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Alumni Focus – Joe Simourian – Navy

Simourian, 3rd from left with teammates in '17

We should have instituted a regular “Alumni Focus” blog long ago.  After 16 years of Ruffnecks baseball there are plenty of distinguished alums.  Many are currently in college and professional baseball.  Others are out in the work force, having completed college careers, some with stints in pro ball.  These alums are leading productive lives in a variety of professional endeavors.  During the college season, we will attempt to provide a featured alum once a week.  Once we get into our summer schedule, it may be less often.  Although we have featured stories about Ruffnecks alums in the past, our intent in providing a regular story is to encourage our current players, parents, and friends to read about some of the players we have shared time with in the program.  With no false humility, the Ruffnecks do not take credit for their success.  Each player benefited from the influence of many in their journey.  And each succeeded by virtue of his own resolve, dedication, goal setting, and resilience.

Joseph Simourian – NAVY ‘22

Joe Simourian at Navy

It seems appropriate to recognize a recent Ruffnecks grad who chose to attend the United States Naval Academy for his college career.  Such a commitment is never an easy consideration.  It involves an understanding that a five year military obligation follows the player’s college baseball career.  That is a long time to an 18 year old looking into the future.  It takes considerable resolve and self awareness.  Joe Simourian was a 5 year Ruffneck, beginning his career, like most, in the 13U program.  His older brother, John, was also a Ruffneck (currently playing at Georgetown).  Joe was a three sport athlete at Phillips Academy (Andover).  He also lettered in football and hockey.  As a freshman at Navy, Joe is currently hitting .328 and earning his time in the lineup.  Life as a new Midshipman is not easy, and Joe balances the demands of military training, classroom work, and being a Division I athlete.  Joe is a Johnny Pesky Teammate Award winner (as was his brother). It is the only personal award or recognition the Ruffnecks program confers on players.  Joe is a keen competitor and a devoted teammate and family person.  It is no surprise that he chose to attend Navy.  As such, it is no surprise that we should acknowledge Joe in our first, regular, Alumni Focus.

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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!

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2019 Ruffnecks Fall Baseball

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13U Fall Baseball Registration remains open.  Limited spots still available.  HS Wood and College Prep close on August 17th.

The Week Ahead - Notices

(Updated Monday, August 5 at 8:00am)


Season is OVER!

Thank you to all players, families, and our worthy opponents.

Fall Baseball Begins
September 7-8

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