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Kivlehan Keeps Swinging; LaPoint Reminisces

The latest summer recreation and sports in the area

The summer Patch season will showcase the Recreation Notebook each Friday. The College Sports Notebook will resume in September. Please continue to forward items of interest to Marc Maturo at marcmaturo@aol.com.

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Kivlehan keeps swinging

It’s quite an understatement to say that Pat Kivlehan of West Nyack has been on a whirlwind ride in the space of less than a year.

Only last fall the St. Joseph’s High School alum was starring on the gridiron for the Scarlet Knights, and earlier this year the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder made a successful bid to join the Rutgers University baseball team.

Kivlehan not only made the team, but eventually earned Big East Player of the Year accolades in his only season playing collegiate baseball; and then in June he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball Draft.

The Mariners sent the 22-year-old, who said he was living a dream, across country to their short-season Class A team in Everett, WA. Not surprisingly, the highly competitive Kivlehan not only has enjoyed personal success, but has helped lead the AquaSox to success, too, just as he did at Rutgers University.

The AquaSox won the first-half title in the Northwest League’s Western Division with a sparking 28-10 record, clinching a spot in the postseason playoffs.

Although Everett is off to a slow start (6-9) in the second half of the season, Kivlehan continues to wield a solid bat, and has stolen 11 bases without being caught.

“I’m really not that fast, but I catch pitchers off-guard and steal a base once in a while,” Kivlehan said, prior to the start of a game against the visiting Boise (ID) Hawks.

“It’s been an adjustment, going from college to professional baseball, especially with the pitchers,” Kivlehan notes. “For sure, they have more speed, locate better, and have more pitches. Everything’s an upgrade.”

Upgrade or not, the third baseman is no slouch at the plate, despite a team-high 60 strikeouts as his diamond education goes on.

But when Kivlehan makes contact, he means business, as the numbers attest. Kivlehan is leading the Northwest League with eight homers, one ahead of teammate Marcus Litlewood, and his .313 batting average is third-best on the AquaSox, and fourth in the league. In addition, Kivlehan had driven in 37 runs, tied for second-best in the league.

“I’m adjusting well, and the coaches (manager Rob Mummau and hitting coach Scott Steinmann) have been very helpful,” Kivlehan continues. “It’s been everything I’ve expected, except maybe one thing. People were saying to me, you know how pro ball is, everyone’s on their own, all by yourself. But I’m playing with a great bunch of guys, everyone’s been helpful. I’m enjoying the ride and having fun.”

Kivlehan’s mother, father, brother and sister have already made one cross-country trip to see him play. If the past is prologue, the Kivlehan clan will be making many other such trips, one that one day may lead directly to Safeco Field in Seattle.

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LaPoint joins champs in St. Louis

Dave LaPoint, the only manager in the Rockland Boulders’ brief two-year history, traveled to the Gateway City recently to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1982 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

LaPoint, who pitched for nine big-league teams in a 12-year career, had a remarkable season in 1982, which was considered his rookie year. The left-hander—joined at Busch Stadium by 20 of his former teammates and colleagues including Hall-of-Famers Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Whitey Herzog—appeared in 42 games working as a starter and reliever, compiling a 9-3 record with a nifty 3.42 ERA. In the World Series he tossed 8 1/3 innings with a 3.24 ERA.

LaPoint fondly reminisced on that ’82 squad.

“That was such a fun team with such a bunch of funny characters on it,” he noted, “and also a good bunch of people.”

Leading that cast of characters, it would be easy to argue, was the enigmatic, eccentric and generally off-the-wall right-hander pitcher Joaquin Andujar, who hailed from the Dominican Republic, a long-time hotbed of talent.

“He (Andujar) would come to camp, late, and throw as hard as he could on the first day, and throw his arm out. Then he’s let it heal and he’d be good to go for the season,” LaPoint said in an earlier conversation, with a knowing and wide smile, perhaps wondering (as I do) what Joaquin would think of today’s “pitch count.”

For the uninformed, Andujar, who turns 60 on Dec. 21, had a very-fine 13-year career, of which he spent five seasons with the Cardinals. During his career Andujar made 402 appearances, with 305 as a starter. He turned in 68 complete games and pitched 2,153 innings.

So much for today’s high-tech offseason and preseason conditioning programs, not to mention those dreaded pitch counts. The last time we looked, big-league hurlers were still going on the disabled list, and still seem to finish what they start as often as the sun sets in the East.

The great Hall of Fame candidate Jim Kaat—a talented, competitive southpaw who toiled impressively over 25 big-league seasons, and who was a proponent of using the stationary bike—once said. “If running was of any help (in pitching) Jesse Owens would have been a 20-game winner.”

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Selected

Justin Autera of Mahopac has been selected a co-captain on the SUNY Cortland football team, cited as the preseason favorite in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) in a vote of the league’s coaches. The Red Dragons, who finished 9-2 last fall with a victory in the ECAC Division III Southeast Bowl, will open their preseason camp on Saturday, and will begin the season on Sept. 1, at noon at new Empire 8 member Buffalo State. Furey earned all-NJAC honors as a cornerback last season with 34 tackles, an interception and seven pass breakups. He also averaged 34.7 yards per punt with 10 inside the 20-yard line versus only one touchback. Cortland’s home and NJAC opener is Sept. 15 vs. Western Connecticut State at 1 p.m. The Red Dragons are also expected to feature junior linebacker Gabe Ostrow of Nanuet, junior defensive lineman Quinton Witherspoon of New Rochelle, and sophomore back Tre Spaulding of White Plains and Woodlands High School.

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This and that

  • The New City Outlaws, led by skipper Joe Maggino, have advanced to the semifinals in the Westchester-Rockland Wood Bat League (WRWBL) postseason playoffs. The Outlaws must get by the Barons, directed by GM Vinny Carlucci, to reach the finals, meeting the survivor of the other semifinal series matching Chris Jones’ Peekskill Tides and the Harrison Patriots of Adam Weiss.
  • The Town of Orangetown’s Summer Concert Series—open to the public with no admission charge—concludes tonight (August 10) at Veterans Memorial Park in Orangeburg, beginning at 7:45 p.m. and featuring the Mystical Majesty Band, touted as the East Coast’s Greatest Beatles cover band. Attendees should bring blankets and chairs.
  • The Rockland Boulders—who host the New Jersey Jackals tonight at 7:05 p.m. and again on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.—hit the road for a 12-day road trip beginning on Sunday with a 2:05 game against their nearby rival at Yogi Berra Stadium on the campus of Montclair State University in Montclair. The Boulders trail the Jackals for the final playoff spot in the Can-Am League as they enter the final weeks of the season. The Jackals return to Rockland to finish the season series with a three-game weekend set August 24-26. The Rockland staff has been bolstered by Can-Am League pitcher of the week Bobby Blevins of Briarcliff, who was just short of perfect in two appearances, leading the Boulders to a much-needed pair of victories. The big right-hander went the route in an 8-0, seven-inning shutout over the Newark Bears at Provident Bank Park, scattering just four hits while not allowing a walk. Five nights later, he was even sharper in another home decision, this time over the American Association’s Kansas City T-Bones. Blevins carried a sparkling two-hitter into the last inning, before yielding to closer Adrian Martin after allowing a pair of two-out singles. He earned his team-leading eighth victory of the season as the Boulders held on in a 1-0 thriller. Rockland’s ace is now among the league leaders in the top pitching categories, standing fourth in wins (eight) and ERA (3.24), and sixth in strikeouts (70). This is the third Rockland player honored as Suffern native Ryan Mollica and Phil Cuadrado took batter-of-the-week accolades earlier in the season.
  • Tim Urban, an American Idol finalist, will be in concert on Friday, Aug. 24 at Germonds Park, 185 Germonds Road, West Nyack. The event, which is free to Clarkstown residents, is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., and is sponsored by the Clarkstown Parks Board and Recreation Commission.·      The St. John’s University basketball programs are joining forces once again with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) for the 2ndDribble for the Cure” fundraising event. The event will take place on the St. John’s University Queens campus on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The proceeds will support Dr. Mitchell S. Cairo at the PCRF Laboratory at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at New York Medical College. Interested sponsors, volunteers and participants should contact Rosanna Capalbo at rcapalbo@pcrf-kids.org.      
  • The United States Tennis Association (USTA), headquartered in White Plains, has an immediate opening for a Youth and Digital Strategist. The position will oversee and manage the development and execution of national and regional marketing for USTA Community Tennis, with key focus on growing youth participation at the grass-roots level and support all of Community Tennis in Digital Marketing.  

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