Ruffnecks in Professional Baseball

Ruffnecks in Professional Baseball

Former Teammates, Coach Brickley, Meet in Spring Training Game

13’s & 14s Set to Open Season

13’s & 14s Set to Open Season

Intrasquad Game a Valuable Start

2019 Schedules Now Posted

2019 Schedules Now Posted

Full Speed Ahead for Season!

Ruffnecks in Professional Baseball

There are many former Ruffnecks who have played professional baseball.  We have yet to have an alum in a regular season Major League game.  Nevertheless, two highly rated prospects are currently in Triple A.  On Thursday, March 21st, they faced each other in a Spring Training game… Mets vs. Marlins.  Isan Diaz is the first Ruffnecks alumnus to be on a Major League 40-Man Roster.  He was a 2nd round draft pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Central High School in Springfield and on the strength of this Ruffnecks career.  His value as a young player is undisputed.  He was traded to Milwaukee and then from the Brewers to Miami in the deal that sent National League MVP, Christian Yelich from the Marlins to the Brewers.  Anytime a player is in a package for a future MVP, there is value!  Diaz played several years with the Ruffnecks and credits Coach Kirk Fredricks with kick-starting his ascent in baseball.  He would acknowledge that the “kick start” may have been a kick in the butt, but the talented Diaz appreciates the accountability that Fredericks delivered to his growth as a player.  Isan’s father, Raul Diaz, served the Ruffnecks program as the 13U coach in 2018, and all who came under his influence know why Isan has had good guidance and instruction.  We miss Coach Diaz.

Toffey, Coach Brickley, Diaz

In 2013, a young player named Will Toffey asked if he could join the Ruffnecks program.  He was a talented short stop (Isan’s position at the time) who had played against the Ruffnecks as a youngster.  Toffey’s older brother, John Toffey, is currently the Ruffnecks 17U “Senior” Head Coach, but at the time he was just a brother, serving as a coach at a New England prep school.  We informed Will that he was welcome to join the Ruffnecks, but we already had a short stop (Diaz).  If Will wanted to convert to 3B, we could make room.  It is a scenario that plays out often in our program… a program that does not field a “B” team, and remains loyal to its players who have worked hard to distinguish themselves.  Will Toffey willingly moved to 3B.  In the process he became a Ruffneck, through-and-through, putting himself behind the best interests of the TEAM.  The result was a scholarship offer to Vanderbilt University as a third baseman!  Toffey went on to start for Vandy, played in the College World Series, and had a stellar career.  Ironically, both Diaz and Toffey had offers to Vanderbilt, but Diaz signed out of high school (2nd round is understandable).  And… Toffey was never offered a baseball scholarship until AFTER the summer before his senior year in high school.  He was a multi-sport athlete (hockey and baseball) and was not on “baseball radars.”

Both Diaz and Toffey are among the top prospects to be the first Ruffnecks to get to the “Show.”  They are chased by another teammate, Paul Campbell (Clemson University), who came to the Ruffnecks as an infielder and became a pitcher, and now pitches in the Tampa Bay Rays system.  And while we rarely boast or speak about professional players (we are a college development program), we are pleased for these players’ success.  And for the young players in this program, all these prospects will tell you… They dreamed, but did not expect to be where they are.

Thursday, March 21st was a cool day for the Ruffnecks program when the Mets’ Will Toffey ran into the Marlins’ Isan Diaz.  Toffey’s brother and Ruffneck coach John Toffey, along with Coach John Brickley got to see the reunion.  We wish them the best!

13’s & 14s Set to Open Season

A Cold & Focused Bench!

Against a backdrop of leafless trees, under sunny skies, in “sweatshirt” temperatures, the 13U and 14U Ruffnecks played a full intrasquad game on Sunday, March 17th.  It was an opportunity for game-ready preparation for both squads as they look forward to Opening Weekend at Diamond Nation in New Jersey.  Both teams will compete in the 14U Division of the Diamond Nation Spring Invitational.  The Sunday scrimmage provided many correctable moments for the 13U Ruffnecks in their first real, competitive outing.  For the 14U Ruffnecks it was an opportunity to kick off the dust and to re-engage in game mentality.  The session was, by no means, the first time on a field during the winter of 2019.  Both teams have benefited from workouts at Boston College and Harvard University where indoor turf permits full-field drills and scrimmaging.  There have also been several practices on the NEBC Fields, which are kept clear during the late winter snowfalls.

14U Pitching Challenges 13’s

By definition, 14U pitching is stronger, faster, and more mature.  The nice part of a Ruffnecks vs. Ruffnecks scrimmage is the respect the 14s show to the 13s.  After all, the 14’s are fully aware that one year ago they were defined by the same challenges as the current incoming class of Ruffnecks 13’s.  Nevertheless, Coach Gedman has done an excellent job prepping the 13s throughout the winter’s weekly team hitting and open hitting sessions at NEBC.  14U pitchers Oisin Lee and Dimitri Skourides were particularly effective.  13U pitchers Nick Rucky and Isaac Lamson showed promise as well.  More importantly, the scrimmage was an opportunity to underscore the importance of performance with purpose, communication, and the satisfaction that comes with meeting the challenges of a long baseball season.

New Jersey Opener: March 23-24

13s & 14s Prep for Opener

The opening tournament in New Jersey is as much an exercise in building as it is in playing.  It begins the construction of roster combinations, depth, roles, and personal development for individual players on both squads.  It is also an important part of team building.  No matter what the personal successes or failures each player experiences, the trip to Diamond Nation provides an opportunity for team dynamic to develop and a team “personality” to emerge.  For the 13s, this is particularly valuable.  For the 14s, it is more like a reunion!  In both cases, it marks the beginning of a season that extends to the end of July when the weather will be much different than the cool temperatures expected over the next month or two.  Best of luck to both squads as they begin their Ruffnecks seasons.

The Week Ahead - Notices

(Updated Thursday, March 21 at 9:30am)

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

13U Will not practice Thurs., March 21.
14U practice as scheduled Thurs., March 21

Thursday, March 21
14U Ruffnecks Practice
at NEBC
6:00 to 6:15 Report Time

6:30 to 8:30 Practice

Weekend of March 22-24
13U & 14U at Diamond Nation
Flemington, NJ
Schedules available on Team Pages

Wednesday, March 27
13U Team Hitting
7:00 to 8:30
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