All-Western New York
The All-Western New York baseball teams were released Sunday, and the local area was well represented.
Fredonia senior center fielder, Nick Hart, was named to the First Team, along with Lake Shore’s Christ Conley, while Hart’s teammate Trent Thompson, a First-Team selection last year as an infielder, was a Second-Team selection this year as a pitcher.
“Nick had a tremendous season,” Fredonia head coach Vince Gullo said. “I was very excited for (all) the boys. We all know the team comes first and that after the season we start looking at individual accolades. And they really deserved it, and we have some other boys that we hope will make the All-State teams as well, but our senior leadership was out of this world this year as well.”
Hart earned his spot on the team after batting .470 in league and playoff games, including eight doubles, two triples, 33 runs scored, 21 stolen bases, 12 walks and 12 RBIs. Hart, along with Thompson, helped the Hillbillies to the New York State Public High School Athletic Associations’ Class B title, finishing his senior season with an on-base percentage of .557. He will take his talents to SUNY Cortland next fall to play for the Red Dragons, a perennial power in NCAA Division III.
“Nick was so motivated all season,” Gullo said. “He had one goal in mind and that was to win a state championship. This has to be very rewarding for him after leading our team to a state title. He was (CCAA Division 1) Player of the Year and he’s just had an incredible year.”
Conley, who made the All-WNY Second Team as a designated hitter in 2011 as a sophomore, and the First Team last season as a junior catcher, was named to the First Team this year as an infielder after posting a .542 average, including four home runs, seven doubles, 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored.
“He’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever coached in 27 years of varsity baseball,” Lake Shore head coach Bob Kowal said. “He played wherever needed and he sacrificed individual statistics to lead us in every category. He pitched every key game in leading Lake Shore to its second ECIC title in three years.”
Conley was also named to the ECIC Division III First Team this season while going 4-2 on the mound with a 1.47 ERA, 48 strike outs and 13 walks in 38 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .174 average.
Thompson was named a Second Team pitcher after going 8-0 with a 1.54 ERA while striking out 54, walking 27 and allowing 32 hits. He went 3-0 in the playoffs and did not allow an earned run over his final 38 innings pitched, including 24 in the playoffs, where he threw six shutout innings against JFK, a shutout against Wayland-Cohocton in the NYSPHSAA Class B Far West Regional and two unearned runs against Section 10’s Ogdensburg Free Academy in the state semifinals.
“For Trent to make Second Team All-Western New York as a pitcher at a small school is quite an accomplishment,” Gullo said. “He’s made quite a name for himself in western New York.”
Thompson, who was a First Team All-State selection last year, as well as being a First Team All-WNY performer, will attend Azusa Pacific University, where he will try to earn a spot on its baseball team as a walk-on. APU is a NCAA Division II program that plays in the PacWest Conference.
Clarence senior fire-baller Mark Armstrong, who was a third-round selection of the Cincinnati Reds earlier this month during Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft, was named as one of two First Team pitchers, along with Williamsville South’s Damian Powers.
Armstrong also earned Player of the Year honors after going 9-0 in league and sectional play while posting a 0.56 ERA and striking out 96 and walking 13. He held opponents to a .136 AVG over 62 innings while helping his own cause at the plate with a .469 AVG, five home runs, five doubles, 21 RBIs and 18 runs scored.
Joining Hart, Conley, Armstrong and Powers on the First Team were Amherst senior catcher Jonah Heim, who was a fourth-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles during MLB’s First-Year Player Draft, St. Joe’s senior infielder Jared Baldinelli, St. Mary’s of Lancaster senior infielder Brian Dudek, and Starpoint junior infielder Alex O’Donnell.
Orchard Park junior outfielder Ryan MacCarrick, St. Joe’s junior outfielder Philip Wells and East Aurora’s Ian Allen (designated hitter) rounded out the First Team selections.
Lancaster junior Ryan Stekl was named as the Second Team’s other pitcher while St. Mary’s of Lancaster’s J.D. Andreessen was honored as its catcher. Infielders on the Second Team included Dave Hollins (junior, Orchard Park), Brian Jost (senior, Clarence), Tyler Piasecki (senior, Williamsville South), and Charlie Sobieralski (junior, Lockport). In the outfield were Ryan Stefaniak (junior, St. Francis), Ted Wilson (senior, Lancaster) and Brad Wroblewski (junior, Lockport). St. Francis senior Matt Michalski was the Second Team designated hitter.
Fredonia’s Zach Buckley, who finished with a .371 AVG, a home run, six doubles, two triples, 17 RBIs, 22 runs scored and 13 stolen bases was named an honorable mention, along with Jared Keppel (North Collins), Scot Laurie (Brocton), Spencer Sticek (Pine Valley) and Tyler Swanson (Pine Valley).
Also named honorable mention were: Drew Bassini (St. Francis), Yusef Burgos (City Honors), Michael Calandra (Williamsville South), Eric Cartenuto (JFK), Michael Colosi (Niagara Falls), Quinn Corrao (Grand Island), Justus Elliot (Portville), Bram Johnson (Jamestown), Tage Johnson (Frewsburg), Scott Kneeland (Newfane), Chris Kwitzer (St. Mary’s of Lancaster), Ton LaConga (Orchard Park), Mark Materise (Clarence), Mark Matre (St. Joe’s), Connor McMahon (Kenmore East), Bradley Palmerton (Eden), Nick Pullo (Tonawanda), Tommy Ryan (Kenmore West), Tom Samar (City Honors), Austin Speaker (Starpoint), Austin Spindler (West Seneca East), Ben Stich (Tonawanda), John Warne (Albion), Zach Wood (Portville), David Yarger (Niagara Falls), Steve Zaprowski (Williamsville South).