Feb. 20, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - MIT junior infielder Stewart Park and freshman pitchers Chris Vaughan and Torre Swanson have been invited to play in the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL). All three have officially signed contracts to play for the Albany Dutchmen, based out of Albany, New York.
"This is obviously a huge honor for these three student-athletes and its great recognition for the program," said head coach Andy Barlow. "I know that each one of them will take advantage of this tremendous opportunity."
Park, who hails from Brooklyn, New York and Xaverian High School, has started nearly every game of his two-year career with MIT and is the Engineers' catalyst on offense. Last season he earned NEWMAC First Team All-Conference honors and ranked fourth in the nation in stolen bases per game (.94). Park is also a tremendously gifted defensive player who will make the switch to second base in 2009 after serving two years as MIT's starting shortstop. Park is majoring in mechanical engineering and management.
Vaughan, a 6'6" right-handed pitcher from Fort Worth, Texas, showed this past fall that he was more than ready to compete for weekend conference assignments. He comes to MIT after earning District 7-4A Most Valuable Player honors as well as First Team All-District honors both his junior and senior years. Vaughan compiled an impressive 14-3 win-loss record during his varsity career for baseball powerhouse Arlington Heights. Vaughan is planning to major in brain and cognitive sciences.
Swanson, like Vaughan, also enjoyed a terrific fall season and will be an immediate contributor this upcoming spring. The hard-throwing right-hander from Redding, California and Redding High School enjoyed a tremendous high school campaign. In addition to honorable mention All-State and First Team All-League honors his senior year, he also earned the distinction of Record Searchlight Most Valuable Player of the section. Swanson is planning to major in economics.
The NYCBL, founded in 1978, is a summer wood bat developmental league for professional baseball. Major League Baseball funds a small portion of the leagues annual budget. The league affords college players the opportunity to develop their skills at a higher level of play, gain experience with wood bats, and be evaluated by scouts. The NYCBL is located in scenic Upstate New York.
The NYCBL, like the Cape Cod League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), has seen many of its players go on to play professional baseball. Currently 11 NYCBL alumni are on active Major League Baseball rosters including Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros, Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves.
Each of the NYCBL's 14 teams play a 44 game regular season schedule with games beginning in June and ending in the last week in July. All games are nine innings, with most doubleheaders scheduled on the weekends. The All-Star game is played in early July, and the League Championship Series concludes in the first week of August.
MIT, which has enjoyed a rich 60-year history of intercollegiate baseball, has seen many of its players participate in competitive summer leagues. The most notable invitation was Jason Szuminski '00 who spent the summer of 1999 with the Newport Gulls of the NECBL. Szuminski, a right-handed pitcher, went on to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and cracked the San Diego Padres roster in 2004 becoming the first MIT Engineer to make it to the big-leagues.
Over the past few seasons, MIT Baseball has experienced unprecedented team success. In 2006 the Engineers advanced to their first-ever conference championship game where they were defeated by No. 2 nationally-ranked Wheaton College, which was the runner-up in the NCAA Division III World Series. During the course of the regular season MIT defeated defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater, nationally-ranked Southern Maine, as well as perennial powerhouse Williams College en route to a 21-14 season and an at-large bid to the ECAC New England Region Championship. In 2007 and 2008, the Engineers continued to make history as they established program records by finishing third or better in the NEWMAC during the conference's regular season and post-season tournament. The consecutive semifinals appearances allowed MIT to fall just two games short of qualifying for the NCAA New England Regional Tournament.
For more information on the New York Collegiate Baseball League and the Albany Dutchmen, visit www.nycbl.com.
Albany Dutchmen News Clip and Article from WNYT News Channel 13 (NBC Affiliate in Albany, New York): www.wnyt.com/article/stories/S803471.shtml?cat=300.