Oct. 18, 2007
As the Notre Dame baseball team nears the end of its fall season, several of the Irish players will be looking to wrap up a strong second half of 2007 that has include noteworthy performances in various wood-bat summer leagues. Most notably, sophomore centerfielder A.J. Pollock was one of the top players in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (with the league champion Vermont Mountaineers) while three current junior pitchers were members of the Falmouth Commodores squad that reach the Cape Cod League championship series. Another Irish pitcher, sophomore Steven Mazur, was part of a Hays (Kan.) Larks team that was the runner-up in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series while junior second baseman Jeremy Barnes had an impressive summer swinging the wood bat with the Northwoods League's Wisconsin Woodchucks.
Some of the Notre Dame players did not compete in 2007 summer leagues, due to injuries, football commitments or - in the case of senior shortstop Brett Lilley - summer school, as Lilley is set to graduate early following the 2007 fall semester (he then will pursue graduate-level accounting classes in the spring while playing his final season with the Irish).
Here's a comprehensive look back at the current ND players who were active in top 2007 summer wood-bat leagues (some others played in smaller leagues near their hometowns):
A.J. Pollock (So., OF; Vermont Mountaineers/New England Collegiate Baseball League) - A second team all-NECBL selection after playing center field and ranking as one of team's top all-around hitters, with his .348 batting avg. trailing only Brian Kemp of the Sanford Mainers (.398), Drew Poulk from the Newport Gulls (.354) and Brendan Akashian of the Lowell All-Americans (.352) ... Kemp also plays in the BIG EAST Conference, at St. John's ... received the NECBL's 10th Man Award ... led team in batting (.348), hits (47), runs (29; 5th in league), doubles (15; led NECBL) and stolen bases (13-of-14) while ranking second on team in slugging pct. (.481), plus third in RBI (20) and on-base pct. (.419) and fourth in walks (17) ... his other stats included a home run, only eight strikeouts and four errors in 37 games played (35 starts) .. .team featured second in the Northern Division (24-18), just two games off the pace, before winning the league title after series vs. Keene (7-3, 10-7), Holyoke (7-3, 3-2) and the Newport Gulls (14-8, 3-0) ... hit .304 during the postseason (7-for-23,4 RBI, 9 R, 3 2B, 3 BB, K, 2 SAC, SB), including a pair of hits in game-2 vs. the Gulls (3 RBI, R) and a hit, walk and run scored in the final game.
Falmouth Commodores (Cape Cod League) - Four ND pitchers were members of this talented team, with those players including RHPs Kyle Weiland (Albuquerque, N.M.), Brett Graffy (Homer Glen, Ill.) and David Phelps (Hazelwood, Mo.), plus LHP Sam Elam (Mesquite, Texas) ... Weiland posted a 2.38 ERA, 1-2 record and saved a game in 14 appearances (22.2 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 2 HB, 27 Ks, 3 WP, 4 games finished, 1 GS) ... Graffy had an impressive 0.89 ERA and a pair of saves in 17 appearances (0-2, 20.2 IP, 14 H/1 HR all., 12 BB, 24 Ks, 3 GF) ... Elam had 17 Ks in 14 innings (14.79, 8 H, 26 BB, 10 HB, 5 WP, 9 GP/2 GS) while Phelps had a couple early appearances before opting to rest his arm for the rest of the summer (7.27, 8.2 IP, 2 GS, 12 H/2 HR, 5 BB, 5 Ks, BK) ... the Commodores went 22-22, finished second in the Western Division and beat the Bourne Braves in the CCL playoffs (7-2, 5-3) before losing the championship series to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (2-8, 0-2).
Jeremy Barnes (Jr., 2B; Wisconsin Woodchucks/Northwoods League) - Ranked second on team in home runs (7) and slugging pct. (.527) while ranking as team's third-best hitter (.286) ... his other stats included 20 RBI, 20 runs, 6 doubles, 15 walks, 20 Ks, 4-of-5 stolen bases, a .375 on-base pct. and a pair of errors ... the Woodchuck placed fifth in the South Division during the first half of the season and third in the second half, en route to a 36-31 final record.
Steven Mazur (So., RHP; Hays Larks/Jayhawk League) - Continued ND's long tradition of having players on the Larks ... compiled 5.08 record and 3-2 record in 18 appearances (2 GS, 28.1 IP, SV, 24 H/2 HR/.226 opp. avg., 12 BB, 6 HB, 2 WP, 21 Ks) ... Hays went 34-17 overall and finished second in the league (29-15) before heading to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita ... the Larks opened at the NBC World Series with wins over the Denver Cougars (4-0) and the Colorado Bombers (12-2) before losing to the Havasu (Ariz.) Heat (7-11), followed by wins over the Seattle Studs (4-0), Junction City Generals (5-2), Derby Twins (5-3) and Crestwood (Ill.; 2-0), before losing the title game in a rematch with Havasu (2-14).
Wade Korpi (Sr., LHP; Staunton Braves/Valley League) - Korpi returned to the Braves and compiled a 3.52 ERA with a 3-3 record in 8 starts (46 IP, 36 H/4 HR/.211 opp. avg., 18 BB, HB, 2 WP, 49 Ks) ... Staunton placed fifth in the Valley League standings (24-20) before beating Winchester in the first playoff series (2 games to 1) and then losing the first two games to the Luray Wranglers.
Eric Maust (So., RHP; Delaware Cows/Great Lakes League) - Maust extended another recent trend of summer-league teams with ND players ... he went 1-2 with a pair of saves in nine relief appearances (6.23, 17.1 IP, 21 H/2 HR/.296 opp. avg., 9 BB, 2 HB, 15 Ks).
Tony Langford (Sr., RHP; Weatherford/Texas League) - Made five appearances, including three starts (4.30, 1-0, 23 IP, 27 H/.281 opp. avg., 5 BB, 12 Ks) ... team went 20-23 and placed fourth in the Rogers Hornsby Division.
David Mills (So., OF/LHP; Battle Creek Bombers/Northwoods League) - Played in nine games (.182, 2 RBI, 3 R, 4 H, 2 2B, 3 BB, 5 Ks)
Andrew Scheid (So., RHP; Dubois County Bombers/Central Illinois League) - Went 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in22 appearances (1 GS, SV, 37.1 IP, 24 H/HR/.186 opp. avg., 27 BB, 25 K, 7 WP, 4 HB) ... team went 27-23 to finish atop league standings.