Leading off today:
The Gazette in Schenectady did a brief feature this week on a pair of stellar athletes
at Shenendehowa who have been friends for more than a decade, having launched their athletic careers together in youth baseball as 7-year-olds.
The two took turns pitching for their team. On the days they weren't on the mound, they played shortstop.
"I'll tell you what, it was a heck of a group," said Bob Anderson, who helped coach the travel team back then. "The success of that whole group has continued all the way through, too."
Kevin Huerter led Shen to a NYSPHSAA basketball championship as a junior in 2015 and then swept the state's major player of the year awards as a senior. His career will continue next fall at the University of Maryland.
On Thursday, we will get a better idea about baseball star Ian Anderson's future. The senior pitcher, compared favorably to just about any high school pitcher to come out of the Northeast so far this century, already has a scholarship waiting for him at Vanderbilt but is also projected as a first-round selection in Thursday's Major League Baseball draft.
Mock drafts early in the year had Anderson as a potential top-five pick. Even "pessimistic" projections in the past week still have him being taken in the top half of the first round 36 hours before he leads the Plainsmen into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals. Baseball America has Anderson going to the Cleveland Indians at No. 14.
A year ago, Niskayuna outfielder Garrett Whitley went to the Tampa Bay Rays with the No. 13 overall pick and turned pro soon thereafter after having previously committing to play at Wake Forest. His signing bonus was reported to be in the neighborhood of $3 million.
No New York high school senior had been taken with such a lofty pick since the Cleveland Indians drafted Manny Ramirez out of George Washington High in New York City with the 13th pick in 1991. Another NYC star, Thomas Jefferson's Shawon Dunston, was taken first overall by the Chicago Cubs in 1982, making him the only New York senior to earn that distinction.
New York high schools have not produced a top-10 pick since Dunston. The earliest picks behind Dunston since the draft began in 1965 are:
- No. 2, Rick Manning (Niagara LaSalle), Cleveland Indians, 1972
- No. 3, Martin Cott (Buffalo Hutch Tech), Houston Astros, 1968
- No. 3, Tommy Bianco (Sewanhaka), Milwaukee Brewers, 1971
- No. 4, Tim Cole (Saugerties), Atlanta Braves 1977
- No. 5, Richard O'Keefe (Yorktown Heights), Brewers, 1975
- No. 6, Andy Van Slyke (New Hartford), St. Louis Cardinals, 1979
Only nine New York high school seniors have been taken in the top 10. Until Whitley last spring, the last player selected in the top 20 was Marlboro outfielder Dee Brown at No. 14 by the Kansas City Royals in 1996.
The 1971 draft was the state's high-water mark, with four prospects taken in the first 18 picks. Besides Bianco, Ed Kurpiel of Archbishop Molloy went to the Cardinals at No. 8, Tom Veryzer (Islip) was taken 11th by the Detroit Tigers and Frank Riccelli (Syracuse CBA) was scooped up by the San Francisco Giants at No. 18.
(Editor's note: The info above deals strictly with high school prospects. Any number of New York products ended up being drafted in the first round out of junior college or four-year schools, but there isn't a readily available source that allows us to easily identify them.)
CHSAA baseball: Iona Prep is heading to the CHSAA Class AA championship series for the first time since 2012 after defeating defending champ Monsignor Farrell 3-0 on Tuesday.
Senior Joe LaSorsa, who threw a no-hitter against Xaverian last week, spun a three-hitter. The St. John's-bound left-hander struck out 11 batters.
Michael Gorman, who drove in three runs Monday in a win over Kennedy Catholic, drove in two more with a pair of hits vs. Farrell.
The Gaels will play Friday against an opponent that is yet to be determined.