By Scott Kindberg
The Canisius College baseball team took to the field at Boshamer Stadium on the campus of North Carolina University on Thursday afternoon in preparation for the Golden Griffins' NCAA Regional game against the top-seed Tar Heels at 6 p.m., today.
Above are members of the Canisius College baseball team’s coaching staff. From the left are assistant coaches Frank Jagoda and Matt Mazurek, graduate student manager Andrew Russo and head coach Mike McRae.
Two northern Chautauqua County natives - Matt Mazurek (Silver Creek) and Frank Jagoda (Dunkirk) - no doubt played significant roles.
Mazurek is in his seventh season with the Golden Griffins coaching staff and his fourth year as an assistant coach after spending three seasons as a volunteer assistant. Mazurek, who is also the team's recruiting coordinator and hitting instructor, is the longest-tenured assistant coach in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
After leaving Canisius in 2006 as the school's male athlete of the year, Mazurek played professional baseball for three seasons.
Jagoda, also an assistant coach, is in his second season with the Canisius program after serving as a graduate student manager in 2012. He arrived at Canisius after serving as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Jamestown Community College. Jagoda has also worked at the Detroit Tigers spring training camp while shadowing the club's sports performance coach and, last summer, was the manager of the Wellsville Nitros of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
The local men - along with head coach Mike McRae - will have quite a challenge against the Tar Heels.
The Griffs are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after posting a 42-15 overall record and winning the MAAC's automatic berth by going 3-0 in the conference tournament in Trenton, N.J. last weekend. The 42 wins are the most for any No. 4 seed in this year's tournament and it also set a new record for single-season wins by a MAAC school.
Carolina, meanwhile, is the nation's top seed and the Tar Heels enter the national postseason tournament with a 52-8 overall record. The Atlantic Coast Conference champions, North Carolina has piled up 42 wins in the last eight postseasons, which is tied with South Carolina for the most in the nation during that time period. UNC starts today's action with an all-time record of 89-60 in NCAA Tournament action and it boasts a 26-5 mark as a host school.
See WHERE, Page B2
The Canisius-North Carolina game will be broadcast live on ESPN3, while the audio broadcast will be provided through GoGriffs.com and the Golden Griffin Broadcast Network.
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Tanner Delahoy (Busti/Southwestern) will be playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League this summer as a member of the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats.
A right-handed pitcher, Delahoy will join a team that is looking to defend the league title and will be coached by Kevin Winterrowd, who is reportedly heavily involved with USA Baseball, both as a coach and as a scout.
For his part, Delahoy is coming off an outstanding collegiate season at Mercyhurst University where he earned All-Atlantic Region first-team honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
In his first season with the Lakers, Delahoy established himself as one of the best closers in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, and was named to the All-PSAC West first team earlier this month. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder posted five saves, tying him for fifth in the PSAC, allowed just five hits in 16.1 innings and limited opponents to an .098 batting average. In those 16.1 innings, Delahoy walked six, struck out 21 and sported a 2.20 earned run average.
Before arriving at Mercyhurst, Delahoy played two seasons at Jamestown Community College, including 2012 when he posted a 5-4 record with a 2.83 ERA.
As a footnote, Delahoy also participated in a pre-draft workout at Monroe CC in Rochester on Wednesday. One of 30 players there, Delahoy threw 20 pitches and felt good about his performance.
''It was probably the best bullpen I've thrown in a while,'' he told The Post-Journal on Thursday night. ''We had to throw the New York-Penn League baseballs and I'd been throwing NCAA balls where the seams are a little higher and you get a good grip. I didn't know if my slider or curveball would break as much as they do with an NCAA ball, but my curveball and change were breaking a lot more than with the NCAA ball.''
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Jeff House (Southwestern, Class of '83) was hired earlier this month as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky women's basketball program.
House comes to Kentucky after spending 10 years in the professional ranks, including the last two seasons with the WNBA's Chicago Sky. During his 27-year career, he has coached 19 WNBA All-Stars and major award winners along with four Olympians.
''In the basketball world there are a handful of really special places and Kentucky is on the tip of everyone's tongue when people talk about special places to coach or play,'' said House in a press release from the Kentucky sports information office. ''It's thrilling and humbling to be on a campus like this and at a university like this. I'm looking forward to working with this amazing staff, our student-athletes and being a part of the Big Blue Nation.''
UK head coach Matthew Mitchell said he was excited about having House on his staff.
''He and I share a vision for this program that is based on the principles of honesty, hard work and discipline,'' Mitchell said in a prepared statement. ''He, his wife Ann and children Elizabeth and Tom are a wonderful family and we are proud that they now become part of our UK hoops family. His years of experience at the highest levels of professional and college basketball will benefit the growth of our program greatly. I am thrilled that Jeff is a Kentucky Wildcat.''
House's coaching and professional experience began as an assistant at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester in 1985 and has included stops at the University of Lowell, Jacksonville, Rutgers, Virginia, the New York Knicks, the New York Liberty and the Washington Mystics over the subsequent 27 years.
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Alayna Carlson (Dunkirk/Dunkirk) was named an East Region all-star and was a first-team selection on the All-Western New York Athletic Conference softball team for Mercyhurst North East.
Carlson, a catcher, hit .398 for the Saints with a team-high nine home runs. She also broke the school record with six triples, recorded 16 doubles and had 63 RBIs.
Shelby Overturf (Jamestown/Falconer) also was selected to the league's all-star team and compiled a 10-1 record with a 3.08 earned run average. She hit at a .339 clip with four home runs while playing first base for the Saints, who were 44-12 overall and 6-0 in the league.