JAKE THOMAS Long Island Player of the Year Calhoun, C,...

Long Island Player of the Year
Calhoun, C, Sr.
He earned the Diamond Award presented to Nassau’s top player after a season in which he broke almost every record in Calhoun baseball history. Thomas batted .485 with 40 runs, eight doubles, seven home runs, 31 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. He had a .648 on-base percentage and a .941 slugging percentage. In his three-year career, he had 112 hits, 20 home runs, 99 runs, 95 RBIs and a .465 average as the Colts compiled a 45-9 record with him behind the plate.

Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Jake Thomas had an unforgettable high school baseball career. The Calhoun catcher punctuated an outstanding three-year varsity run by earning Nassau's highest honor, the Diamond Award.

Calhoun's all-time leading hits, home run and RBI leader wasn't done there. He went out and earned the MVP Award at the Ryan T. Caulfield Foundation all-star game pitting Nassau's top seniors against the best from Suffolk.

Thomas also learned this week that he was named the Ryan T. Caulfield catcher of the year in Nassau for his achievements. For the first time, the RTC Foundation named after Bethpage catcher Ryan T. Caulfield, who earned Nassau's Diamond Award, tabbed the top catcher in Nassau, Suffolk and the CHSAA this season. Caulfield died in 2000 of lupus.

Thomas was an easy choice.

"He's a phenomenal athlete, and an exemplary young man," said Michael Caulfield, president of the RTC Foundation, which was established to help raise funds to find a cure for lupus.

Thomas, a dynamic 5-10, 175-pound backstop, was equally talented on offense and defense. He threw out nine of 15 base stealers and broke every offensive record in Calhoun history. This season, he had 33 hits, 40 runs scored, eight doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBIs. He was also 11-for-11 in stolen bases.

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment for Thomas came in the classroom. While he was slugging his way into the record book, he was also hitting the books. He earned his way onto the school honor roll for 16 straight semesters.

"It's quite an honor to win an award named after a player like Ryan Caulfield," said Thomas, who will attend Binghamton.

Suffolk's recipient was Sachem North senior Brendan Garry, who led the Flaming Arrows to the Suffolk Class AA championship. The 6-foot, 200-pounder, hit .432 with 32 hits, eight doubles, four home runs, 22 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He made only two errors and will attend Rochester.

The CHSAA winner was St. Mary's senior Alex Falconi. He played in relative obscurity on the last-place team in the CHSAA but no one ran on his powerful arm. Falconi was so good defensively that he earned a scholarship to play at Seton Hall. He batted .322 with 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs.