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Brighter Days Ahead

Cummings Hopes Jayhawks Grow From 2016

Jamestown Community College baseball coach Matt Cummings, left, is pictured with then-freshman Cam Haberberger during the spring of 2016. Photo by Aimee Brunelle

Sometimes, the best way to measure the success of a season isn’t necessarily in wins and losses.

Last spring, the Jamestown Community College baseball team ended its National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association campaign with a 10-29 record.

However, head coach Matt Cummings, who was at the helm of the team for the first time last year, feels as if there were plenty of positives that were taken from his team’s performance on the diamond heading into a brand new spring slate, which is scheduled to open up today on the road against the Community College of Allegheny County-South in Washington, Pennsylvania.

“Last year was definitely a learning process for everybody involved,” Cummings emphasized. “From the players getting used to a new coaching staff, to the coaching staff learning the ins and outs of junior college baseball. … Last year was (also) very valuable for everybody involved. We learned what we liked and what we didn’t like. … Going into year No. 2, we know as a coaching staff what we need to focus on more, what we need to focus on less and now we understand where we need to get our players to be to compete in Region 3 baseball.”

“Last year was definitely worth it even though the record may not show. But it was definitely a great year for us overall,” Cummings added.

Jamestown Community College’s Noah Whalen is one of a few Jayhawks back for their sophomore seasons. P-J file photo

Headlining the sophomore class for the Jayhawks this spring will be Jamestown’s Cameron Haberberger.

In 32 games last year (31 starts), Haberberger, who is listed as an infielder, hit .316 and collected a total of 25 hits, including four doubles and one triple. He also drove in 12 runs, stole six bases and had an on-base percentage of .426.

“Having someone of his leadership specifically is huge for some of our guys,” Cummings stated. “Having someone like Cam who saw playing time right away as a freshman eligibility-wise, (our current freshmen) know that it can be done and you can be successful.”

Another returning player who saw a predominant amount of playing time is Noah Weinstein (Jamestown/Southwestern Central School).

Weinstein, who is listed as a catcher, played in 28 games in 2016 and came away with 21 hits at the plate, including one double. He drove in 11 runs and only made three errors.

Outfielder Noah Whalen (Buffalo/Kenmore West High School) will be back as well. Whalen played in 25 games for the Jayhawks during his first campaign with the team.

“He was kind of a diamond in the rough we found last year,” Cummings said of Whalen. “He was a member of the men’s basketball team, didn’t join us until late-spring last year, but ended up working his way into our starting lineup.”

Cummings was also quick to mention pitcher Chad Nelson, a Jamestown native who is a sophomore transfer from Niagara County Community College.

“We were lucky enough to have him come back home to Jamestown,” Cummings explained. “And he’s been nothing but fantastic. Coming from a program that Niagara County CC has, he knows exactly what it takes to win. … He’s coming into a situation where he will be (one of) the anchor(s) of our pitching rotation.”

Other sophomores on this year’s team include pitcher/infielder John White (Warren/Warren Area High School), infielder Hayden Senn (Randolph/Randolph Central School), outfielder Bryce Sherrard (Youngsville/Youngsville High School), pitcher Josh Jones (Cuba, New York/Cuba-Rushford Central School), infielder Derek Marsh (Randolph/Randolph Central School), infielder Gavin Beaumont (Falconer/Falconer Central School), pitcher Austin Mitchell (Randolph/Randolph Central School) and outfielder Andrew Latona (Jamestown/Jamestown High School).

“This year’s sophomore class is reaping the benefits of a new coaching staff,” Cummings stressed. “Last year as freshmen, they were definitely given the opportunity to prove themselves. So they got valuable experience last year. Now coming into their sophomore season, they know what it takes to compete in Region 3 baseball. … With our sophomore class, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they developed over one year.”

In terms of freshmen, Cummings highlighted a trio of players from Brocton: pitcher/infielder Steve Krystofiak, catcher Rob Gugino and pitcher/outfielder Ryan Johnson.

“Those guys had great success in high school,” Cummings emphasized. “They played baseball at a high level down there. So getting them on our team is very important for our overall team chemistry and team-building.”

Former Frewsburg standout Matt Hair, who is listed as a pitcher/infielder, is another first-year player to keep an eye on while Daniel Recinos could make an immediate impact on the mound.

Interestingly enough, Recinos is from Guatemala.

“We are very happy to have an international connection (and) starting to make that relationship work,” Cummings said. “Daniel is a kid who has from the moment he’s been on campus, he’s been a little cold, but he’s ready to work hard and to get an opportunity. He’s going to be one of our starting pitchers this year and he’s going to get an opportunity to prove to everyone that he can play ball.”

Other freshmen on this year’s squad are infielder Nelson Rivera (Olean/Olean High School), outfielder DJ Yates (New London, Ohio/New London High School), outfielder Brett Payne (Falconer/Falconer Central School), infielder Jarrett Bates (Sherman/Sherman Central School), pitcher Parker Burnette (Groveland, New York/Geneseo Central School), infielder Jose Pena (Allentown, Pennsylvania/Williams Allen High School) and Kobe DeJesus (Dunkirk/Dunkirk High School).

All in all, the Jayhawks, who seem to have nice balance of skilled local players and talent from out of the area, could certainly be an intriguing team to watch.

“I think expectations are very high,” Cummings stated. “I mean, because we were 10-29 last year, that doesn’t waver in what our main goal is and one of our main goals is to make regionals for playoffs. That hasn’t been done here in a couple years and that is the first thing on our mind, is making it to region play and letting the chips fall where they may after that. Even with a young roster … we expect to be competitive right away. If we can be consistent in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and pitching, we should be very competitive this year. That is our expectation.”

2 Cam Haberberger INF SO 5’7″ 155 Jamestown, NY / Jamestown HS

3 John White P/INF SO 5’8″ 150 Warren, PA / Warren Area HS

4 Nelson Rivera INF FR 5’7″ 145 Olean, NY / Olean HS

5 Steve Krystofiak P/INF FR 6’2″ 180 Brocton, NY / Brocton CS

6 Rob Gugino C FR 5’10” 180 Brocton, NY / Brocton CS

7 Noah Weinstein C SO 6’1″ 190 Jamestown, NY / Southwestern CS

8 DJ Yates OF FR 5’11” 175 New London, OH / New London HS

9 Matt Hair P/INF FR 6’1″ 185 Frewsburg, NY / Frewsburg CS

10 Hayden Senn INF SO 5’8″ 185 Randolph, NY / Randolph CS

11 Brett Payne OF FR 5’11” 170 Falconer, NY / Falconer CS

12 Bryce Sherrard OF SO 6’1″ 180 Youngsville, PA / Youngsville HS

14 Josh Jones P SO 6’1″ 230 Cuba, NY / Cuba-Rushford CS

15 Chad Nelson P SO 6’3″ 220 Jamestown, NY / Jamestown HS

16 Derek Marsh INF SO 5’8″ 200 Randolph, NY / Randolph CS

17 Gavin Beaumont INF SO 5’11” 155 Falconer, NY / Falconer CS

20 Austin Mitchell P SO 6’2″ 160 Randolph, NY / Randolph CS

22 Jarrett Bates INF FR 5’11” 185 Sherman, NY / Sherman CS

23 Andrew Latona OF SO 6’0″ 160 Jamestown, NY / Jamestown HS

24 Noah Whalen OF SO 6’3″ 185 Buffalo, NY / Kenmore West HS

25 Parker Burnette P FR 6’3″ 230 Groveland, NY / Geneseo CS

27 Ryan Johnson P/OF FR 6’1″ 185 Brocton, NY / Brocton CS

29 Jose Pena INF FR 5’11” 190 Allentown, PA / William Allen HS

30 Daniel Recinos P FR 6’1″ 195 Guatemala City, Guatemala / HS University of Nebraska

34 Kobe DeJesus INF FR 6’3″ 250 Dunkirk, NY / Dunkirk HS

March

Thur. 23 at CC of Allegheny County-South, 1 p.m.

at CC of Allegheny County-South, 4 p.m.

Sun. 26 at Westmoreland County CC, 12 p.m.

at Westmoreland County CC, 2:30 p.m.

April

Sat. 1 at Erie CC, 1 p.m.*

at Erie CC, 3:30 p.m.*

Sun. 2 Erie CC, 12 p.m.*

Erie CC, 2:30 p.m.*

Tues. 4 Corning CC, 2 p.m.*

Corning CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Thur. 6 at Corning CC, 2 p.m.*

at Corning CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Sat. 8 Onondaga CC, 1:00 p.m.*

Onondaga CC, 3:30 p.m.*

Sun. 9 Onondaga CC, 1 p.m.*

Onondaga CC, 3:30 p.m.*

Tues. 11 Finger Lakes CC, 2 p.m.

Finger Lakes CC, 4:30 p.m.

Thur. 13 at Finger Lakes CC, 2 p.m.

at Finger Lakes CC, 4:30 p.m.

Tues. 18 Niagara County CC, 2 p.m.*

Niagara County CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Thur. 20 at Niagara County CC, 2 p.m.*

at Niagara County CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Sat 22. SUNY Broome CC, 12 p.m.*

SUNY Broome CC, 2:30 p.m.*

Sun. 23 at SUNY Broome CC, 12 p.m.*

at SUNY Broome CC, 2:30 p.m.*

Tues. 25 at Tompkins Cortland CC, 2 p.m.*

at Tompkins Cortland CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Thur. 27 Tompkins Cortland CC, 2 p.m.*

Tompkins Cortland CC, 4:30 p.m.*

Sat. 29 at Genesee CC, 12 p.m.*

at Genesee CC, 2:30 p.m.*

Sun. 30 Genesee CC, 12 p.m.*

Genesee CC, 2:30 p.m.

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