For the better part of two decades the Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League (ABCCL) has been the premier summertime showcase to scope out some of the Garden State’s top tier talent, and the cream of this association’s crop gathered at FirstEnergy Park on Wednesday for the 15th Annual Capt. Ryan K. Iannelli All-Star Game.
Amongst the skilled batch of players were a collection of former Shore Conference competitors who discussed what makes ABCCL so special.
“This league is very relaxing and a lot of fun to play in. I think that’s what keeps guys coming back year after year,” said Monmouth University catcher and Wall Knights alum Connor White, who was a First Team All-Shore selection in 2011 after posting a program record .513 batting average as a junior.
“This is my third year playing in the ABCCL, and playing in the summer is all about getting your reps in,” added White, who earned his 2015 all-star selection by hitting .438 with an .640 on-base percentage for the Monmouth Monarchs. “Playing in this league is a great, low-pressure atmosphere to get those reps in.”
White’s Monmouth University teammate and former Manasquan slugger, Tyler Saito, shared a similar sentiment.
“Maintenance is the key to being successful in baseball,” said Saito, who holds the Warriors single season home run record (8) and career home run mark (13). “You have to be able to maintain your swing, your mechanics, your strength, everything, if you’re going to be able to compete at a high level.”
“Especially when you’re going from a summer season back to a Division I school like Monmouth, you have to be able to get your swing down and track some pitches. And the ABCCL has allowed me to do that for the past three summers,” added Saito, who earned his all-star game nod with a .391 average to go with a .481 on-base percentage and three home runs.
Former St. John Vianney standout and current Felician College outfielder Rob Fisher also spoke to the competitive level of play the ABCCL provides, and how it prepares him to compete at the NCAA level.
“I’ve been in this league for four years now and I think very highly of it because every time I go back to school, I seem to carry over a good summer league into our fall season, and ultimately into spring,” said Fisher, who was an All-Division outfielder for the Lancers, as well as an alternate captain for the St. John Vianney ice hockey program. “The competition prepares you well for what you’ll face in the spring. And that’s exactly what you’re looking for.”
Grilli Earns The Win For Yogi Berra: Middletown South alum and Rowan University right hander Rob Grilli picked up the victory for the Larry Doby All-Stars on Wednesday at FirstEnergy Park, delivering a scoreless top of the eighth inning, before his team snapped a tie with two runs in the bottom of the inning to earn a 3-2 win.
Grilli, who was a Third Team All-Shore selection for the Eagles, escaped a jam in his inning of work, inducing a pair of groundouts to strand the go-ahead run on third, before Taylor Parsons (Montclair State University) delivered the save in the ninth, despite an RBI triple by former Manchester standout Aaron Kane.
Grilli, who pitched to a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 18 innings with Rowan in 2015, was the beneficiary of an RBI triple by Brennan Cotter (Catholic University) and a run scoring single via Nelson Valerio (Seton Hall University) in the bottom of the eighth.
Freehold Boro alumnus and Fordham University outfielder Jason Lundy made the start in left field for the Lary Doby All-Stars and notched two of his club’s nine hits.
Lundy, a two-time All-Division player while with the Colonials, helped his Larry Doby team push its first run across the plate in the top of the second inning with a single to left field that advanced Christian Bilan (York College) to second base, and allowed the Lumberton, NJ native to score on a Mike Kendall (Kean University) base hit.
The Yogi Berra club answered in its half of the third when Jeff Reinecke (Rutgers University – Newark) lined an RBI base hit into right field to knot the game at 1-1.