Taking over for a legendary Head Coach such as Eric Brown is always a challenge but Brian Klammer is ready for the task.
“I’m excited to be taking over here at Suffolk and I hope to be able to keep the tradition of preparing our players for four-year institutions. I’m excited about our incoming class of freshmen and transfers,” he said.
Klammer is a graduate of Dowling College where he played ball before coaching as an assistant at Suffolk from 2002-’06.
Last year’s team was loaded with talent, with three of their players (Shawn Blasberg, Joseph Murphy and Joseph Mattero) being named to our 2017 All-Long Island team. Murphy was ranked fifth in the nation in AVG at .486 and also led the nation in ERA at 1.21. All three have moved on to other programs but the team will be returning All-Region catcher Jeff Towle (Ward Melville 2015) and starting CF Jimmy Matera (West Islip 2016). He will also be counting on two Comsewogue graduates to supply offense; Stephen Lydon and Dave Heller. Lydon is returning from a knee surgery, but after watching the first baseman take batting practice last week, I came away very impressed with his bat speed.
Anthony Scheller (Sachem East 2015) is a transfer from the College of St. Rose who could have an immediate impact, as well as Concordia-transfer Marc Laboy.
Offense has always been a hallmark for Suffolk, and last year was no exception. They finished No. 19 in the nation in AVG at .328 with a .431 OBP and .442 SLG.
The pitching staff could be very impressive as well.
Despite losing their aces, they will be counting on a couple hard-throwing newcomers.
Nick Morena (Sachem North 2015) is the type of pitcher that could anchor the rotation from the start. After initially attending Stony Brook University in 2016, he transferred to Queens College where he performed extremely well last year. He compiled a stellar ERA of 2.52 over 64.1 IP. He allowed only 50 hits and struck out 56 batters, although his walks (29) were elevated. I expect Morena to be one of the top pitchers in the region.
Joining him will be Commack product 6’4″ RHP Ryan Steffens, who transferred from Div-II powerhouse Southern New Hampshire University. According to Perfect Game, he was the No. 12 RHP prospect in New York in the 2016 graduating class. He could step in and be a workhorse right away.
One pitcher that flew under-the-radar last year, in my opinion, was Smithtown East’s closer Tyler Schmid. Due to their young pitching that received much of the praise, Schmid is a nasty left-handed pitcher that has a delivery similar to Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale. Another transfer, Mike Bovenzi from Dominican College, will be competing with him for a rotation spot.
The Sharks open up their season on February 25 at Bergen CC, as they look to build off another successful season.