Lions Conclude Summer Baseball Seasons All Around the Country
From Wisconsin to Cape Cod, Columbia was well represented among the most competitive summer baseball leagues across the country.
Junior Tim Giel had an outstanding summer in the Northwoods League, one of the premier summer leagues in the country. At the end of the season, Giel was named one of the top 75 prospects by Perfect Game USA. The hard-throwing right-hander suited up for the Green Bay Bullfrogs and set a single-season record for wins (seven) and owned a 2.33 earned run average in 12 starts.
Classmate Stefan Olson also pitched in the Northwoods League, making two starts with the Thunder Bay Border Cats. Over 9 1/3 innings, Olson allowed five earned runs but struck out nine batters and walked just two.
In the Cape Cod League, arguably the nation's top summer collegiate league, senior Pat Lowery pitched to a 3-2 record and a 4.05 ERA with the Brewster Whitecaps. Squaring off among some of the best college hitters in the nation, Lowery made five starts and 15 appearances. He struck out 29 batters and allowed 38 base hits in 40 innings of work.
Sophomore Mike Fischer also spent his summer in the Cape League with the Wareham Gatemen. The Gatemen made the Cape League playoffs as Fischer had two hits in 15 at-bats while playing errorless baseball behind the dish.
Further up the Massachusetts coast line, juniors Dario Pizzano and Eric Williams teamed up for the North Shore Navigators in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. After hitting .340 with four home runs, 13 doubles and 30 RBI, Pizzano was named the league's most improved player and was named the 9th top prospect in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft by Baseball America.
Meanwhile, Williams came to the Navigators midway through the season and mainly saw action at first base. In 18 games, Williams delivered nine runs batted in and batted .208.
Also in the NECBL was fellow junior Nick Ferraresi. Ferraresi batted .271 with four home runs and 12 RBI for the Mystic Schooners. He finished the summer on a tear, hitting safely in eight of his last nine games, hitting .406 during that span.
Senior Billy Rumpke had a strong season for the Hamilton Joes in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Playing close to his hometown of Cincinnati, Rumpke batted .311 in 30 games. He stole seven bases in eight attempts and made just one error in the outfield.
Two Columbia veterans played in the Coastal Plains League. Senior Alexander Aurrichio suited up for the Outer Banks Daredevils and ranked second on the team with 18 extra-base hits. Aurrichio belted 13 doubles, two triples and three home runs in 42 games.
Junior Nick Crucet played for the Fayetteville Swampdogs in the Coastal Plains League and led the squad with a .478 on-base percentage in 31 games. Crucet handled 90 chances flawlessly in the field and also stole 11 bases.
Sophomore Aaron Silbar impressed during his time with the DeLand Suns in the Florida Collegiate League. In 43 games, Silbar batted .295 and posted an on-base percentage of .396. Named an All-Star in the Florida League, Silbar also totaled six stolen bases.
Fellow sophomore Joey Donino took the mound for the Torrington Titans for his first live action since his senior year of high school. After missing his first season at Columbia due to injury, Donino pitched in eight games and started twice for the Titans. He had a 1-0 record and a 2.41 ERA, striking out 17 batters in 18 2/3 innings.
Silbar and Donino's classmate, Enmanuel Cabreja spent his summer in Hawaii, playing for the Hawaii Aliis in the Hawaii Collegiate League. Cabreja batted .260 with five doubles and eight RBI in 24 starts for the Aliis.
In the Sun Belt Collegiate League, junior Ricky Kleban made three appearances for the 6-4-3 Cougars. He yielded four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings but struck out seven in that span.
Three Lion sophomores played in the Atlantic Collegiate League. David Speer pitched for the Southampton Breakers in the Hamptons Division and posted a sparkling 0.90 ERA in 20 innings pitched. He posted a 2-0 record, striking out 15 batters while allowing just three walks.
Joey Gandolfo was a member of the North Jersey Eagles this summer. Gandolfo made five starts on the mound, striking out 37 batters in 28 1/3 innings and also had four hits in 22 at-bats at the plate.
Lastly, Zack Tax helped lead the Staten Island Tide to the ACBL Championship. Tax pitched to a 2.41 ERA in eight appearances with the Tide. He struck out 17 in 18 2/3 innings, but when the Tide's regular shortstop suffered a season-ending injury, Tax stepped in at short after not playing the field since high school. He batted .306 with eight RBI down the stretch as the Tide won their first ever ACBL title.