Marc Maturo’s official sports column
West Nyack’s Kivlehan honored by Arizona Fall League
Of Congers also
Former Rutgers University two-sport standout Pat Kivlehan of West Nyack continues to meet every challenge as he climbs closer to an opportunity in the big leagues of Major League Baseball.
Kivlehan – who was a solid defensive player for the Scarlet Knights on the gridiron and then the Big East’s MVP in baseball in his only season on the diamond as a senior — was named the recipient of the Arizona Fall League’s Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.
In addition to his character and leadership, the 24-year-old Kivlehan, who played first base and third base for the Surprise Saguaros, knocked in 22 runs to lead the AFL and ranked third in runs scored with 18.
For the six-week fall season, Kivlehan batted .280 with four home runs, 44 total bases, a .387 on-base percentage and a .473 slugging percentage.
“It was a real honor winning the (Dernell Stenson) award because you know what it stands for,” Kivlehan was quoted as saying. “I try to always treat people the right way on and off the field because someday baseball is going to end for everybody. I want to be remembered as being a good person and teammate just as much as I want to be remembered as a good ball player.”
Playing for Seattle’s Southern League Double-A affiliate Jackson Generals in 2014, Kivlehan batted .300, with 23 doubles, seven triples, 11 home runs and 68 RBI in 104 games. Kivlehan, who has been showcased at various positions, was the Southern League’s top utility player appearing in games at five spots on the diamond.
Kivlehan’s performance in Arizona this fall was a huge improvement over 2013 when the 6-foot-2, right-handed hitter batted just .164.
“I felt comfortable out there (this year),” added Kivlehan. “I think my exposure to this league last year really helped me prepare myself going into this year. I didn’t want to worry about stats because the fall league is only a small sample side. I just wanted to go out there and have fun, work on things I needed to work on at first base, have as many quality at-bats as possible and make some friends from other organizations.”
Regarded as Seattle’s No. 6 prospect by MLB.com, the three-year professional was a fourth-round (131st overall) selection by the Mariners in the 2012 draft out of Rutgers. In three minor-league seasons, Kivlehan owns a .299 composite batting average with 48 homers, 245 RBI, .366 on-base percentage and .491 slugging percentage in 338 games at Single-A and Double-A.
With the Mariners in need of a right-handed power hitter, Kivlehan is expected to open the 2015 campaign at Triple-A Tacoma as he keeps working his way up the ladder.
Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award — The Fall League instituted the award in 2004 in memory of former AFL player Dernell Stenson, who was killed in 2003 in Arizona during the AFL season. Stenson played for the Grand Canyon Rafters in 1998 and was playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions at the time of his death. The award is presented annually to the Fall League player who best exemplifies unselfishness, hard work and leadership. The manager and coaching staff from each of the six Fall League teams nominate one player for the award.
O’Grady making his pitch: Another AFL success story was southpaw pitcher Chris O’Grady of Congers, an Angels prospect who is expected to open the 2015 season at Double-A Arkansas as a left-handed bullpen specialist. O’Grady was drafted in the 10th round out of George Mason University, where he adapted to his role as a reliever. He has adapted as well as a professional following brief experiments as a starter. O’Grady has held left-handed batters to a .238/.296/.302 line and just one home run in his three pro seasons. In the AFL, O’Grady posted a nifty 3-0 record with an equally nifty 1.42 ERA for the Mesa Solar Sox.
UNSAFE AT HOME: Major League Baseball will be re-examining its replay rule and other changes that were implemented last season. The rule regarding home plate collisions possibly caused the most consternation among players, managers and umpires. In this vein, consider Pete Rose’s thoughts. Rose — well-remember for his hell-bent style and collision at home with Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game – had this to say, and it’s well-worth considering: “What are they going to do next, you can’t break up a double play? You’re not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you’re not allowed to try to be safe at home plate? What’s the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball.”
QUICK HITTERS: Junior Shayne Martinez of West Haverstraw had 11 points and three steals as the Cortland men’s basketball team defeated Farmingdale State, 75-54, in the opening round of the Cortaca Classic in Ithaca. Martinez, an alum of North Rockland HS, followed up with 11 points and five rebounds and Tournament MVP Lamard Herron of Westbury scored 29 points as Cortland defeated Trinity College of Connecticut, 72-63, during the second day of competition. The Red Dragons (3-0) are home on Dec. 2 to meet Ithaca at 5:30 p.m. … North Rockland HS alum Christian Hilario of Haverstraw, a freshman, posted one victory at 125 pounds as The College of Mount Saint Vincent wrestling team placed 11th at the Roger Williams Invitational in Bristol, R.I. The Dolphins are off until they open dual-meet competition on Dec. 10 at New York University. Match time with the Violets and Yeshiva is scheduled at 6 p.m. … Sophomore Lisa Bouffard of Wallkill poured in a career-high 24 points and had five rebounds as the Dominican College women’s basketball team won its final game of the 2nd Regina Rivera Memorial Tournament, 62-59 over Dowling College at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. … Jemal Mosley of Spring Valley is a sophomore guard on the men’s basketball team at the University of New Haven. The Chargers visit East Stroudsburg, Pa., on Nov. 30 and then host Dowling on Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in West Haven, Conn. Mosley had 10 points, two assists and a steal as New Haven dropped its season opener at Le Moyne, 62-44. … The brutal weather in Buffalo canceled the Hilbert College Tip-Off Tournament, with Potsdam and senior captain Greg Torchon of Spring Valley now returning to action on Dec. 2 when the Bears host Clarkstown University at 7:30 p.m. … Kate McCue of Bergenfield, N.J., led four Lady Spartans in double figures with 15 points as the St. Thomas Aquinas College women’s basketball team defeated Nyack, 82-68, in a non-conference game at Aquinas Hall in Sparkill. Jamie McKeither of Laurel, Md., paced the Warriors with 20 points. … Clarkstown South HS graduates Kevin Martinez and Kyle Beckman, both guards and both of New City, and Nanuet HS alum Mike Mulligan of Pearl River, a forward, are playing on the men’s basketball team at The College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale. The Dolphins visit Farmingdale State on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., and then host St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Peter Jay Sharp Center in Riverdale. … Clarkstown North alum Rod Taskindoust of New City won the 200 freestyle in 1:53.08 as the New Paltz men’s swimming team won its dual-meet home opener, defeating cross-river rival Vassar College, 169-92, at Elting Pool. Taskindoust also helped the 400 freestyle relay to victory, was third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly. New Paltz now gears up for the MIT Invitational, scheduled Dec. 5-7 in Cambridge, Mass. … Joe Clinton of Pearl River led everyone with seven assists, along with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Nick Smith of Middletown had a game-high 36 points as the Dominican College men’s basketball team defeated Post University, 73-66, in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. Sophomore Kristopher Hargraves of Teaneck, N.J., came off the bench to net 12 points, four steals and three assists. The Chargers are home again on Dec. 3, meeting local rival Nyack College at 7:30 p.m. in the 3rd annual Daniel Sullivan Memorial Game. … Freshman star Dan Citardi of Blauvelt was first across for Pace University as the Setters competed at the NCAA Division II East Regional in Rindge, N.H. Citardi, a graduate of Tappan Zee HS, finished the 10k layout in 37:43-flat, followed by teammate Gabriel Navarro of Colorado Springs, Co., in 37:47.