If you were not aware that Stony Brook University had a Division I Championship baseball team which has just won a Regional Championship in Coral Gables, Florida and the Super Regional Tournament in Baton Rouge, La. by defeating the seventh ranked L.S.U. Tigers, in a deciding third game by a score of 7-2, don’t feel left out. Most of the college baseball world outside of The America East Conference, wasn’t aware of it either.
The country from San Diego to Florida and from Chicago to Louisiana is just waking up to it now. Coach Matt Senk who came to Stony Brook in 1991 when the Patriots, the former name for the Seawolves, were a Division III team has landed his squad in the College World Series in Omaha this year.
Let’s get caught up. Under the leadership of Coach Senk, the Stony Brook squad became a Division I team in 2000. Previously they were a Division III team. The Seawolves are the first New York team to make it to the College World Series since 1980 and the first Northeastern school to reach this level since 1986. Last year Stony Brook was the top seeded team in the America East conference tournament but lost in the championship round to Maine. They won the tournament the two consecutive years before that.
After winning the League Championship in May, the Seawolves team was invited to play in the Coral Gables Regional where they defeated Miami, the host club, in a thrilling third game and became only the second to open the tournament as a No. 4 seed in the regional round and make it to the College World Series. The team led by centerfielder Travis Jankowski, America East player of the year, Maxx Tissenbaum and catcher Pat Cantwell, went on to play powerhouse L.S.U. in the Super Regional Tournament in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In a stadium packed with over ten thousand raving L.S.U. fans, a team that seemed to come out of no where went on to defeat the L.S.U. Tigers by a score of seven to two. L.S.U. coach Paul Mainieri and his players certainly took notice of the Seawolves and recognized them as “legit,” and as good as anyone they play in the Southeastern conference.
This Cinderella team is chock full of talented and exciting players who know how to play the game both offensively and defensively. Seven of the teams players have been selected by M.L.B. teams in this year’s MLB draft.
Asked about his chances in the post season, Coach Matt Senk said “We are looking forward to the challenge and representing all of these institutions (America East colleges and universities) as best we can.” Questioned about his team’s strategy in the upcoming tournaments he said, “We play pitch and play defense and try to have quality at bats.”
They certainly do have quality at bats and quality players to match. Regardless of what happens in Omaha the Seawolves are our champions and give all of us on this part of the Island a good deal to cheer about.