October 20, 2012 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL)
Six NECBL alumni suited up in Major League Baseball's postseason this October. The MLB playoffs involved a significant number of other players and personnel with strong NECBL ties.
Oakland's Evan Scribner, Texas' Joe Nathan and St. Louis teammates Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs all took the mound in post-season play. Washington infielder Stephen Lombardozzi and Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan additionally logged substantial playing time in the post-season. Here is a synopsis of how NECBL alumni performed:
Evan Scribner/P/Oakland Athletics- Scribner threw two perfect innings in ALDS Game Five, fanning three Detroit Tigers. The 6'3" righty went 2-0 with a save and a 2.55 ERA in 30 regular season games for the American League West champion Athletics. Scribner, a Litchfield County, CT native made eight starts for the 2005 North Adams SteepleCats, striking out 48 while walking just eight.
Jason Motte/P/St. Louis Cardinals- Through game four of the NLCS, Motte had saved half of the Cardinals' post-season wins. He had a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings of work, while going three-for-three in save opportunities. Motte won the National League Pitcher of the Week for the period ending September 23rd. The Cards' closer saved 42 of 49 attempts and posted a 2.75 ERA. The Iona-educated Motte caught for the 2002 Sanford Mainers; he was converted to a pitcher while in the Cardinals' organization.
Joe Nathan/P/Texas Rangers- Nathan appeared in the first ever American League Wild Card play-in game, giving up two hits and striking one in one inning. Nathan made his sixth All-Star game this season, when he had a 2.80 ERA and converted 37 of 40 save opportunities for the Rangers. His 78 strikeouts were 11th best among American League relievers. Nathan was a shortstop- and the 1994 Defensive Player of the Year- as a Fairfield Stallion during the NECBL's inaugural summer
Mitchell Boggs/P/St. Louis Cardinals- Through game four of the NLCS, Boggs led all pitchers in post-season appearances with seven. He had a 0.00 ERA and allowed just six base runners in six innings. Boggs had a 4-1 record with a 2.21 ERA in 78 regular season games for the Cardinals. He had the fourth most appearances in the National League. A one-time FCS quarterback, Boggs made the 2004 All-NECBL Second Team as a Newport Gull
Ryan Hanigan/C/Cincinnati Reds- The backstop played in all five NLDS games, hitting .200 with three runs and three RBI. Defensively, Hanigan helped to guide Reds' pitchers to a 3.13 ERA in the post-season. Hanigan hit .274 with 14 doubles in 112 regular season games for the National League Central champion Reds. Hanigan played for the 2001 Lowell All-Americans, where he hit .282 with six doubles and 13 RBI. He also tossed out over 34% of would be base stealers while playing an errorless summer in the field.
Stephen Lombardozzi/2B/Washington Nationals- Lombardozzi hit .273 with 16 doubles in 126 regular season games for the National League East champions. Lombardozzi played for the 2008 Holyoke Blue Sox, where he had six hits and three RBI in seven games.
In addition to the six players, several more NECBL alumni, friends and family played key roles in the post-season.
Pitcher Stephen Strasburg may have controversially been left off of Washington's post-season roster, but there was no controversy about who got the Nationals to the playoffs. Strasburg, arguably the top pitcher in the National League, made the MLB All-Star game by going 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 159 innings. He won the National League's Pitcher of the Month in April. As a Torrington Twister in 2007, Strasburg was named the NECBL's Top Pro Prospect and Top Reliever
Two front office executives- Orioles Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Dan Duquette and Oakland Athletics Assistant General Manager David Forst, saw their hard work and acumen pay off with post-season berths. Duquette owned the NECBL's Pittsfield Dukes team for six years, from 2004-2009. A long time ally of the League, Duquette's Dukes sent two alumni to the Major Leagues.
Forst played shortstop for the 1997 Torrington Twisters. The Harvard product hit .279 with a .426 OBP in 25 games for Torrington, who had the NECBL's best regular season record that summer. Once out of the NECBL, both men presided over huge turnarounds for their organizations in 2012. This year, Duquette's first with the Orioles, Baltimore posted a 24 win improvement from 2011. Forst, a 13-year veteran of the Athletics' front office, watched his team post a 20 game improvement from the prior season.
Finally, two NECBL brothers played big roles in their ballclub's respective post-seasons. Washington National 1B Adam LaRoche did this. Oriole infielder Ryan Flaherty did that. LaRoche's brother Andy, himself a Big League veteran, hit .290 with a .393 on base percentage in 27 starts for the 2002 Keene Swamp Bats. Flaherty's younger brother Regan, a Portland native, played two seasons in the outfield for the Laconia Muskrats. Regan hit two home runs in the 2011 NECBL post-season, and swatted six more this past summer. ~~~~~
About New England Collegiate Baseball League The New England Collegiate Baseball League is a wooden bat college summer league that fields teams in all six New England states. Partially funded by Major League Baseball, the NECBL started play in 1994 and has sent over 85 alumni to the Major Leagues. ~~~~~
New England Collegiate Baseball League