Baseball Players Head to Summer Ball

PHILADELPHIA – The summer months are no time for rest and relaxation for some members of the Penn baseball program. 14 of the 20 players who are slated to return in 2009 are competing in summer ball in various leagues up and down the east coast. Six leagues and eight different teams will feature Quakers in their lineup. Two squads will boast three Penn players and two will feature a pair of Quakers.

Three members of Penn’s 2008 team will play summer ball for the Orlando Suns of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Rising juniors William Gordon and Reid Terry will play alongside rising sophomore Adrian Thomas. Gordon started 36 of Penn’s 39 games at third base in 2008 and led the team in doubles with 13. Terry appeared in 21 games out of the bullpen – the second most in program history. Thomas came on strong at the end of the season as he led the Red and Blue in batting average in Ivy League play, hitting at a .368 clip in 13 Ancient Eight games. The Suns are scheduled to play 44 games starting June 5 and home games are at Tinker Field in Orlando.

Another trio of Quakers will set up shop in New Market, Va. as members of the New Market Rebels in the Valley Baseball League. The Valley League is made up of 11 teams in the Shenandoah Valley. Todd Roth, Robbie Seymour and Will Davis will see time for New Market over the course of its 44-game schedule. Roth led the Ivy League in ERA, innings pitched and opponents batting average in 2008 while Seymour made 11 appearances on the mound including three starts. Davis started 19 of his 25 games played seeing time behind the plate and at DH. The Valley League has been in existence since 1954 and includes many alumni who have gone on to professional careers – including the last two MVPs of the World Series in David Eckstein (2006 – St. Louis Cardinals) and Mike Lowell (2007 – Boston Red Sox). The Rebels begin play May 31 and their home games are at Rebel Park.

A pair of Penn ballplayers will suit up for the Alexandria Aces of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League. Tom Grandieri and second-team All-Ivy shortstop Dan Williams will help the Aces in their hopes to compete for a title immediately in their first season in the eight-team league named on honor of the late Baltimore Orioles manager. Grandieri led the Quakers in outfield assists with six while Williams started all of Penn’s games at short. Home games will be played at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria, Va.

Also competing in the Ripken League will be Paul Cusick and Matt Toffaletti who will play for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. Cusick started seven games on the hill for the Quakers and finished second on the team with 35 strikeouts. Toffaletti appeared in 31 games for the Red and Blue in 2008 and saw time at a variety of positions – including pitcher, third base, outfield and DH. The Thunderbolts start their season on June 6 at Montgomery Blair Baseball Stadium.

Honorable mention All-Ivy performer Steve Gable will take the field for the Lehigh Valley Catz of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. Gable topped the leaderboard in most of the offensive categories for the Quakers in 2008 and created buzz in the middle of the season with a 19-game hitting streak. The Catz call Upper Hackett’s Park in Easton, Pa. home and begin their summer season on June 5.

Jason D'Ambrosio and Mike Mariano will compete in the Atlantic Baseball Confederation. D’Ambrosio will suit up for the Protocol Starzz while Mariano will setup behind the plate for the Monmouth Monarchs. D’Ambrosio is entering his junior season for the Quakers and will compete for the first base job next season. He connected for a memorable three-run homer against Saint Joseph’s this season for his first collegiate hit. Mariano saw time at catcher and DH in his rookie season and finished with a .379 average in 26 games played. He had eight doubles in his final eight games.

Sam Gilbert will join the rotation of the McLean Raiders of the Clark Griffith League the features teams from Maryland and Virginia. Gilbert started six of the 12 games he pitched in this past season and finished with a 4-2 record – tied for the most wins by a Quaker hurler.

Stay tuned to www.PennAthletics.com for updates on the Quakers who are playing summer ball.

For information on the Florida Collegiate League, click here.

For information on the Valley Baseball League, click here.

For information on the Ripken League, click here.

For information on the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, click here.

For information on the Atlantic Baseball Confederation, click here.

For information on the Clark Griffith League, click here.