Success Begins in the Roots

The players are the ones on the ball field day in and day out. They put in the hard work and the grueling hours in pursuit of their success. This is all true, but a common misconception is the coach doesn’t do as much as the players. For Justin Beach, head coach of Brockport Baseball, he has always put in the time and effort with his players to make sure everyone is on the right path to success.

“Like every little kid out there, I grew up dreaming of playing professional baseball. When the day came, though, that I had to hang up my cleats I still wanted to stay in touch with the game any way I could,” Beach said about knowing when he first decided he wanted to get into coaching.

Beach has always been around the game and loved it with a passion. In his mind it was perhaps due to him being a catcher as a kid and developing behind the dish throughout high school. “I have always been a student of the game. You learn so much behind the plate and I always sat near my coaches in the dugout trying to pick their brains about strategies and different situations.”

It’s more than just knowing the game. It’s also about being a mentor and authoritative figure that the players can trust. Managing the different personalities and skill sets of baseball players is a constant chess game, making sure all the pieces fit in the right place at the right time. For players like Eli Carrera, coming to America from Cuba to play baseball can be scary, but Beach took him in and treated him like anyone else.

“He’s like another father figure to me,” Carrera said. “Coach Beach preaches a close family atmosphere with us players and I owe a lot of my success here as a player to Beach being there for me when I needed it most.”

“I’m a very open guy and players sometimes need to just talk to someone. As their coach I think it’s important to know what’s going on in their lives and help anywhere I can,” Beach said about being not just a baseball coach, but a mental and personal coach too. “Sometimes players need a little extra motivation or whatever the case may be, being a coach of their mental aspects is just as important as the X’s and O’s.”

Paul Ludden is a catcher for the Golden Eagles and has learned a lot about developing into a productive commander behind the plate at the college level thanks to Beach. “He caught his whole life and has had success at that and with previous catchers on past teams, so it’s really easy for me to go up and ask him questions knowing he’ll give me a straight answer and some encouragement,” Ludden said about Beach’s leadership and positive reinforcement.

With Beach on the coaching staff, Brockport has made the SUNYAC playoffs 12 times out of 13 seasons, including five bids for the NCAA World Series Tournament. While many people may look at the players for their talent and hard work on and off the field, the success stems from roots embedded in the program by Coach Beach.

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SUNYAC Playoffs Set.

Austin_Spindler

(Austin Spindler shuts out New Paltz in route to Brockport clinching 3rd seed for SUNYAC).

As the regular season comes to a close, Brockport Baseball is heading into the SUNYAC playoffs as the third seeded team. Reigning national chamipon Cortland leads the seeding, with Oswego in second and Fredonia rounding it up in fourth place.

This was made possible due to a sweep over New Paltz this past weekend, outscoring them 19-2. New Paltz didn’t plate a run for the first 18.1 innings of the series.

Austin Spindler was brilliant on the mound for Brockport in the Game 1, hurling a complete game shutout. The Golden Eagles got on the board with Brett Sanders scoring on a wild pitch and that was all Spindler needed.

Game 2 was no problem for Sam McCumiskey as he also threw a shutout performance for Brockport, this one being 7 innings with four strikeouts. The only run needed for the Green and Gold came in the second inning on a sac fly from Brett Sanders which scored Luke Gilbert.

After the extra-inning thriller that was the third game, Brockport came out on top 4-2 and clinched the third seed in SUNYAC playoffs. Tyler Clifford threw 7.1 innings and gave Brockport the performance they needed to be in good shape for the contest, but Nick Jerolimov finished the last 4 innings of work to record the win. Chris Davis doubled home Sanders and Greg Ruddy in the 12th inning for the go-ahead and winning runs.

According to playoff seeding, No. 1 will play No. 4, and the two and three seeds play each other. As it stands, Brockport will be facing Oswego as they seek redemption after being swept in the regular season. You can follow Brockport Baseball and their results in the SUNYAC playoffs here.

How to Throw a Changeup

Pitching has been a huge part of Brockport Baseball‘s success this year. While every pitcher is different in terms of their mechanics, delivery, and types of pitches they throw, any pitcher of all levels can agree on the importance of a good changeup.

The Golden Eagles will look to stay sharp on the pitchers mound as the SUNYAC Championships approach closer and closer. You can follow Brockport’s schedule and their results here.

Oswego Brings Brooms Out

Greg Ruddy

(Greg Ruddy makes a throw to first base from shortstop).

The Golden Eagles could not make ends meet this past weekend as they got swept by Oswego State in a three game series. The Lakers outscored Brockport 27-8 in the series, which is uncharacteristic for Brockport but it’s understandable when discussing a team like Oswego which is ranked No. 6 in the nation for Division III baseball.

The Green and Gold Gang now has a pesky five game losing streak after just barely falling short to Hamilton on April 10, not even looking like they showed up to St. John Fisher on the 13th in an 18-0 loss, and this weekend against Oswego.

The tough weekend brings Brockport to a 16-13 overall record and 7-5 conference record, dropping to fourth in the SUNYAC in terms wins, but third in the conference for win percentage as New Paltz is slated in third place with an 8-7 record.

Sam McCumiskey drew his first loss of the season, but some positives are that he and Austin Spindler are tied for second in the SUNYAC for most pitching wins with five each, and Chris Davis is fourth in the conference for batting average, tied for fourth in hits with teammate Wes Burghardt with 40 hits a piece, and tied for fifth in the SUNYAC with teammate Paul Ludden for RBIs with 26 each.

Brockport Baseball looks to improve upon their SUNYAC record next weekend in a three game series against Fredonia on April 22-23. You can follow the Golden Eagles schedule and their results here.

The Week Ahead

This is perhaps the biggest week of the season for Brockport Baseball. They are 16-9 overall, and Oswego is 20-3 overall. But when it comes to seeding in the SUNYAC Chamionships, that doesn’t matter. Both of these teams are 7-2 in conference play, and they will be playing each other later this week.

Brockport luckily has three of the most consistent pitchers in the conference with Sam McCumiskey, Tyler Clifford, and Austin Spindler. Are they the best? No, but that’s not important. What wins games is consistency because that prevents teams from getting caught up in the highs or being stuck down in the lows. With these three pitchers, you know you’re going to get a quality start and you will be in the game during the later innings because of their efforts.

Brockport’s bats by the numbers are presumably the most respected in terms of what they’re capable of. On any given day, the Golden Eagles can claw their way through any pitching staff, putting up 12 or more runs several times this season. Wes Burghardt, Chris Davis, and Josh Martin anchor that lineup as the three-four-five hitters making up their own version of the 1927 Yankees Murderers Row.

But as stated and proven, consistency wins games. the Oswego State Lakers have translated consistency into winning seamlessly. Brockport will try to do everything they can to shake Oswego off their rhythm as they head there for a three-game series to be played April 15-16.

You can follow Brockport and the results from their schedule here.

Eagles Baseball Soaring High

Brockport Golden Eagles Baseball are 15-6 at the halfway point of the season and are perfect in conference play. They’ve had at least 10 hits in all but five games and are outscoring their opponents 145-82. That is the best run differential in the SUNYAC Conference. Timely and efficient hitting along with great shutdown pitching has been the winning formula thus far for Brockport, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Eagles Hopping After Easter Weekend

Greg_Ruddy(SS Greg Ruddy turns a double play while avoiding the take-out slide at second base)

The Easter Bunny was very kind to Brockport Baseball this weekend as they completed the sweep over Oneonta to begin conference play. The Golden Eagles were able to claw their way over the Red Dragons outscoring them 21-6 in the three game series.

The weekend was highlighted by three outstanding performances on the hill by Tyler Clifford and Sam McCumiskey in the double header Saturday, followed by Austin Spindler to finish it off on Sunday. Spindler and McCumiskey, along with Cortland pitcher Tanner Whiteman, are the only pitchers in the SUNYAC Conference with five wins to start the season.

Senior infielders Greg Ruddy and Wes Burghardt carried the offense for the series out of the two and three spots in the order. Burghardt went 6-9 at the plate with five RBIs and Ruddy hit 6-10 plating six runs and driving in five RBIs.

It was the sheer dominance in the offensive and pitching aspects of the game that set the tone for the entire series. In fact, over the course of the 25 total innings and 150 total outs recorded in the series, Oneonta didn’t have the lead at any point during any of the games.

“We had a good time in Florida and the good times are still rollin’ on up north,” outfielder Eli Carrera said about the team comradery. “We’re all at our best when we’re loose and having fun, and winning right now the way were playing is making everything a lot of fun.”

Brockport’s next SUNYAC matchup will come this weekend against Cortland. To check out further matchups and dates for Golden Eagles baseball, click here.

Importance of Arm Health

Tyler_Clifford(RHP Tyler Clifford hurls a complete game with 12 K’s against Mount St. Mary.)

Elbow injuries in pitchers leading a path to Tommy John Surgery has been a growing pattern in the baseball world. It’s a growing epidemic that needs to be stopped, but how do we approach this?

Baseball is becoming more and more of a year-round sport, not just spring. More than half of the Brockport Golden Eagles play on a summer collegiate team, then everyone prepares for fall ball camp at Brockport, while staying on a training program throughout the winter, and finally all of that work pays off for their spring season.

This isn’t just prevalent at the college level, kids discover their talents in Little League and the trend causes youth ballplayers to solely focus on baseball for their future. Unfortunately, it’s the extra years of extra stress developing over time that cause the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) to eventually tear and require Tommy John Surgery for repair.

The successful teams are those who stay mostly healthy and consistent all year. Health is a big concern for pitching staffs everywhere, and Coach Beach knows the direct influence that has on success. “In the offseason, our pitchers focus on building stronger legs and rotator cuffs; they don’t even pick up a baseball until January,” Coach Beach said regarding his pitching staff and arm training.

The team is getting off to a good start, including solid pitching from Tyler Clifford and Austin Spindler, as they hope to keep the season going as they head to Florida. You can follow Brockport and their results here.

Snap Back to Reality

Justin Valentino(Justin Valentino rips an RBI single to right field.)

The weekend wasn’t entirely bad for Golden Eagles baseball, it just didn’t go as planned. Brockport dropped two of three, falling to opponents Rutgers-Camden and Bard College, but they did notch a blowout win over Mount Saint Mary.

Rutgers-Camden provided Brockport their first loss of the season Saturday in come-from-behind fashion. A 2-1 lead going into the seventh inning just wasn’t enough for the Golden Eagles to hold on. Rutgers-Camden tied it up at two a piece in the seventh and then exploded in the eighth scoring eight runs, all of them crossing the plate with two outs in the inning.

The green and gold squad tried to look past the blown lead as they headed into Sunday’s matchup with Bard College. Unfortunately the story was all too similar. Brockport jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning thanks to an RBI single by freshman catcher Justin Valentino who later scored on a groundout. Bard came right back and tied it up in the bottom of the fifth and took a three run lead in the sixth. The final score was Brockport falling short 5-2.

As I said earlier, the weekend wasn’t entirely bad. Friday’s performance by the Golden Eagles was about as dominant as it can get in the sport. 17-0 was the final score against Mount Saint Mary as Brockport scored a run in all but three innings, including seven runs in the second and four runs in the third. The big story of the game was senior pitcher Tyler Clifford who hurled seven shutout innings of one-hit ball and recording a career high 12 strikeouts. The performance improved him to 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA and leading the pitching staff in strikeouts with 19 Ks in 16.2 innings.

“In the past we’ve done a pretty good job of starting and finishing well,” Coach Beach said. “It’s typically the middle-of-the-road portion of the season where games slip away and we battle through slumps. If we maintain some consistency along the way we’ll be successful.”

The Golden Eagles hit the bus down to Florida next week as they prepare for their spring training trip. Brockport’s schedule for the trip can be found here. Follow them and their results as they look to keep improving upon their 6-2 record.

Eagles Soaring High to Start the Season.

Brockport Baseball could not be starting the season any hotter. If they were the players would literally combust into flame. The Golden Eagles are 5-0 to start and are out-scoring their opponents 54-19.

zimmerman

In order to score runs, you need to hit. It’s that simple. Brockport has put up double-digit numbers in the hit column for each of their first five games out-hitting their opponents 66-41 in that span.

Senior infielder Chris Davis is starting off strong leading the team with 11 hits and batting .579. Junior catcher/infielder Paul Ludden has chipped in eight hits thus far including a homerun.

Hitting isn’t everything, because after all good pitching beats good hitting, at least 70 percent of the time. In the first five games Brockport pitching is giving up 3.8 runs per game and 8.2 hits per game. To put that into perspective, Brockport’s offense is producing 10.8 runs per game and 13.2 hits per game.

Austin Spindler is a junior transfer pitcher from Erie Community College and is making an immediate impact to this pitching staff. In his first two starts of the year, he has thrown 11 innings, allowing one run on eight hits equating to a 0.82 ERA to start the year with a 2-0 record.

The last phase of the game is defense, and as the saying goes: “defense wins championships.” Unfortunately, this could be an area for the Golden Eagles to tighten the screws on because they have committed 10 errors so far, but their opponents have committed nine which creates an even playing field in that aspect.

This speaks for the testament of Brockport pitching and hitting, however. Mistakes happen, but it’s important to minimize mistakes. The record and stats show that while Brockport has made more errors than they’d like, the pitchers are doing a good job of keeping runners on base and away from home plate, and the hitters are capitalizing off of their opponents’ mistakes, creating runs and wins.

The competition is the only question. Is this great start happening against lower-ranked teams, as if it was Ohio State vs. Appalachian State? On the contrary. Brockport was faced with a tough schedule out of the gate but they had no problem with it. The Golden Eagles took down preseason top-25 ranked Stevens IT and then proceeded to deliver a shutout to No. 6 nationally ranked Kean University.

Needless to say, the Golden Eagles are well on their way to what they expect to be a great season.

“We can play with anyone out there and we expect to win and make a name for ourselves,” outfielder Josh Martin said.

Brockport baseball is experienced, hungry, and determined to make it to the national tournament, and make their bid at winning the NCAA DIII World Series.