Gregg McNelis, New York Nine Co-Founder, Passes Away at 62

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Yesterday the world lost an amazing person, family man and humanitarian, Gregg Lawton McNelis. He cared deeply about people and did all he could to help as many people as possible improve their personal situations. Along with his wife Susanne, McNelis sat on the board of the Children’s Dream Foundation as well as had personal involvement in many, many other charitable endeavors.

Growing up outside Newark, McNelis came from very humble beginnings. A fierce competitor who almost lost his arm in a machine related accident during his youth, Gregg led his Colonia high school varsity basketball team to a near New Jersey class 4-A title.  Continuing his academic and athletic pursuits at Moravian College, where he was named team captain, he led the Moravian basketball team to a league title in the 1976-1977 season. McNelis and his teammates were honored just two days ago on October 8 at Moravian for the 40th anniversary of their improbable league championship, where his team is enshrined in their athletic Hall of Fame. Always humble and personable on the exterior he used this internal tenacity, relentlessness and tireless work ethic to ultimately elevate himself to the CEO position at TBS International.

Along with Susanne, the McNelis family quietly paved the way for the New York Nine to come into existence for the summer 2006 season. His son Brandon tore his labrum in a training accident. For months he embarked on a lengthy and grueling rehab process under the watchful eye of Scout Team Manager, Ian Millman, which led to a collegiate scholarship opportunity at Northeastern University and ultimately a draft selection by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

After this process, the McNelis family took the opportunity to repeatedly provide the resources needed to allow many lower income and disadvantaged student athletes have the same opportunities as Brandon. Gregg, Susanne McNelis and family have had a direct hand in dozens of young men using the game of baseball to improve themselves and as an admission tool to college and become quality fathers, brothers, co-workers and productive members of society. Gregg and Susanne always insisted it was about the young men and not about recognizing their own philanthropy. Even in leaner times the McNelis family made sure those in need were able to receive assistance. Every single current and former member of the New York Nine extend condolences to the entire McNelis family and are eternally grateful for your encouragement and support.

Gregg is survived by his wife Susanne, children Gregg Jr, Diana and Brandon and grandson Gregg III as well as many immediate and extended family members. The New York Nine will play the 2018 season in honor of their silent co-founder Gregg L. McNelis.

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2017 New York Nine Records

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The 2017 New York Nine Scout Team saw some prodigious performances. The team was led by the 3 big bats in the middle of the order. The first is current Philadelphia Phillie, Carlos De La Cruz, (who hit .444/.496/.778) who was on the leaderboard for basically everything except stolen bases (and he stole 10 anyway). Next is New York Mets 38th round draft pick Danny Alfonzo (.344/.484/.581) who got hit by a Nine record 12 pitches this summer and has the bruises to show for it. Last but not least is current Western Oklahoma 1B, Danny Perez (.379/.511/.544). Perez once again showed his elite control of the strike zone, walking 26 times, after walking 38 times in 2016. While De La Cruz was pretty much the same guy all season, Alfonzo and Perez really came on strong once it was tournament season. Danny Alfonzo hit .368/.507/.702 and Danny Perez hit .439/.554/.684. Once Nick Vella was moved to the leadoff spot, he joined the 3 headed monster and hit .362/.456/.586. All season, all Angel Presinal did was hit and when the season ended, he looked up and was leading the team in hits, runs and stolen bases.

The team wasn’t led by a singular pitching performance this season, but rather a group that together always performed well and always gave the Nine a shot to win. Dimitri Papazoglou dominated tournaments this summer striking out 22 in 13.1 innings pitched and only allowing 1 unearned run. Austin Cole used his 6-7 frame to generate 43 strikeouts on the season, which will always give you a chance to win games. Anthony Costa just pounded the zone all summer and generated well above average ground balls and strikeouts to make the ERA leaderboard. Chris Pichardo was his normal self, always throwing well, winning baseball games (14 in 2 seasons) and setting the record for Wins in a single season.

HITTING RECORDS (minimum 50 PAs)

    Batting Average

  1. TJ Rivera (2007) – .508
  2. Garrett Longhurst (2013) – .453
  3. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – .444
  4. Jean Carlos Rodriguez (2007) – .436
  5. Joe Lombardi (2008) – .435
  6. Jose Espinosa (2008) – .423
  7. Eduardo Castro (2013) – .427
  8. Brendan Brooks (2016) – .417
  9. Andy DeJesus (2013) – .413
  10. Fernando Frias (2008) – .400
    On Base Percentage

  1. Fernando Frias (2008) – .720
  2. Gaby Molina (2008) – .706
  3. Joe Lombardi (2008) – .637
  4. Jorge Ynoa (2008) – .637
  5. Garrett Longhurst (2013) – .602
  6. TJ Rivera (2007) – .589
  7. Danny Perez (2016) – .547
  8. Trevor Johnson (2015) – .514
  9. Danny Perez (2017) – .511
  10. Brendan Brooks (2016) – .509
Slugging Percentage

  1. TJ Rivera (2007) – 1.033
  2. Fernando Frias (2007) – .792
  3. Joe Lombardi (2008) – .782
  4. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – .778
  5. Fernando Frias (2008) – .733
  6. Raymond Quinones (2008) – .690
  7. Danny Alfonzo (2015) – .650
  8. Jean Carlos Rodriguez (2007) – .619
  9. Danny Perez (2016) – .606
  10. Trevor Johnson (2016) – .600
Walks

  1. Gaby Molina (2008) – 43
  2. Danny Perez (2016) – 38
  3. Jorge Ynoa (2008) – 30
  4. Danny Perez (2017) – 26
  5. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 25
  6. Fernando Frias (2008) – 24
  7. Nick Vella (2017) – 23
  8. EJ Smith (2006) – 22
  9. Esterlin Perozo (2006) – 21
Hits

  1. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 54
  2. Raymond Quinones (2007) – 52
  3. Jorge Ynoa (2008) – 49
  4. Raymond Quinones (2008) – 48
  5. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – 48
  6. Angel Presinal (2017) – 48
  7. TJ Rivera (2006) – 45
  8. Eduardo Castro (2013) – 44
  9. David Perleshi (2008) – 44
  10. Fernando Frias (2007) – 40
  11. Gaby Molina (2007) – 40
Home Runs

  1. Fernando Frias (2007) – 11
  2. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 7
  3. Raymond Quinones (2008) – 7
  4. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – 7
  5. TJ Rivera (2007) – 7
  6. Danny Perez (2016) – 6
  7. Eduardo Castro (2013) – 5
Doubles

  1. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 16
  2. Eduardo Castro (2013) – 12
  3. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – 11
  4. Danny Alfonzo (2017) – 10
  5. TJ Rivera (2006) – 9
  6. TJ Rivera (2007) – 9
  7. Jean Carlos Rodriguez (2007) – 9
  8. Danny Perez (2017) – 9
  9. Matt Caposio (2012) – 8
  10. Trevor Johnson (2016) – 8
  11. Edward Madera (2016) – 8
  12. Angel Presinal (2017) – 8
  13. Nick Vella (2017) – 8
Triples

  1. Matt Caposio (2012) – 5
  2. Nick DiSanza (2013) – 3
  3. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 3
  4. Ray Quinones (2008) – 3
  5. Kenneth Hart (2006) – 3
  6. TJ Rivera (2006) – 3
Stolen Bases

  1. Trevor Johnson (2016) – 22
  2. Jose Espinoza (2008) – 19
  3. Raymond Quinones (2007) – 18
  4. Garrett Longhurst (2013) – 16
  5. Nick DiSanza (2013) – 15
  6. Willie Hernandez (2007) – 15
  7. Juan Miguel Torres (2015) – 14
  8. Angel Presinal (2017) – 14
Runs

  1. Raymond Quinones (2008) – 45
  2. Raymond Quinones (2007) – 41
  3. Jorge Ynoa (2008) – 39
  4. Gaby Molina (2008) – 36
  5. Angel Presinal (2017) – 34
  6. Fernando Frias (2007) – 33
  7. Garrett Longhurst (2013) – 32
  8. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – 32
  9. Nick DiSanza (2012) – 31
  10. Fernando Frias (2008) – 31
  11. EJ Smith (2006) – 31
  12. Danny Alfonzo (2017) – 31
HBP

  1. Danny Alfonzo (2017) – 12
  2. Ricardo Espinosa (2006) – 10
  3. Manny Felix (2012) – 9
  4. Ryan Smith (2013) – 9
  5. Connor Redahan (2015) – 8
  6. Trevor Johnson (2015) – 7
  7. Nick Vella (2016) – 6
  8. Fernando Frias (2007) – 4
  9. EJ Smith (2006) – 4
  10. Chris Campbell (2015) – 4
Runs Batted In

  1. Joe Lombardi (2008) – 54
  2. Eduardo Castro (2013) – 51
  3. Carlos De La Cruz (2017) – 49
  4. Fernando Frias (2007) – 42
  5. Gaby Molina (2007) – 36
  6. TJ Rivera (2007) – 31
  7. Danny Perez (2016) – 30
  8. Danny Perez (2017) – 29
  9. EJ Smith (2006) – 25
  10. Raymond Quinones (2006) – 24

PITCHING RECORDS (minimum 25 IP)

ERA

  1. Rosario DiLorenzo (2013) – 1.12
  2. Mike DiLorenzo (2008) – 1.20
  3. Josh Azon (2015) – 1.35
  4. Gregory Boyle (2013) – 1.40
  5. Will O’Brien (2015) – 1.66
  6. Chris Pichardo (2016) – 1.72
  7. Anthony Costa (2017) – 1.82
  8. Michael Tarpey (2013) – 1.94
  9. Kenneth Ferrer (2007) – 1.95
  10. Ricardo Espinosa (2006) – 2.00
Strikeouts

  1. Frank Cebek (2007) – 56
  2. Josh Herzenberg (2008) – 44
  3. Kenneth Ferrer (2007) – 44
  4. Austin Cole (2017) – 43
  5. Mike DiLorenzo (2008) – 42
  6. Chris Pichardo (2016) – 42
  7. Dimitri Papazoglou (2017) – 41
  8. Andrew Zigmont (2012) – 37
  9. Gregory Boyle (2013) – 35
  10. Ricardo Espinosa (2006) – 34
Innings Pitched

  1. Josh Herzenberg (2008) – 59.2
  2. Alexander Mason (2006) – 50.0
  3. Frank Cebek (2007) – 47.1
  4. Chris Pichardo (2016) – 40.2
  5. Mike DiLorenzo (2008) – 40.1
  6. Gregory Boyle (2013) – 40.0
  7. Andrew Zigmont (2012) – 38.1
  8. Rosario DiLorenzo (2013) – 37.2
Wins

  1. Chris Pichardo (2017) – 8
  2. Gregory Boyle (2013) – 7
  3. Josh Herzenberg (2008) – 7
  4. Frank Cebek (2007) – 6
  5. Mike DiLorenzo (2008) – 5
  6. Alexander Mason (2006) – 5
  7. Chris Pichardo (2016) – 5
  8. Michael Tarpey (2013) – 5
  9. Eric Vrissis (2012) – 5
  10. Eric Strauss (2008) – 4
  11. Anthony Costa (2017) – 4
  12. DJ Flug (2017) – 4
Complete Games

  1. Josh Herzenberg (2008) – 4
  2. Andrew Zigmont (2012) – 4
  3. Frank Cebek (2007) – 3
  4. Rosario DiLorenzo (2013) – 3
  5. Alexander Mason (2006) – 3
  6. Dawin Rivas (2007) – 3
Saves

  1. Erich Gonzalez (2013) – 4
  2. Erich Gonzalez (2012) – 3
  3. Eric Alessio (2006) – 2
  4. Dan McGrath (2008) – 2
  5. Amauris Santana (2012) – 2
  6. Frankie Giuliano (2015) – 2
  7. Marcus Mari (2015) – 2
  8. Michael Garcia (2016) – 2
  9. Trevor Johnson (2016) – 2
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2017 New York Nine Scout Team College Committments

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The following is a list of the 2017 Scout Team players and their college commitments. We know they will represent themselves, their families and the New York Nine in a professional manner.

Players listed alphabetically (Only those roster players committed):

Players Name Grad Year Commitment Affiliation
Alfonzo, Daniel 2017 Adelphi University Division 2 4-YR (NE10)
Arroyo, Jose 2017 Western Oklahoma Division 2 JUCO (Region 2)
Bueno, Jeremy 2017 Butler CC Division 1 JUCO (Region 6)
Cole, Austin 2017 Adelphi University Division 2 4-YR (NE10)
Costa, Anthony 2017 Queensborough CC Division 3 JUCO (Region 15)
Fernandez, Oliver 2017 University of Rio Grande NAIA (River States)
Garcia, Mike 2017 University of Rio Grande NAIA (River States)
Garcia, Brayan 2017 New Mexico JC Division 1 JUCO (Region 5)
Gomez, Bryant 2017 Sullivan County CC Division 2 JUCO (Region 15)
Medina, Mario 2017 Crowder College Division 1 JUCO (Region 16)
Melo, Braulio 2017 Clarendon College Division 1 JUCO (Region 5)
Novello, Mark 2017 Adelphi University Division 2 4-YR (NE10)
Papazoglou, Dimitri 2017 Queens College Division 2 4-YR (ECC)
Presinal, Angel 2017 Clarendon College Division 1 JUCO (Region 5)
Soriano, Francisco 2016 Western Oklahoma Division 2 JUCO (Region 2)

Scout Team OFer Carlos De La Cruz Signs With Philadelphia Phillies

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There was a really cool phenomenon on August 21, 2017 as the first full solar eclipse took place in the United States in almost 100 years. And speaking of natural phenomena, New York Nine Scout Team outfielder Carlos De La Cruz, who imprinted his name all over the Nine record books, signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

After drawing no interest by 30 big league teams, going undrafted in the June 2017 draft out of George Washington HS, the 6’8″ De La Cruz put together a summer campaign for the ages. Carlos tied for the team lead in hits with 48, led in RBI with 49, launched 7 home runs tying multiple alumni including New York Mets infielder TJ Rivera and finished with a .444 batting average.

“What happened with Carlos is very rare,” stated Ian Millman, Scout team manager. “To go from being on no radars and having no college option in the spring to being in a position to decide between a full athletic ride to a nationally prominent junior college in Texas or signing a professional contract is phenomenal. This is a credit to not just Carlos but his teammates who repeatedly put him in position to produce. We wish Carlos and his family well as he embarks on the next phase of his baseball journey.”

De La Cruz added, “The New York Nine meant a lot to me. I played hard every day for the organization and they did nothing but look out for my best interests. They helped me with college, then were a bigger help with getting a professional contract. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes, ‘nothing worth having comes easy.'”

We look forward to following Carlos as he develops at the professional level and we are confident he will represent his family and his New York Nine family professionally.

The New York Nine is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization who rely on donations from people like you. If you would like to make a donation, either one time or recurring, please click here

2017 New York Nine Scout Team Summer Season Recap

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The 2017 summer season saw the New York Nine Scout Team experience great success on and off the baseball diamond. On the field, the Nine defeated a who’s who list of area “powerhouse” programs en route to a 33 victory season with an outstanding .750 winning percentage (33-9-3 overall record).

The 2017 Nine Scout Team was a very special team. The passion the team played with, respect for the game and care that they had for each other and the coaches was incredible. All summer, opposing coaches and players, parents, tournament staff, scouts, college recruiters and spectators all commented on how the club carried themselves, cared about each other, played with passion, and was just more talented and athletic than almost everyone else. One ACC coach mentioned this was the closest thing to a GCL (Gulf Coast League) team he had seen in some time.

The team claimed three major tournament titles, winning the Blue Chips East Coast Championships, the Mid-Atlantic Showdown at Baseball Heaven and the Baseball Heaven Independence Championship. In their final three tournaments, the team amassed an incredible 17-0 record. Upon claiming the East Coast Challenge Championship they defeated the Body Armor Titans, for the Independence Championship they trumped the Bayside Yankees and in non-tournament action beat teams such as Next Level, Youth Service and NABF World Series participant SAYO Grays.

The most memorable moment of the summer belonged to a rising senior. During the Blue Chips East Coast Championships, the Nine were down to their final out trailing by two runs. Pinch hitter Jesse Spellman stepped to the plate and hit an improbable two out, two run home run that caromed off the left fielder’s glove trying to rob him, as he jumped over the fence. The home run tied the game, ultimately allowing the Nine to win in the ninth inning and advance to the semi-finals.

After the game, Scout Team manager Ian Millman stated, “I am both proud to have been a part of this special group and honored to be their coach. #TeamPanda will live forever. Vamos Panda!”

As a unit, the offense hit a robust .315/.423/.454 (batting average, on base percentage and slugging), good for an incredible 6.1 runs per game. In 1384 plate appearances, the Nine had 358 hits with 105 going for extra bases (74 doubles, 9 triples and 22 home runs). There were 197 offensive walks and 294 strikeouts in the 45 games.

Carlos De La Cruz led the team in batting average (.444), 2nd in OBP (.496) and 1st in slugging (.789). He also led the team in home runs (7), doubles (11) and RBI (49). He tied for the team lead in hits (48), finished 2nd on the team in runs (32) and tied for 2nd in stolen bases (10).

Danny Perez finished 2nd in batting average (.379), 1st in OBP (.511) and 3rd in slugging (.544). He also finished 1st in walks (26), 3rd in hits (39), 3rd in doubles (9) and 2nd in RBI (29).

Danny Alfonzo finished 3rd in OBP (.484), 2nd in slugging (.581), 2nd in home runs (4), 2nd in doubles (10) and 3rd in RBI (23). He also finished 3rd in runs with 31 and led the team and set a New York Nine record with 12 HBP.

Angel Presinal finished 3rd in batting average (.372), tied for first in hits (48) and led the team in stolen bases (14) and runs (34).

Nick Vella finished tied for 3rd in home runs (3, with Francisco Soriano), finished 2nd in walks (23) and tied for 3rd in stolen bases (10).

Elvis Torres and Oliver Fernandez tied for 3rd in walks (16).

On the bump, Nine hurlers threw 284 innings, struck out 324 and had a 2.44 team ERA. In those 284 innings, the Nine only allowed 206 hits. The Nine struck out 25.7% of batters faced, generated an impressive 11.9% swing and miss rate and had a 49.6% ground ball rate.

Chris Pichardo led the team in wins (8), set the organization’s record and tallied 14 victories in his previous two seasons.

Dimitri Papazoglou struck out 41 (good for 2nd) in 27.2 innings. Dimitri struck out 35.3% of batters faced and generated swings and misses on 18.7% of pitches. He controlled his contact, allowing only 3.29 hits per 7 while generating a 53.8% ground ball rate.

Austin Cole led the team in strikeouts (43) and only allowed 3.78 hits per 7.

Anthony Costa led the club with a 1.82 ERA to go along with 4 wins and 33 strikeouts (finishing 3rd)

Mark Novello struck out 30 in 23.2 IP

Mike Garcia struck out 17 in 11 IP and had a 1.27 ERA

DJ Flug struck out 21 in 20 innings with an excellent 64.2% ground ball rate to go along with 4 wins

Brayan Garcia struck out 26 in 17.1 IP while only walking 4 with a 1.62 ERA. He also had a 55.8% ground ball rate.

Bryant Gomez struck out 19 and had an ERA of .84 in 16.2 innings

The New York Nine is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization who rely on donations from people like you. If you would like to make a donation, either one time or recurring, please click here

New York Nine Win East Coast Championships at Baseball Heaven

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The New York Nine Scout Team ended the 2017 summer season in grand fashion winning the Blue Chips East Coast Championship at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, Long Island. In their final three Baseball Heaven tournaments, the Scout team went on an incredible 17 game winning streak, finishing those tournaments at 6-0,6-0 and 5-0 respectively.

The tournament opener saw the Nine face the Long Island Titans (who finished the tournament 3-1), beating them by a 6-2 score. In the first inning, Danny Alfonzo was hit by a pitch for the 11th time this summer, which is a new Nine record (the previous record held by Ricardo Espinosa, stood since 2006). With two on, Carlos De La Cruz took an 0-1 fastball and drove it out of the park. The very next batter, Oliver Fernandez, went back to back, hitting his first home run of the summer. With the score cut to 4-2, in the 6th inning, Danny Perez hit the longest home run of the summer, which scouts in attendance said would have landed in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. The very next batter, one Carlos De La Cruz hit his second home run of the game putting the Nine comfortably ahead 6-2, where the game finished. Austin Cole fanned four in his final start for the Nine, while Matt Demartini pitched a perfect 2 2/3, striking out four in the win.

In game two of pool play, the Nine faced a tough New York Grays team and their hard throwing righthander John Rodriguez. Daniel Alfonzo opened the scoring in the top of the first inning hitting a missile into the left centerfield trees plating Freddy Rojas for a quick 2-0 lead. The Grays quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first on a two out, two run single and took the lead in the second, 3-2. After an Alfonzo leadoff double and a Danny Perez walk, Carlos De La Cruz singled to center plating Alfonzo. Perez scored when JP Compres reached on an error. In the fourth inning, Shawn Harrison led off with a walk and forced at second on a Preston Milano groundout. Angel Presinal singled to push Milano to 2rd and Alfonzo singled on a fly ball to right to score Milano. Perez then hit a long double to center field to score Presinal and Alfonzo, giving the Nine three runs in the frame. The Grays cut the lead to 7-4 in the fourth and the Nine completed their scoring on a Jesse Spellman single, Harrison walk, Presinal RBI single, Rojas walk and an Alfonzo RBI groundout. Anthony “Ace” Costa was superb considering the lack of strike zone, tossing a CG and striking out 6.

Having already clinched their pool, the Nine played an early Sunday morning contest against the CGI Braves out of Long Island. DJ Flug got the start striking out four, allowing two hits and no runs. Eury DeJesus fanned two in his inning of work, and Mario Medina worked a perfect inning striking out a batter. The Nine once again jumped on the board early as Carlos De La Cruz, who you may have heard of by now, hit another three-run homer. In the second, Shawn Harrison, Elvis Torres, Nick Hernandez and Angel Presinal all walked to start the inning. Freddy Rojas scored Elvis Torres on an RBI and Danny Alfonzo‘s sac fly scored Hernandez. Carlos De La Cruz reached on an error, scoring Presinal, leaking the Nine out to a quick 7-0 lead. The bottom of the third saw more of the same as a Nick Hernandez walk plated Jesse Spellman and a Presinal ground ball single to center scored two. Danny Alfonzo added an RBI on yet another HBP. With this win the Nine moved into the quarter finals as the 4th seed.

On a drizzly, rainy day, the first game of the playoffs saw the Nine take on the fifth seeded Freedom Baseball out of Long Island. Starter Wellington Belen was solid, fanning five in five plus innings while giving up three hits. In the top of the sixth, after a walk and double chased Belen, Freddy Rojas got consecutive ground outs to Shawn Harrison, who did not convert either out at the plate and Freedom ended their inning up by two. Mike Garcia held the game where it was with a perfect seventh setting the stage for one of the greatest moments in Nine history. With one out Carlos De La Cruz singled on a line drive to left, followed by a Rojas flyout to left. With an 0-1 count, pinch hitter Jesse Spellman did this:

What is unclear in the video is the leaping attempt by the left fielder to rob him of a home run. This is similar to the final play of the 2016 season where Oakland Athletic draftee, Nate Webb put a bases loaded fastball over the centerfield wall in Charleston, South Carolina only to have it brought back. Fortunes would be different this time as Spellman’s shot caromed off of the glove of the left fielder falling over the fence for a home run, tying the game at 2. With score still knotted at two in the 9th inning, the bases were loaded with one out. Reliever Brayan Garcia punched out two consecutive hitters with fastballs in low 90s to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, with the bases loaded, Angel Presinal hit a fly ball over the left fielders head scoring pinch runner, Braulio Melo to push the Nine into the semifinals vs. the Body Armor Titans, the tournament’s number one seed who had not allowed a run all tournament.

That streak ended quickly as Francisco Soriano lasered a 3-1 fastball into the parking lot in right center giving the Nine a quick 1-0 lead. The Nine scored another run in the top of the second when Oliver Fernandez singled to right center, and when trying to throw out Jeremy Bueno, the center fielder threw the ball into the dugout, giving each player 2 bases. Starter Chris Pichardo battled the rain all game, allowing a run in the bottom of the second and another In the bottom of the third, when he escaped further danger by getting a shallow fly out to center, leaving the bases loaded. After a brief delay due to driving rain, the Nine came out swinging with a Danny Perez fly ball single followed by Elvis Torres running for Perez. Freddy Rojas lined a single to right and Jeremy Bueno‘s single to center plated Torres. Rojas scored on a Fernandez force out and Braulio Melo scored on a Shawn Harrison single, which was followed by a Leury Tejada single scoring Harrison. The Nine plated four runs in the frame giving them a 6-2 lead. In the bottom of the 5th, Body Armor cut the lead to 6-3 on a deep double to left. Chris Pichardo was incredible the rest of the way, with the hard fought complete game victory. The win was Pichardo’s 8th, a New York Nine record, and 14th victory in the past two seasons. This was also the Body Armor Titans second loss all summer. As the rains fell again the tournament was halted, and co-champions were declared. The Nine were the only five win club in the tournament and beat the number one seeded playoff club in the process. It was a fitting ending to a fantastic summer. The final record for the Scout team was an outstanding 33-9-3.

Tournament notes:

Angel Presinal led the team in batting average and OBP and had a line of .500/.588/.571
Carlos De La Cruz slugged 1.000 for the tournament with a team leading 3 home runs and 8 RBI
Shawn Harrison led the team in walks with 6 and had a .538 OBP
Danny Alfonzo set the Nine record for HBP in a season and got hit with 2 pitches this tournament. He hit .417/.500/.833 with a team leading 5 runs scored.
Oliver Fernandez slugged .889
Danny Perez hit .333/.500/.667 including the longest home run of the season, and his 3rd on the season
Anthony Costa led the team in strikeouts with 6 and had a 63.2% ground ball rate
Brayan Garcia struck out 75% of batters faced
Matt Demartini struck out 50% of batters faced
DJ Flug had a groundball rate of 71.4%
The Nine averaged 7 runs per game and hit .306/.437/.545 as a team
The Nine allowed an average of 2.2 runs per game and struck out 32 in 32.2 innings.

New York Nine Wins Mid-Atlantic Showdown

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The New York Nine Scout Team made a successful six game run in three short days to capture the Mid-Atlantic Showdown crown this past weekend at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, Long Island. This was the Scout Team’s second tournament crown of 2017.

The tournament opened with the Nine playing against a very solid, well coached Millburn (NJ) Millers club. The club was comprised of many players who helped Millburn HS claim the New Jersey 4A state title. Derrick Jimenez threw six innings allowing a single run in the victory while Carlos De La Cruz‘s grand slam broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth, a lead the Nine did not relinquish in the 8-2 victory.

Game two saw the Nine get off to quick start on an Angel Presinal walk, a Danny Alfonzo double followed by a Danny Perez RBI single that scored Presinal. Danny Alfonzo‘s long home run to center to lead off the bottom of the 3rd highlighted his three hit effort. Shawn Harrison and Nick Vella each added two hits and an RBI in support of starter DJ Flug who fanned four hitters in four innings as the Nine defeated the Rye Grays by a score of 6-2.

In a winner moves on, loser goes home final pool play game, the Nine and Knights played to a draw after 4 innings, including a first inning Carlos De La Cruz RBI double and a 3rd inning Danny Alfonzo solo home run to right center. But in the 5th, after Nick Vella reached on a strikeout and wild pitch, Angel Presinal doubled Vella in to give the Nine the lead, which would grow to 5-2 by the end of the inning. Chris Pichardo entered the game in the 3rd with runners on 1st and 2nd and threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief punching out 3, and sending the Nine to the playoffs.

In the quarterfinal, the second seeded Nine met the seventh seeded Connecticut Bulldogs who had scored in bunches in pool play. And as the Nine did all tournament long, jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning. Angel Presinal singled, Danny Alfonzo walked and Danny Perez hit a long double on the first pitch, scoring Presinal. This was no ordinary double by Perez, this double hit the very top of the fence and took a right turn and then bounced off the fence again and back into the field of play. After a Carlos De La Cruz sac fly, Francisco Soriano singled in Perez. After a Soriano stolen base, Shawn Harrison singled him in which ended the scoring in the first. The 3rd inning saw the Nine bats come alive again with a Presinal single, and back to back walks by Alfonzo and Perez. This saw Carlos De La Cruz at the plate and he wasted no time, by crushing the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a slam that put the Nine up 8-0. Anthony Costa shut down the Bulldogs offense, allowing 1 hit in 4 innings striking out 5. The 10-2 win advanced the Nine to the semi-finals to face another Connecticut team.

The Semi-finals saw the Nine face the third seeded Connecticut Moose, who brought one of the top offenses in the tournament with them, averaging nearly 7 runs per game in their first 4 games. The Nine did not get off to a quick start offensively, and the game’s first 2 and a half innings saw the score knotted at 0. It was at this point, the Nine bats exploded, scoring 7 runs in the 3rd and 5 more in the 4th. The 3rd inning started with a Braulio Melo walk and a Nick Vella line drive single. Angel Presinal then reached on an error and Danny Alfonzo doubled. Danny Perez and Carlos De La Cruz both walked, followed by a Francisco Soriano single and a long Shawn Harrison sac fly. Jesse Spellman ended the scoring in the 3rd with a 2 RBI single on a ball hit back up the middle. The 4th inning saw more of the same from the Nine, with 4 singles and 2 walks scoring 5 runs. De La Cruz ended the game showing his speed by scoring the game winning run on a short wild pitch. Dimitri Papazoglou fired a complete game, propelling the Nine into the Tournament finals.

After winning two previous games, the Nine kicked off the tournament championship game vs LIB Roar at 8:30 pm with Adelphi bound Austin Cole on the bump. LIB Roar knocked off the #1 seed in the semi-finals and averaged 6.6 runs per game heading into the finals. The first inning saw neither team push a run across the plate, but the 2nd was a different story for the Nine, who, like they did all tournament, capitalized on an error. Carlos De La Cruz reached on an error and Francisco Soriano immediately doubled him to 3rd. Catcher, JP Compres drove in De La Cruz with an RBI single. After a Jose Arroyo walk, Nick Vella smoked a 2 out line drive single back up the middle to score 2. After LIB scored one back on an error, the Nine once again capitalized on a misplay. Danny Perez singled, De La Cruz walked and Shawn Harrison reached on an error. JP Compres once again came up and drove in 2 on a hard single to left field scoring 2. After an Arroyo walk, Jesse Spellman had an RBI walk to end the scoring in the 3rd. Austin Cole fanned seven in his 4.1 innings only allowing 1 hit. Chris Pichardo finished the 5th with 2 strikeouts. Matt Demartini threw the final outs of the Tournament as the Nine lifted the Mid-Atlantic Showdown Trophy with a 7-2 win.

Tournament Notes:

Danny Perez lead the team in batting average and on base percentage and had a triple slash line of .538/.667/.615
Carlos De La Cruz led the team in slugging percentage with 1.071 and RBI with 13 had a triple slash line of.500/.556/1.071
Angel Presinal led the team in hits with 8
Danny Alfonzo, Carlos De La Cruz and Angel Presinal tied for the lead in runs with 8
Austin Cole led the team in strikeouts with 7
Chris Pichardo got the win in 2 games, struck out 5 and didn’t walk any
As a team, for the tournament, the Nine hit over .400 and had a triple slash line of .401/.485/.585
41% of Nine hits went for extra bases, with Carlos De La Cruz leading the way with 57.1%
As a team, in 34 innings, the Nine had an ERA of 1.85 and struck out 38

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New York Nine Players More Prepared For College Baseball

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It is always good to see growth and maturity when high school players prepare to continue their career as a collegiate student-athlete. The time they spend around returning veteran players not only helps them understand the process from a different perspective, but what will be expected of them by college coaches whose livelihood generally hinges on recruiting, player development and ultimately winning baseball games. This is why New York Nine players are highly sought after by colleges around the country. The New York Nine Scout Team has a nearly 100% college placement rate.

Having the right coaches and role models who have been through it or are part of the process can only help the player to understand what is expected, and what won’t be tolerated at the collegiate level.

College coaches want players who understand how the game works and are able to show both the instincts and tools to play, not just skills that stand out in a showcase. Generally, mistakes made in high school can be overcome by athleticism or superior skills for that level, but, on the elite level summer team and in college, these mistakes wind up costing teams games and the player the opportunity to play.

It is great to see younger players developing their skills during high-level games against other top players and teams. The only way to develop the instincts and in game situations needed to play in collegiate or pro ball is to play high-level games. We look forward to the final month of developing our college bound ballplayers so they are prepared to not only compete, but to take veteran players jobs as Freshman.

New York Nine Win Independence Day Championships

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New York Nine Win Independence Day Championships at Baseball Heaven

The New York Nine Scout Team won the 18u Independence Day Tournament Championship at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, New York. The Nine secured a championship day bye by finishing second overall with a 4-0 record through pool play, saving them a potential seventh game in four days.

The opening round saw two outstanding mound efforts as recent Bayside HS alumni Dimitri Papazoglou and Anthony Costa each hurled a no hitter in their respective complete game victories. Papazoglou fanned an incredible 48% of the hitters he faced in a twelve strikeout performance over the previously undefeated Frozen Ropes Rockies while Costa punched out nine in his dominant tournament opening outing versus Motus Academy.

In the semi-final, starter Bryant Gomez threw four shutout innings against the FAA Phoenix from New Jersey. The Phoenix, who were 20-0-1 in their previous 21 Baseball Heaven tournament games mounted a furious rally against the Nine bullpen but fell up short in a 9-5 contest.

The championship game against the top seeded Bayside Yankees lived up to its billing. Nick Vella started things off with a long home run in the top half of the first inning. After the Nine tacked on a run in the top of the second, Bayside’s bats came alive as they plated three runs to take a 3-2 lead. The score remained the same until the top of the 6th inning when Danny Perez doubled home Nick Vella to tie the game followed by a two RBI double by Jonell Perez to give the Nine the lead. In the top of the seventh, Jesse Spellman was brought home by an Angel Presinal single to center ending the scoring at 7-3. Chris Pichardo threw five shutout innings for the win in relief. The Nine lifted the trophy after finishing 6-0 in the tournament.

Tournament Notes:

Carlos De La Cruz hit .500 with three singles, four doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, scored eight runs and slugged .938
Oliver Fernandez also hit .500 with a .556 OBP
Danny Alfonzo‘s .550 OBP was helped by a tournament high four hbp, while homering and scoring seven runs
Nick Vella and Francisco Soriano each launched two home runs while scoring five and six runs respectively
Braulio Melo swiped three bags and scored two runs

As a staff, the Nine fanned 41 batters in 35 innings, while only giving up 19 hits
Dimitri Papazoglou‘s struck out 12 and Anthony Costa struck out 9
DJ Flug picked up two victories in relief
Chris Pichardo and Bryant Gomez each threw 5 scoreless innings and had a victory apiece.

Excelsior Scholarship Is A College Gamechanger For New York Residents (and Coaches)

April 26 – New York State is the first in the nation to make their public colleges tuition-free. The state recently changed the way that the SUNY and CUNY University tuition system is structured, and this will allow residents who have established their address here in New York for the previous 12 months and fall under specific income guidelines to take advantage of a tuition-free education. These changes can and should change the way Coaches at these Universities recruit ballplayers as well.

The Excelsior Scholarship comes with some specific requirements that prospective collegians must meet. Aside from the previous tenure as a New York State resident, the combined household income for the 2017-2018 application year must be under $100,000. For the 2018-2019 year that amount increases to $110,000 and for 2019-2020 it increases again to $125,000. PELL and TAP grants will be deducted from the tuition portion of the Excelsior Scholarship amount.

Prospective students must be enrolled full time, taking a 30 credit per year course-load total, not going below 12 credits per semester.  There will also be a minimum GPA requirement. If the program is a declared five year program, the Excelsior Scholarship will honor five years worth of tuition. Transfer students and students with associate degrees (2-yr degree, Junior College) are also eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship but must have taken 30 credits their prior year. Lastly, you will be expected to remain in New York State as a resident a minimum of four years (or a number of years equal to the number of years you received the scholarship) upon the completion of your degree, or all Excelsior Scholarship monies will be converted into loans.

This Scholarship should change the way all CUNY and SUNY coaches recruit players. Any prospective student-athlete who has the appropriate admissions requirements (GPA and SAT), meets residency and financial guidelines and has the athletic ability to compete at the level of the institution now can be viewed as a player who does not count against the allotted number of athletic scholarships that the coach has to distribute. For Division 3 schools, they become a more attractive destination to some athletes who would have gone lower D1 or D2, but would have had to pull the fiscal weight of tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

At the New York Nine, we look to remain at the forefront of the college process without charging our student-athletes thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” or a “percentage of the value of the scholarship the coach secures for the student athlete”. We don’t prey on parent/guardian fear, turning them upside down and shaking their pockets empty. We also have full access to one of the top college counselors around, who happens to be a multiple time NYC guidance counselor of the year recipient and personally has more awards and accolades than he has wall space. For a small organization who prides itself on top level teams, in less than a decade, our student-athletes have been offered millions of dollars in scholarship aid and have either signed or been offered over 50 professional contracts. We pride ourselves on helping New Yorkers use baseball to improve their lives and futures, and the Excelsior Scholarship is a great new avenue that we at the Nine will look at to save our players and families tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.