TOWSON, Md. - With the end of the college baseball season, 19 members of the Tiger baseball team have scattered all over the East as they have joined summer leagues as they start their preparation for the 2013 season.
The Tigers, who used a strong finish to tie for fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2012, lose only four seniors from the 2012 team, providing Coach Mike Gottlieb with a strong nucleus entering next year.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Tigers needed to sweep James Madison to earn a berth in the CAA Tournament. They accomplished the sweep in dramatic style. After an 8-3 win in the series opener, the Tigers held on for an 11-10 victory in the second game of the series. On the final day of the regular season, the Tigers came from behind for a dramatic 5-4 victory over JMU in 10 innings. Towson tied the game in the ninth inning on a pinch-hit home run by Kurtis Voytell. The Tigers won in the tenth on a walk-off single by Pat Fitzgerald.
In the CAA Tournament, the Tigers dropped an 8-7 heart-breaker in 12 innings to Delaware, a team that reached the CAA finals. After bouncing back with a 16-8 win over George Mason, the Tigers were eliminated by Virginia Commonwealth, 14-9.
Nine of the Tigers are playing in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League this summer. Pitcher Mike Ryan and infielders Ryne Willard and Peter Bowles are teammates on the Rockville Express. Outfielder Dominic Fratantuono and first baseman Brendan Butler, two of the Tigers' leading hitters in 2012, are members of Youse's Orioles. Outfielder Kurt Wertz and pitcher Paul Beers are playing for the Silver Spring Thunderbolts while Mike Bronakoski is pitching for the Southern Maryland Nationals. Fitzgerald is playing for the Baltimore Redbirds.
Fratantuono and Butler have helped Youse's Orioles to a 3-1 start. They are two of the team's top hitters and run-producers. Fratantuono is hitting .357 with two doubles and two triples. He has a .786 slugging percentage and a .571 on-base percentage. Butler is hitting .429 and leads the Orioles with seven runs scored. He has drawn five walks and has four RBI's.
Willard is off to a strong start for the Express. In three games, he is hitting .417 with two doubles and a triple. Fitzgerald is one of the Redbirds' top hitters with a .300 batting mark.
In four appearances, Acker is 0-0 with a 4.50 E.R.A. In eight innings, he has 10 strikeouts and only two walks. Volpe leads River Bandits with a 2-0 record, helping them to a 5-4 start. He also has a team-leading 2.79 E.R.A.
Outfielder/pitcher Brandon Gonnella and pitcher Greg Baruka are playing for the Jersey Pilots of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. Pitcher Michael Trionfo, who led the CAA with 11 victories, is a member of the Riverhead Tomcats.
Baruka, a transfer from Kean who sat out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules, has earned a win and a save in the early season for the Pilots. Trionfo pitched four shutout innings in his debut for the Tomcats.
Pitcher Nick Cioffi is a member of the Oneonta Outlaws of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in New York.
Catcher Andrew Parker, who had 10 doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI's this season, is playing for the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs in the Coastal Plain League down south.
Infielder Zach Fisher and Voytell are both playing the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League. The Tigers' top hitter with a .333 batting average, Fisher is a member of the Putty Hill Panthers Blue while Voytell is playing for the Gaithersburg Giants Blue.
Voytell is off to a terrific start for the Giants Blue. In four games, he is batting .462 with five runs batted in.
Pitcher Christian Duclos, who missed the 2012 season with an injury, plans to play in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League.