiseled 6-foot, 234-pound southpaw pitcher has carved up opposing hitters for two seasons with the Wolfpack after being chosen in the 16th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of Holly Springs H.S. (Holly Springs, N.C.).

The development of Rodon as been something to behold after N.C. State pitching coach Tom Holliday began working with him.

As a freshman at N.C. State, he punched out 135 (third in the nation) as he posted a 9-0 record in 2012 to become the first freshmen in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn conference Pitcher of The Year honors.

Last season, he struck out 184 batters and averaged 12.51 strikeouts per game to rank No. 1 in both categories.

SS Trea Turner
N.C.
State
Turner is an electric player with plus speed as demonstrated by his 6.25 speed in the 60.

Overall, he is the N.C. State’s best hitter and a fabulous defensive player as well. Turner is expected to be one of the first three picks in the entire 2014 draft because of his amazing skills.

Last season for N.C. State, he hit .368 with 7 homers, 13 doubles and 42 RBI.

He also swiped 30 of 36 bases.

RHP Jeff Hoffman
East Carolina
Hoffman had a tremendous summer as the top prospect last summer in the Cape Cod League and is expected to be a high draft pick next June.

His fastball ranges from 93-98 mph and has a power curve and slider with a good changeup.

Last season for East Carolina, he was 6-7 with a 3.20 ERA and struck out 84 batters with 39 walks over 109 2/3 innings.

RHP Aaron Nola
Louisiana St
ate
Nola earned first team All-American honors and the Pitcher of The Year award in the SEC last season.

He posted a 12-1 record, 1.57 ERA and struck out 122 batters with only 18 walks over 126 innings.

Nola is a big time righthander who is expected to go high in the draft.

RHP Tyler Beede
Vanderbilt
Beede had a superb season one year ago for the Commodores as he posted a 14-1 record, 2.32 ERA and fanned 103 batters with 63 walks over 101 innings.

He was a first round pick during the 2011 draft.

OF Bradley Zimmer
San Francisco
The Cape Cod League MVP, he had a superb season one year ago for the Dons as he hit .320 with 7 homers, 12 doubles and 37 RBI.

He also swiped 19 bases.

Zimmer is expected to be a high first round pick.

C Kyle Schwarber
Indiana
The 6-foot, 235-pound Schwarber put up incredible offensive numbers last season for the Hoosiers.

He hit .366 with 18 homers, 10 doubles and knocked in 54 runs.

OF Derek Fisher
Virginia
Fisher is a superb athlete who has improved his plate approach and has greatly improved his defensive skills.

He has excellent power and speed.

Last season, Fisher hit .293 with 7 homers, 12 doubles and knocked in 48 runs.

RHP Nick Burdi
Louisville
Burdi flashes a 98-101 mph fastball for the Cardinals.

Last season, he posted 16 saves with a 0.76 ERA and fanned 62 batters in 29 appearances with only 13 walks.

OF Michael Conforto
Oregon St
.
An incredible defensive outfielder, the reigning Pac-12 Player of The Year not only threw out two runners at home on fly balls to the outfield during the 2013 College World Series.

But he made a diving catch on another occasion and then made the defensive play of the 2013 CWS as a deep fly ball was hit to left field by Mississippi State’s Wes Rea.

On a full sprint, he reached out with his glove and barely caught the ball inches from the outfield wall and then crashed into it.

Offensively, he hit 11 homes, 14 doubles and knocked in 47 runs.

Collegiate Baseball has a rundown on 50 more top college baseball players who are expected to be high draft picks in next June’s Free Agent Draft. Read about all of them in the Jan. 3, 2014 College Preview edition of Collegiate Baseball which is now on sale. To obtain a copy, CLICK HERE.

The Amazing Story Of Carlos Rodon

The Amazing Story Of Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon 4C NC State action 2013 CWSBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From Jan. 3, 2014 Edition)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sometimes the process of becoming a superstar is as intriguing as the remarkable numbers that are turned out by these athletes.

Example A is Carlos Rodon of N.C. State who is the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 pick overall in the 2014 Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft next June.

This chiseled 6-foot, 234-pound southpaw pitcher has carved up opposing hitters for two seasons with the Wolfpack after being chosen in the 16th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of Holly Springs H.S. (Holly Springs, N.C.).

The development of this young man, who has hit 101 mph with his fastball, has been something to behold after N.C. State pitching coach Tom Holliday began working with him.

As a freshman at N.C. State, he punched out 135 (third in the nation) as he posted a 9-0 record in 2012 to become the first freshmen in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn conference Pitcher of The Year honors.

Last season, he struck out 184 batters and averaged 12.51 strikeouts per game to rank No. 1 in both categories.

When Rodon arrived at N.C. State in the fall of 2012, he was hardly the finished product he is now.

“When Carlos came here, he simply didn’t throw enough strikes,” said Holliday.

“He wanted to throw 190 mph with his fastball, and he didn’t understand the vital importance of command. We made several mechanical adjustments as we shortened his stride and made his mechanics more compact. All of a sudden, the light went on. He learned that he didn’t have to reach all the way back and strike out everybody.”

Holliday said that Rodon was asked to pick his 4-seam fastball or 2-seamer to simplify the strike throwing process as a freshman. He picked the 4-seamer as he became a strike throwing machine.

The rest of the in-depth story on the development of Carlos Rodon can be obtained by purchasing the Jan. 3, 2014 College Preview Edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Torture Chamber Of Jobs Were Tough

Torture Chamber Of Jobs Were Tough

Steve Naemark MugBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
(From Jan. 3, 2014 edition)

DOUGLAS, Ariz. — Life can be brutally unfair. Just ask Steve Naemark, sophomore lefthanded pitcher for Cochise College in Arizona.

The reigning Most Outstanding Pitcher at the JUCO World Series last spring who posted a nation-leading 11 wins for the Apaches, is the poster child for never giving up on a dream.

Naemark was a superb pitcher at Mountain View High School in Tucson, AZ and pitched for the Chicago White Sox scout team under Coach Bryan Huie.

He was ultimately offered several college scholarships and accepted one from Central Arizona Junior College. That’s where his torturous journey began.

“I graduated from Mountain View H.S. in 2008, and in July of that year, I was ready to go to Central Arizona after I was awarded a scholarship,” said the 23-year-old Naemark.

“I even put a housing deposit down with the school and told other schools thanks for their offers, but I had committed to Central Arizona.

“Then I got a call from one of their coaches about a month before attending school. He informed me that I would in all likelihood be a bench guy, and they didn’t see me fitting into their plans. He encouraged me to reconsider other offers from other colleges at that point. Naturally, I was shocked at receiving this call so late in the process since I had not thrown even one pitch during the fall or attended one class.”

Naemark’s life was thrown into turmoil after this bombshell was dropped on him.

“My parents then encouraged me to walk on at Pima Community College (in Tucson). But I frankly didn’t like the idea of walking on when I felt I had earned a scholarship to play baseball in college. I briefly attended Pima in the fall of 2008, but failed three classes because I wasn’t motivated and dropped out.

“I signed up for the men’s league in Tucson that fall but stopped playing after two games because I didn’t have the drive to play any more and was totally depressed about life.

“From that point, I went into a stagnant stage in my life. My parents supported me, but they never allowed me to sit around. So I began working at a series of dead-end jobs which helped bring in money for the family.

“First, I worked at Taco Bell for two years. Then I worked at a call center called AFNI for a year. I fielded calls for nine hours a day with a ½ hour lunch allowed. It was horrible because you worked on billing issues with people.

“Then I worked at Eegees (a Tucson fast food establishment) for six months and then worked at McDonalds for another 7-8 months. At McDonalds, I did everything there except bookkeeping as I flipped burgers and made fries to cleaning up messes on tables. The worst job I had there was cleaning the tubes in the playground for kids who slid through. Being 6-foot-2, it was hard on the knees.

“But McDonalds was a steady job as I worked the 4 a.m.-1 p.m. shift, and it was close to home.”

In the four years since graduating from Mountain View High School, he didn’t even pick up a baseball because of the bitter taste he had for the game he once loved.

To read more about how Steve Naemark overcame four years of torture from dead end jobs to become an elite junior college pitcher, purchase the Jan. 3, 2014 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.

Temple Administrators Vote To Ax Baseball

Temple Administrators Vote To Ax Baseball

Temple LogoPHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a surprise move, Temple University’s Board of Trustees voted in early December to eliminate seven intercollegiate sports, including the school’s history-rich baseball program, effective July 1, 2014.

Athletic Director Kevin Clark made the recommendation to the board and the move has caused some anger among both students and alumni of the baseball program.

“It was just unbelievable,” Matt Hockenberry, a senior pitcher and team captain, told www.phillynews.com

“In my entire tenure here, I would have never thought that a program like this, with the history it has had, would ever have something like this happen to it.”

School officials cited the need to boost funding for the remaining sports and become more competitive in the new athletic conference it joined this summer.

Many sports facilities need to be upgraded and Title IX considerations also were other reasons given for the move.

The cuts will save more than $3 million of the athletic department’s $44 million budget.

Temple’s baseball program began in 1907 and became a varsity sport in 1927.

The program has sent 15 players to major league baseball, including the late catcher John Marzano, infielder Jeff Manto, pitcher and once time Phillies pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, and outfielder Bobby Higginson, who hit 187 homers in 11 seasons with the Detroit Tigers.

The Owls are currently coach by Ryan Wheeler and were looking forward to building a brighter future. Temple moved to the American Athletic Conference and the baseball team is scheduled to play its season at Campbell’s Field in Camden, home of the Camden Riversharks.

The team finished 18-28 last season, but had some impressive wins, such as a 7-3 victory over Virginia Tech, and was hoping to improve further this season.

The cuts will affect 150 student-athletes (non-seniors) and 9 full time coaching positions. Players will be given an opportunity to transfer.