Archive | Alumni/Player News

Former ‘Neck, Isan Diaz, Continues to Succeed

Isan Diaz

The Milwaukee Brewers have named former Ruffneck, Isan Diaz, their 2016 Minor League Player of the Year.  The recognition continues a string of successes for the Springfield, Massachusetts native who came to the Ruffnecks as a 15 year old.  Diaz found the Ruffnecks when Dan Brookes, who was then the head coach of the Ruffnecks 18U squad, recognized his talent and interest in baseball while teaching at Springfield Central High School.  The Diaz family quickly embraced the Ruffnecks experience, though it was not without some frustrations for the young Diaz, who credits Brookes and Coach Kirk Fredericks for much of his growth and development.  Isan’s father, Raul, recently said, “None of this would have happened without the Ruffnecks.  We will always be thankful for the opportunity.”

Diaz led his Single A team, the Wisconsin Rattlers, in home runs and RBI.  He was recognized as an all-star during the minor league season for the second consecutive year.  He just turned 20 this past May, and the future looks bright for one of the top prospects in professional baseball.  A standout in high school, Isan Diaz, found his rhythm and was noticed during his time with the Ruffnecks.  He had intentions to do a PG year at Salisbury School, and then head to Vanderbilt, but becoming a second round supplemental pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the June draft of his senior year changed his course.  Arizona packaged Isan in a trade to Milwaukee at the end of last season.  He continues his ascent, and everyone in the Ruffnecks organization enjoys watching his growth and success.

Adam Ravenelle & Diaz in Arizona Fall League

Ravenelle at Vanderbilt 2015

Diaz joins another former Ruffneck player, Adam Ravenelle, on the roster of the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, which gets under way on October 11th.  The Arizona Fall League is Major League Baseball’s most select off-season developmental league for top MLB prospects.  Ravenelle and Diaz never played together with the Ruffnecks, and find themselves on the same roster by coincidence.  Ravenelle, a top pitching prospect for the Detroit Tigers, was a 5-year Ruffnecks player who began when he was 13.  He and Isan Diaz share some of the same baseball influences, namely Coach Fredericks, who continues to be one of the most respected coaches in the Ruffnecks organization, and in all of New England.  Coach Fredericks was Ravenelle’s high school coach at Lincoln-Sudbury.  “Fred” and former Ruffnecks pitching coach/coordinator, Matt Blake, were instrumental in Ravenelle’s development.  “Rav” went on to a terrific career at Vanderbilt University, closing out the 2015 Championship season on the mound for the Commodores.

We wish both a healthy and successful fall in Arizona.  And thanks for being Ruffnecks!

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Where Are They Now? Ruffnecks in College

Kevin Superko - Georgetown University

The Division I collegiate baseball season is under way, and Ruffnecks alums are all over the map, making contributions to their college squads.  Division II and III teams are also getting going, and we will provide an update for them following the March break, which customarily marks the beginning for D-III schedules.  Right now, let’s take a look at more than 20 former Ruffnecks who are currently playing in Division I schools.

Close to home, in the ACC, Jacob Stevens is making noise as a freshman at Boston College.  He leads the team in pitching, posting a 2-0 record in three starts.  In 18 plus innings, Stevens has 23 Ks and only 5 walks.  He threw six no-hit innings in BC’s only loss (he was not the pitcher of record).  Stevens’ ERA is 0.00 and opponents are hitting a paltry .119 off him.  Down south in the ACC, sophomore Paul Campbell continues to contribute to the Clemson University pitching staff as a reliever.  He is getting time out of the bullpen for the Tigers.  Sophomore Will Toffey (brother of Seniors Coach John Toffey) returns to the lineup for Vanderbilt University.  During the 2015 season Will was named Freshman All-American, Freshman All SEC, and SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Jacob Stevens - Boston College

Five former Ruffnecks are currently playing in the IVY League.  Senior Jake Levine is at Brown University where he earned Honorable Mention All-Ivy in 2015.  He led the team with a .343 batting average in IVY play, while posting a .331 average (2nd on the team) overall.  Thomas Crispi returns to the Columbia University pitching staff after an injury sidelined him all of 2015.  The 6′4″ left handed senior is off to a good start with a 1-0 record.  Keelan Smithers, likewise returns from a year of arm trouble to contribute to Princeton University’s pitching staff.  Sophomore Josh Ellis is the starting catcher for Harvard University.  The speedy catcher is currently batting .400 for the 2-2 Crimson.  Freshman Jake Nelson notched his first win pitching for the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Sunday, March 6 against North Florida.

A.J. Zarozny leads an explosive Bryant University offense in the Northeast Conference.  In ten games he is batting .389 with 6 doubles.  Also in the NEC, Jake Friar is contributing as a catcher at Sacred Heart University.  Three former Ruffnecks populate the roster at UMass-Amherst: Mike Geannelis, Matt Hosman, and Mitchell Page. Across the state, at UMass-Lowell, freshman Kendall Pomeroy is set to contribute to the pitching staff.  In the Big East Conference, the Ruffnecks are represented in three schools.  Senior Curtiss Pomeroy is a converted pitcher at Georgetown University.  He is joined on the staff by sophomore right hander Kevin Superko.  Freshman Matt Messier has already logged some innings for St. John’s University, while Woody Bryson is contributing to the Villanova University pitching staff.  Jacob Lamb is off to a good start for the University of Richmond.  The freshman is 1-0 in two appearances with a 0.00 ERA.  Wills Montgomerie is 1-0 in three starts for the UCONN HuskiesCam Walsh is getting some early season experience as a freshman outfielder for Northeastern University, while George Hewitt is a freshman on the roster at the University of Michigan.

These are some of the many Ruffnecks players who have gone on to play baseball at the collegiate level.  In a few weeks we will post an update from the ranks of Division II and III, where numerous other Ruffnecks players have advanced to top academic schools.  We wish all our Ruffnecks alums a healthy and prosperous 2016 baseball season.

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Fall Baseball Notices

(Updated Friday, Nov. 16 at 2:00pm)


Ruffnecks Banquet
Monday, Nov. 19

6:00 - 6:30  Arrival and Mix
6:30 - 7:00  Dinner Served
7:00 - 8:15  Program
8:30             Evening Ends

Ruffnecks Banquet - Monday, Nov. 19

Click HERE to Download Registration Form

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