Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Kivlehan keeps baseball close to his heart

Pat Kivlehan, ready for second pro season
Pat Kivlehan, ready for second pro season

        Valentine’s Day can mean many things to many people. Consider 24-year-old Pat Kivlehan of West Nyack.

“I’m leaving Valentine’s Day, going to Peoria, Arizona, for spring training,” the Rutgers University alum said on the cusp of his second full season playing professional baseball.

Kivlehan, who was a Big East selection in football and the Big East MVP in baseball in his senior year for the Scarlet Knights, will be joining 20 top-rated minor-league prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization at a special mini-camp that begins in early March.

The mini-camp is scheduled to run until April 1 when Kivlehan will receive his marching orders – perhaps a return to the High Desert Mavericks, a Class A – Advanced team in the California League, or possibly another promotion to Class AA.

Kivlehan batted a robust .320 in 68 games for the Mavericks last season, fourth-best on the team, after being elevated from the short-season Class A Everett (Wash.) AquaSox in the Northwest League. He also knocked in 59 runs, scored 48, belted 13 homers and 13 doubles, and stole 65 bases.

“They’ll tell me where I’m going, but wherever it is I definitely feel more comfortable now,” Kivlehan continued. “I’ve always been able to adjust, to let loose and just play. Double A would be awesome, but it’s not my call. I’ll just keep working hard and it will fall into place.”

Kivlehan played four years of football at Rutgers, and only added baseball in his senior season to complete a rare double, but football is no longer a career path. Not that he’s lost interest in the sport, being a dedicated Giants fan, and not that he didn’t have a rooting interest in the recent lopsided Super Bowl.

“I watched the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t much of a game unless you were a Seahawks fan,” said Kivlehan, who had a particular rooting interest.

“When I played my first year of pro ball last season my host family, they are huge Seahawks fans. This Christmas they sent me a Seahawks jersey, so I had to root for the Seahawks,” Kivlehan admitted.

Kivlehan, a steadily improving third baseman who had 12 errors with the Mavericks, does not see himself becoming a career minor-leaguer but has not placed a timetable on reaching the big leagues.

“No, definitely, I have no certain time limit. If I’m playing well and know I’m playing well, I’ll keep playing,” he said. “If not, I’ll quit … won’t hang on.”

Lorne Marcus, has STAC on the run
Lorne Marcus, has STAC on the run

STILL RUNNING: Freshman Tiana Kirkland of New City helped produce a third-place showing in the 4×200 relay as the St. Thomas Aquinas College women’s track and field team had a program-best fifth-place finish at the CTC Championships in Middletown, Conn.  Freshman Katie O’Grady of Tomkins Cove sparked the Lady Spartans, as the North Rockland HS alumna opened the day by taking third in the 5,000 meters in a time of 20:09.11.   Allison Borriello of Montgomery won the 500 in a time of 1:20.19 while Tappan Zee HS graduate  Meagan Jaskot of Blauvelt led all milers with a time of 5:32.11 as well as being part of the DMR team of Meghan Ventarolla of Monroe, Keeley Bateman of Pearl River and Gina Funaro of Queens that took third in 13:36.90. The veteran senior Bateman also was runner-up in the 1,000 with a time of 3:11.44. Gabriela Sloezen of Westwood, N.J., hit a school record in the 400 with a time 1:00.42 in the 400 finishing third overall.  Kirland, who ran the second leg in the 4×200, was joined by Kaitlyn Mancini of Merrick, and Catherine Sandkuhl and Breanna Lyn, both of North Babylon. For the men, Spring Valley H?S graduate Winslow Dorsainvil of Monsey won the 60 in a time of 6.87 while Garvenchy Nicolas of Brooklyn won the 800 in 1:59.92.  The DMR team of Matt Buell of Staten Island, Sammy Abdallatif of Nanuet, Stephen McNiff of Middletown and Joe Chegwidden of Hamburg, N.J., took third in a time of 10:58.16.  The Spartans, ranked eighth in the East region under the direction of Coach Lorne Marcus, split up on February 14 to compete at the Molloy College Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington and the Lafayette/Rider Games at the New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights.

IN THE CIRCLE: Seton Hall softball pitcher Danielle DeStaso of Congers, a junior out of Clarkstown North HS,  is already in action as the Pirates have opened a 26-game road trip to Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada. The Pirates, picked to finish sixth in the Big East in a preseason poll, are competing at the Campbell Stampede Tournament in Buies Creek, N.C., the UNC Charlotte First Pitch Classic in Charlotte, the Arizona State Diamond Devil Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., the UNLV Eller Stadium Classic in Las Vegas, the USF Showcase in Clearwater, Fla., and the City of Clearwater Spring Invitational. DeStaso posted a 4.13 ERA in 173 innings last season to earn second-team all-Big East recognition, batting .333 with 37 RBI and 16 runs. The Pirates are scheduled to open the home season on March 22 with a doubleheader against Providence College in South Orange, N.J.

Devona Paul, defensive standout at Plattsburgh State
Devona Paul, defensive standout at Plattsburgh State

QUICK HITTERS: Right-handed pitcher Michael Scarinci of Nanuet is preparing for his junior season on the Manhattan College baseball team. Scarinci, an alum of Pearl River HS, posted a third-best 3.77 ERA with a 2-3 record last season for the Jaspers, who went 24-28. Scarinci appeared in 17 games, with one start. Manhattan opens a 12-game trip on Feb. 21 at the Campbell Invitational in Buies Creek, N.C., and also travels to Florida and Arizona before returning east to meet NYIT on March 12 in Old Westbury, L.I. The Jaspers then play three games in South Orange, N.J., against Seton Hall University on March 14-15-16. … Taylor Corretjer of Thiells, an alumna of North Rockland HS, is a junior second baseman on the St. Peter’s College softball team, which opens a 17-game southern swing on March 1 with four games scheduled at the Coastal Carolina Invitational. … Jean Gibson of Ramapo is a sprinter on the St. Peter’s College men’s track and field team, which competes at the Manhattan Tri Meet on February 14-15. … Clarkstown North HS alum Paul Fields of New City pinned his opponent in five minutes, 44 seconds at 125 pounds to open the competition as the nationally fifth-ranked Cortland wrestling team overwhelmed host Oswego, 40-8. In the Red Dragons’ home finale, a 37-12 conquest of Wesleyan University, Fields moved up to 133 pounds, recorded a first-period takedown, a third-period reversal and posted a 4-2 victory.  The vanquished Cardinals will host the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional qualifiers March 1-2 in Middletown, Conn. The Red Dragons (12-3) visit Ithaca College at 7 p.m. on February 19 in a final tune-up. …Tappan Zee HS alumna Devona Paul, a sophomore forward, and Pearl River HS graduate Jessica Dolan are members of the formidable women’s basketball team at Plattsburgh State. Paul, who is averaging 10 points per game, is second on the Cardinals with six rebounds per game, and is leading the club with 28 blocks. Dolan, slowly breaking the lineup as a freshman forward, is averaging three points and three rebounds per game. The Cardinals, who posted an impressive 16-4 record through 20 games, host Cortland at 6 p.m. on February 14, and stay home on February 15 to meet Oswego State at 2 p.m. … Senior stalwart KC Jentzen of Pearl River led two Lady Chargers in double figures with 23 points and added eight rebounds as the Dominican College women’s basketball squad improved to 9-12 overall and 7-7 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference with a 78-67 victory over the visiting Wildcats of Wilmington University. Dominican travels to Philadelphia on February 15 to challenge the University of the Sciences at 1 p.m. … Lisa Oakes of Suffern, a product of Galaxy Gymnastics in Orangeburg, is competing her senior season on the nationally well-regarded University of Bridgeport women’s gymnastics team. The Purple Knights, under veteran coach Byron Knox, have won five

Mike Cruz
Mike Cruz

USAG national titles, and in 2013 became only the second Division II program in history to make the NCAA’s. Bridgeport visits the University of Nebraska on February 23, along with Kentucky and University of Wisconsin-Stout, and will join Michigan and Yale at Penn State on February 28. … Junior guard Joe Clinton of Pearl River had a game leading eight assists with seven points and five rebounds as the Dominican College men’s basketball team defeated the visiting Wildcats of Wilmington University, 90-77, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action. The Chargers, who improved to 14-7 overall and 10-4 in the conference, travel to the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia on February 15. …SUNY Cortland freshman Mike Cruz of West Haverstraw, an alum of North Rockland HS, placed sixth in the triple jump (41 feet 3 inches) at the Brockport Golden Eagle Invitational. Meanwhile, at the Boston University Valentine Invitational, sophomore Evan Greenberg of Suffern was a member of one of two 4×400-meter relay teams that met ECAC qualifying times. … Allison Haugh of New City, a standout on the Rockland Community College women’s basketball team, was named Mid-Hudson Conference athlete of the week after leading the Hawks to a 2-1 record. Haugh scored 14 points and recorded six assists in a 74-66 setback to Region-leading Sullivan, then scored 22 points with eight assists in a 70-55 win over LaGuardia.  In a 96-68 victory over bridge-rival Westchester CC, the Clarkstown South graduate poured in 33 points and dished out 10 assists.

Allison Haugh, RCC standout
Allison Haugh, RCC standout

THIS & THAT: The U.S. women’s ice hockey team breezed past Switzerland, 9-0, at the Sochi Olympic Games, with defenseman Josephine Pucci of Pearl River picking up an assist. The U.S. beat Finland, 3-1, in the opening round. Canada, considered the primary rival to the U.S. team, blanked Finland, 3-0, in its second qualifying-round game. … Clarkstown South HS lineman Eric Margolis Jr. has signed a letter of intent to play at Division I Rutgers University. Coached by Mike Scarpelli, the 6-4, 210-pound wide receiver/safety reportedly selected the Scarlet Knights over offers from Rhode Island and Maine.