June 9, 2009

MIT Baseball Players Compete in Summer Leagues

June 9, 2009

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - This summer, 10 current MIT baseball players will participate in summer leagues around the country. Most impressively MIT junior infielder Stewart Park and freshman pitchers Torre Swanson and Chris Vaughan have been invited to play in the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL). All three have officially signed contracts to play for the Albany Dutchmen, based out of Albany, N.Y.

"This is obviously a huge honor for these three student-athletes and its great recognition for the program," said head coach Andy Barlow. "I know that each one of them will take advantage of this tremendous opportunity."

Park, who hails from Brooklyn, New York and Xaverian High School, has started nearly every game of his three-year career with MIT and is the Engineers' catalyst on offense. In 2008 he earned NEWMAC First Team All-Conference honors and ranked fourth in the nation in stolen bases per game (.94). Park concluded the 2009 season with a batting average of .314 and led the team in doubles (12) as well as stolen bases (14). A tremendously gifted defensive player, Park made the switch to second base this season after serving two years as MIT's starting shortstop. Park is majoring in mechanical engineering and management.

Swanson, who compiled a 5-1 record with an impressive 3.02 ERA and .235 batting average against, quickly established himself as one of the brightest young arms in the New England region. In addition to ranking highly in the NEWMAC in numerous pitching categories, Swanson was named a runner-up for conference Rookie of the Year honors and was also a one-time NEWMAC Pitcher of the Week selection (3/30-4/5). Hailing from Redding, California and Redding High School, this hard-throwing right-hander enjoyed a tremendous high school campaign prior to coming to MIT. In addition to Honorable Mention All-State and First Team All-League honors his senior year, he also earned the distinction of Record Searchlight Most Valuable Player of the Section. Swanson is planning to major in economics.

Vaughan, a 6'6" right-handed pitcher from Fort Worth, Texas, served as one of MIT's weekend starters. Compiling a 4-4 record and a 4.29 ERA in a team-leading 56.2 innings of work, Vaughan took the ball against all of MIT's opponents' best pitchers in many of the season's biggest games. The most impressive highlight of the season came during the NEWMAC playoffs where he was victorious while firing a complete game, 10-strikeout effort versus nationally ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Vaughan came to MIT after earning District 7-4A Most Valuable Player honors as well as First Team All-District honors both his junior and senior years at Arlington Heights High School. Vaughan is planning to major in brain and cognitive sciences.

The NYCBL, founded in 1978, is a summer wood bat developmental league for professional baseball. Major League Baseball funds a small portion of the leagues annual budget. The league affords college players the opportunity to develop their skills at a higher level of play, gain experience with wood bats, and be evaluated by scouts. The NYCBL is located in scenic Upstate New York.

The NYCBL, like the Cape Cod League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), has seen many of its players go on to play professional baseball. Currently 11 NYCBL alumni are on active Major League Baseball rosters including Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros, Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves.

Each of the NYCBL's 14 teams play a 44 game regular season schedule with games beginning in June and ending in the last week in July. All games are nine innings, with most doubleheaders scheduled on the weekends. The All-Star game is played in early July, and the League Championship Series concludes in the first week of August.

MIT, which has enjoyed a rich 60-year history of intercollegiate baseball, has seen many of its players participate in competitive summer leagues. The most notable invitation was Jason Szuminski '00 who spent the summer of 1999 with the Newport Gulls of the NECBL. Szuminski, a right-handed pitcher, went on to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and cracked the San Diego Padres roster in 2004 becoming the first MIT Engineer to make it to the big-leagues.

Over the past few seasons, MIT Baseball has experienced unprecedented team success. In 2006 the Engineers advanced to their first-ever conference championship game where they were defeated by No. 2 nationally-ranked Wheaton College, which was the runner-up in the NCAA Division III World Series. During the course of the regular season MIT defeated defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater, nationally-ranked Southern Maine, as well as perennial powerhouse Williams College en route to a 21-14 season and an at-large bid to the ECAC New England Region Championship.

In 2009 the MIT ballclub continued to make history by establishing program records for wins (25) and once again advancing to the finals of their conference tournament. The NEWMAC finals appearance allowed the Engineers to fall just two games short of qualifying for the NCAA New England Regional Tournament. In addition to impressive non-conference victories over regionally-ranked Williams and Worcester State, MIT defeated two NCAA tournament teams (WPI and Babson) during its record-breaking season.

The Engineers also earned respect across the New England baseball scene by producing the NEWMAC Player of the Year, the NEWMAC Coach of the Year, one CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All American, one NEIBA All-New England Selection, and two CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District selections. MIT also had four of its players represented on the NEWMAC All-Conference Team and placed five on NEWMAC All-Academic team.

For more information on the New York Collegiate Baseball League and the Albany Dutchmen, visit www.nycbl.com and http://www.dutchmenbaseball.com/.

Albany Dutchmen News Clip and Article from WNYT News Channel 13 (NBC Affiliate in Albany, New York): www.wnyt.com/article/stories/S803471.shtml?cat=300.

Cameron Brown - LHP
Rocky Mountain Collegiate League (Colorado)

A.J. Hansborough - C
Boston Park League (Massachusetts)

Chris Hendrix - RHP
Dallas Amateur Baseball Association (Texas)

Dan Hyatt - C/IF
National Amateur Baseball Federation - Orlando (Florida)

Kenneth Lin - RHP/IF
Headfirst Gamers (California)

Bryan Macomber - IF
PONY-Palomino Baseball League (California)

Creed Mangrum - RHP/IF
Rocky Mountain Collegiate League (Utah)

Stewart Park - IF
New York Collegiate Baseball League (New York)

Torre Swanson - RHP
New York Collegiate Baseball League (New York)

Chris Vaughan - RHP
New York Collegiate Baseball League (New York)