BY MARC MATURO
Ex-Red Raiders ace Wirchansky is Player of the Year
Southpaw Dan Wirchansky of Stony Point already exhibited high-collegiate talent at North Rockland High School, and his performance as a rookie on the diamond at Rockland Community College did nothing this season to lessen the expectations.
“He certainly has the ability to pitch at a Division I college, but it’s all up to him,” observes Hawks coach John Greeley, also of Stony Point, adding that the ace left-hander certainly deserved the honors he received as Player of the Year in the Mid-Hudson Conference and a first-team selection in Region XV.
RCC went 14-6 this season, finally being eliminated 7-4 by rival Westchester CC in the regional semifinals of the championship tournament.
“It was a tight game and could have gone either way. We didn’t have a bad season, and it looks even better (for) next year,” added Greeley.
Wirchansky, who might elect to stay close to home following his stay at RCC, made the all-Region first team as a pitcher/first basemen and is expected to play summer ball with the North Jersey Eagles in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.
On the mound he went 4-1 in the region, with a 3.12 ERA, striking out 73 and walking 16 in 58 innings. When playing first base, Kirchansky batted .372 in 29 games, with eight doubles, two triples, two homers, 25 RBI and 22 runs.
On those occasions when Wirchansky worked on the hill Jonathan Malm of Suffern was the Hawks’ first baseman, and did so well enough to earn a Gold Glove along with second-team honors.
Shortstop Kevin Hylas, also of Stony Point and another North Rockland HS alum, made the all-Region team and earned Gold Glove honors.
“He was an all-Region center fielder last year, but we needed him at shortstop this year,” Coach Greeley said, noting that Hylas is bound for SUNY Oswego.
Other honorees include Gold Glove winner Mick O’Connor, a second baseman from Nanuet; Gold Glove left fielder Anthony Giakas of Staten Island, who is bound for Adelphi; North Rockland graduate Brandon Martinez of Haverstraw, a Gold Glove third basemen who expects to play at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.; and second-team selection Tanner Morales, a second-team all-Region hurler out of North Rockland H.S.
Silvestri sparkles: Sophomore goalkeeper Alissa Silvestri of Congers was named the most outstanding player after the Pace University women’s lacrosse team defeated host Mercy College, 13-3, in Dobbs Ferry in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II title game. Silvestri, an alumna of Clarkstown North High School, stopped 10 shots in a stellar effort between the pipes as Pace nailed down its first ECAC crown in just the program’s second year. Sophomore Abby Haimson of Montville, N.J., had five assists and two goals to finish the season with team-highs of 54 goals and 71 points. Another asset for the Setters, who finished at 10-8, was sophomore midfielder Angela Kelly of Garnerville.
Sun sets on Setters, but not Kukura: The Pace University baseball team saw its Northeast-10 Conference Championship run come to a close following a 7-3 loss to The College of Saint Rose in Rindge, N.H., but outfielder John Kukura of New City had an outstanding year as the Setters finished 30-22. Kukura led Pace in four offensive categories and was third in RBI with 33. The junior, who has been selected to the all-Region squad, accumulated 70 hits, 14 doubles, eight triples, 41 runs, 14 stolen bases, a .529 slugging percentage and a .414 on-base percentage. He placed second in the conference in both hits and triples, and tied for sixth in doubles. The Setters’ primary leadoff hitter, who batted an .437 when leading off an inning, was also clutch in the clutch, hitting .412 with runners on base. Kukura was also clutch with the glove in center field as Pace stunned nationally ranked and host Franklin Pierce University, 2-1, in the opener of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship weekend. Kukura made an exceptional play in the outfield to support the pitching of MLB prospect Josh Garran of Old Tappan, who threw 161 pitches – that’s right, 161 – in his nine-inning gem. Tied at 1-1 in the last of the eighth, Kukura sprinted full speed toward the wall, catching the ball right before crashing into the chain-link fence for an amazing play to end the inning. For good measure Kukura then scored the winning run in the top of the ninth after doubling with one out, and scoring on a single by Andrew Coffey of Greenwich, Conn.
Monaghan player of the year: Senior Tara Monaghan of Stony Point, after being named SUNYAC player of the year in women’s lacrosse, recorded two goals and one assist as nationally top-ranked Cortland held Keene State scoreless for the first 57 minutes, 40 seconds and posted a 17-1 victory in the second round of the Division III national tournament. Cortland later advanced to the national semifinals with a 18-2 victory over Catholic University as Monaghan, an alumna of North Rockland HS, finished with two goals, three ground balls, three draws and three caused turnovers. She leads the unbeaten (21-0) Red Dragons in ground balls (50) and ranks third in scoring with 76 goals and 14 assists. Cortland meets Middlebury College on May 28 in the national semifinals at Talen Energy Field in Chester, Pa., in a rematch of last year’s penultimate showdown.
CHARGERS RISE TO THIRD: The Dominican College men’s outdoor track-and-field team, with only one entrant in the field events, showed surprising firepower on the track to finish third at the CACC Championship meet at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. “We had eight guys down with injuries and the host team covered all the (field) events, so taking third is very good. And all our guys are coming back,” said Coach Jamie Kempton of Nanuet, after completing the program’s first outdoor season. “This is something to build on for next year.” Seth Wilson of Monroe-Woodbury HS was a double winner in the 100 and 200, while Andrew Pierre of Spring Valley was second in the 100 and Michael Merced of Pearl River was runner-up in the 200 and won the 400, finishing just ahead of teammate DeCarlo Richards of New City. Richards was also second in the long jump and led off the victorious 4×100 relay that included Pierre, Wilson and Clarkstown South HS alum Dylan Roadarmel of New City.
COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Rockland Community College golfers Nick Armstrong of Saugerties and Sean Clohessey of Cornwall were named to the all-Mid-Hudson Conference team. Armstrong is the Hawks’ top choice for veteran Coach Tom Craffrey today and tomorrow (May 19-20) at the National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament, scheduled to be held at Phillip J. Rotella Memorial Golf Course in Thiells. The Hawks were to tee off early this morning, and are scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. on Friday. Armstrong’s uncle is said to have played under former coach Howie Pierson when RCC was a Division I program, while Clohessey is best appreciated for his exploits as a hockey goalkeeper, having already earned a scholarship to DI Siena College in Albany. … Dominican College men’s senior lacrosse players Conor Reeves of Tappan and Peter Blickley of Pearl River were honored at a halftime ceremony during the Chargers’ final game of the season at the Torne Valley Sports Complex in Hillburn. … Clarkstown North HS alum Malcolm Nails of New City completed his sophomore season as an outfielder on the Susquehana (Pa.) baseball team, which closed its season at 33-16, the best in program history. Nails saw limited playing time in a star-studded lineup, batting .167 in nine games with one starting nod. … Senior right-hander Alex Fishberg of Suffern went 3-3 with a 1.75 ERA, allowing no home runs, as the Iona College baseball team posted a 10-37 record. Fishberg held opposing batters to a .183 batting average over 36 innings. Teammate Matt Flannery of Pearl River, a graduate of Nanuet HS, saw action in 20 games as an infielder, with eight starts, knocking in two runs and batting .108.