When last we checked on Mike Diaz (Southern Connecticut State/Masuk), he had been drafted by the Houston Astros, and spent the summer of 2008 fairly close to home, playing for the Rookie Short-Season Tri-City Valley Cats in Troy, N.Y.
He then went to the Class A Lexington (Ky.) Legends, played 89 games there, and ended up playing one game with the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks.
His batting average fell 40 points last year, and he was spending a lot of time as a designated hitter or pinch hitter, and not playing much on the field.
Things have changed. Mike is out of affiliated baseball - he isn't playing for a minor league team anymore, but he's still in professional ball, with the Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums, who play in the East Division of the Frontier League.
His stats with Traverse City feel like Mike has found himself again - he's hitting .296 and has played in 37 games this season already, and leads the team in stolen bases (7).
In last Tuesday's 11-2 win over the Southern Illinois Miners, Mike went 2-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored, and an RBI triple. A story from the Astros baseball news updates notes the fact he can play any position in the infield, and can roam the outfield, too.
At the beginning of the season, he had the top batting average on the squad - and although he's no longer in the Astros system, he's running a parallel course.
The Bums are in second place in the East Division, three games behind the Oakland County Cruisers.
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We reported two weeks ago that Boston College junior pitcher Pat Dean (Naugatuck) had been picked in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins and assigned to the Class A Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins.
Pat signed a contract, but was not on the roster of the Elizabethton team.
He ended up on the roster of the Class A Short-season Rookie Gulf Coast League Twins in Fort Myers, Fla. Contacted last week, he said he was rehabbing in Fort Myers and expected to join the Elizabethton team in August.
According to the stats on the team website, Pat hasn't been in a game yet.
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San Antonio Missions pitcher Evan Scribner (Central Connecticut State/Shepaug) came on in the ninth inning of the Texas League All-Star Game and got the first two outs, then handed the ball to closer Jared Lansford, who allowed two hits, but got saved by a huge throw to the plate to end the game.
Evan and the South Team won, 5-4. Evan's ERA has dropped to 1.85. He has a 4-5 record with three saves. In 39 innings of work he has allowed 31 hits, struck out 51, and walked five.
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Wentworth Institute of Technology senior Pete Oggeri (Newtown) has been named as an assistant coach at his alma mater. Head Coach Steve Studley made the announcement Thursday afternoon, naming Oggeri and a teammate, Matt Dannenhoffer, as his new assistants.
During their playing days at WIT, Pete and Matt helped the Leopards compile a 94-65-1 record, which included four Commonwealth Coast Conference playoffs and three ECAC Tournament appearances, including the institute's first-ever ECAC title game this spring. A four-year mainstay at catcher and three-year captain of the Leopards, Pete started 145 of the program-record 147 games he played in, batting .300 (143-for-476) with 29 doubles, six triples, 14 home runs, 125 runs scored, 70 stolen bases, and 94 runs batted in.
His final season was his best - he hit .373 (53-for-142) with 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 43 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, and 42 runs batted in, while starting all 42 games he played in.
Pete set new program marks for highest on-base percentage (.486) and getting plunked by opposition pitchers (18 times) this spring and his 43 runs, seven home runs, 89 total bases, and 42 RBI were all the second-highest in a season.
He was named Second Team All-Commonwealth Coast Conference, CCC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-America District One, and received Wentworth's Carl A. Swanson Senior Scholar-Athlete Award.
Besides playing in more games than anyone in Wentworth baseball history, Pete is the all-time leader in runs scored, hits, home runs, total bases, hit by pitch, stolen bases, total chances, and putouts, while ranking in the top five in numerous other categories such as runs batted in, on-base percentage, sacrifice hits, doubles, triples and walks.
There's more: he threw out nearly 27 percent of runners attempting to steal on him during his career and picked off six base-runners. Pete will graduate in August with a bachelor's degree in Construction Management.
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Eastern Connecticut State freshman Drew Accomando (Masuk) didn't see a lot of action this spring. He entered eight games for the Warriors, and did well while he was on the field - a .286 batting average with a triple in seven plate appearances, and a perfect fielding percentage with four put-outs and five assists.
The Warriors were knocked out of the Little East Conference playoffs by Southern Maine, but chosen as an at-large team for the NCAA Division III New England Regional.
Eastern won its first game in the NCAAs over Worcester State, then lost successive games to top-seeded Tufts and to second-seeded Wheaton, ending the year with a 31-15 record.
Endicott College had an interesting end to its women's lacrosse season. The Gulls won their fifth-straight Commonwealth Coast Conference championship and accepted the automatic ticket to the NCAA Division III big dance.
But in a head-scratching first-round match-up, Endicott was sent to California to play the Athenas from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College, and lost, 21-18.
Junior midfielder Carin Czerniawski (Masuk) was a vital component of the Gulls' success in their 16-5 season. She played in every game and started 20 of them, scored 20 goals and made 11 assists, grabbed a team-high 59 ground balls, had 30 draw controls and caused 24 turnovers.
Carin plays aggressive ball - she got tagged for 57 fouls, second on the team behind defender Kendahl Light.
Carin is pretty aggressive in the classroom, too - she was named to the Commonwealth Coast Conference Academic All-Conference Team, reserved for scholar-athletes who maintain at least a 3.50 GPA. She's a business major.
Fairfield University freshman golfer Nick Taylor (Pomperaug) had the best round for the Stags at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships in Florida in May.
He shot a two-over-par 74 on the last day of the event, which turned out to be the fourth-lowest round of the day. Nick finished tied for 26th with a three-day score of 237 (81-82-74). Loyola University of Maryland won the championship; Fairfield was seventh.
In the event before that, the Mount St. Mary's Spring Invitational, the Stags finished second overall with Nick posting a three-round total of 233 (80-74-79), good enough for a tie for 10th place.
Keene State College senior Dan Theleen (Pomperaug) is giving all his muscle groups a good workout this summer as he prepares for some major triathlon events.
Triathlon is a club sport at Keene State - a club Dan helped organize and grow. He represented the club and his college at the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship in Lubbock, Texas, in April, finishing 29th in the undergraduate division and 35th overall in a field of 510 athletes.
And he could have done better. The weather was so cold, the 1,500-meter swim was cut to a half-mile, taking away his strongest segment in the three-part event (swim, 10K run, 25-mile bike ride).
The bike portion turned out to be an adventure with temperatures in the 50s, and wind gusts at 30 mph.
"The biking was really a challenge," Theleen told the Keene State sorts information folks. "With the strong head and cross winds, it was like riding in a storm. It was a great experience. I loved it and I loved representing Keene State."
He was the top finisher from a Division II or III school.
After school was done, Dan competed in the Revolution3 Olympic Distance Triathlon and finished second (2:12:48). Southern Connecticut State junior Tim Steiskal (Naugatuck) was sixth (2:21.02).
Dan achieved his summer goal of qualifying for September's USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships by finishing 9th (2:08.30) out of 396 competitors at the Pat Griskus Olympic Triathlon on June 18 at Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury.
He was also the runner-up in his 20-24 age group. Bryant University junior Brendan Heller (Naugatuck) was 22nd (2:15.51) and Tim Steiskal came in 40th (2:18.38).
If Dan finishes in the first 18 at the Age Group Nationals in September, he will earn a spot as a member of Team USA at the 2011 Olympic Distance World Triathlon Championships in Beijing.
He's also hoping the team he is building at Keene State will mount a serious men's and women's effort for the USA Collegiate National Championships next year.
He also emphasizes that triathlon is a club sport at Keene State, as it is in many colleges. As such, the college's financial sponsorship is very limited, and trips to Alabama, Texas and China are pricey. He's looking for any support he and the team can get.
Dan is an engaging young guy who has found his niche in a growing sport. You can catch him in action in three in-state events this summer - at the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon today (July 7) in Middlebury, at the Amica 19.7 Triathlon in New London on July 25, and at the big Mossman Olympic Triathlon in Bridgeport on August 14.
Southern Connecticut State softball freshman third base Alyssa Downs (Seymour) and sophomore swimmers Jessica Rickel (Seymour) and Sarah Thomas (Naugatuck) were named to the 2010 Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll. To be eligible for selection, a student athlete must have a 3.0 GPA.
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