Baseball – St. Rose Alum Gammond Headlines Shore Contigent in ABCCL All-Star Game
LAKEWOOD - In only a small helping of at-bats and innings in the field - primarily playing third base - Monmouth University infielder Conor Gammond found that in order to take the next step and elevate himself to a regular in the Hawks lineup, he just needed to slow the game down.
This summer while playing for the Ocean Giants in the Atlantic Baseball Confederation Collegiate League, Gammond has the look of a player who has slowed the game down and could in turn be a fast riser on the Monmouth depth chart.
"It's a lot different (from the college season) because I'm out there every day, getting my work in and getting at-bats," Gammond said. "Obviously that's a lot more fun, but I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now without watching and competing with the guys ahead of me at Monmouth."
The St. Rose alumnus, who will officially be a sophomore for the Hawks next season, led off for the Larry Doby All-Star squad in the 2016 ABCCL Captain Ryan K. Iannelli All-Star Game Thursday night and Lakewood and was one of several Shore players to make an impact on Team Doby's 13-7 win over the Yogi Berra All-Stars.
Gammond went 1-for-2 with a walk, run scored and a go-ahead RBI single in the fourth inning to give Team Doby the lead for good - all while playing a clean shortstop. He was the leadoff hitter for Team Berra thanks to a season batting average of .412 that ranks third among all players in the league with at least 30 plate appearances.
"I think I've had a really good chance to get better (this summer)," Gammond said. "I'm out there every day, playing a bunch of positions and I can learn from that instead of going through the motions."
During his first season at Monmouth, Gammond logged 17 games - including two starts - and hit 4-for-18 (.222) with a double.
"Being out there every day, getting my work in, it gives me a chance to take it back to school in the fall," Gammond said. "I like where I'm at. I feel comfortable now, going into my sophomore year at Monmouth, I can learn from what I've done in summer and take it with me.
"I love the competition (at Monmouth). That's what it's all about. You have a bunch of good players, pushing each other to get better and even when you're on the bench, the guys ahead of you are pushing you to get better for when you do get those opportunities. That competition makes you a better ballplayer and it makes you hungrier to work harder."
Gammond was one of nine position players hailing from Shore Conference schools to get an at-bat for Team Doby and seven of the nine reached base - five with a hit. Jason Lundy (Freehold Boro/Fordham), Nick Panissidi (Donovan Catholic/Neumann), Matt Tancredi (Wall/Washington College) each picked up a single and Manchester alum and Montclair State University catcher Aaron Kane laced a triple to lead off the third inning. Kane scored on an RBI ground out by Tom McCarthy which gave Team Doby a 5-4 lead at the time.
Like Gammond, Kane is also enjoying a standout summer at the plate, hitting .370 with a league-high six home runs to go with 15 RBI.
Steve Santigate (Marlboro/Kean) and Ryan Shiffer (Toms River South/Bloomsburg) each reached on a walk as well, while Mike Miraglia (Toms River North/Drew) and Ty Hawkins (Manasquan/OCC) each saw time as well.
Bobby Patterson (Wall/Penn State-Harrisburg) and Ajay Kawa (Manalapan/Kean) each threw an inning on the mound as well for the Doby All-Stars.
The Shore Conference also had plenty of representation on the Berra side as well. Joe Rotelli (St. John Vianney/Brookdale) was the lone Shore alumni in the starting lineup but made an impact in the third inning with a game-tying RBI double to deep center field. A runner was also thrown out at the plate on the play because the lead runner at second base tagged up on the play and the trail runner at first had to slow down before nearly passed him on the basepaths.
Rotelli's high school teammate and current Rutgers catcher Anthony Santoro also chipped in an RBI single and a run scored in the seventh inning, which help cut the Doby lead to 8-7. Joe Iacobellis (Red Bank Catholic/Alvernia) also represented the Shore on Team Berra and reached on an error in the sixth. St. Rose grad Andrew Aikins (Skidmore) was the lone Shore representative to pitch for Berra, with the right-hander tossing the ninth inning.
Center fielder Austin Chaszar (Bordentown/Keystone) earned the MVP award for the game despite playing on the losing side. Chaszar went 2-for-3 with two doubles - including a three-run double that tied the game in the second - and a slick, sliding catch in center field in the second.