When Stony Brook recruited West Islip's Nick Tropeano three years ago, they hoped the pitcher would blossom into a star. On Tuesday, after he was selected in the fifth round of Major League Baseball's player draft, that forecast proved accurate.
The Houston Astros made Tropeano, a 6-4 righthander, the 160th overall selection, the highest a Stony Brook player was taken since pitcher Chris Flinn went in the third round (79th overall) to Tampa Bay in 2001.
"I was ecstatic," said Tropeano, who finished his junior year at 12-1 with a 1.84 ERA. "I was speechless. It's been my dream ever since I was young."
Tropeano, a two-time All-American, had received interest from about 25 teams but said he was not holding out hope for any team in particular. He said Wednesday night that he signed with Houston and will head to Florida for a short minicamp before heading to Houston's Single-A team, the Tri-City Valley Cats, in Troy, N.Y., next week.
"I really didn't have any expectations," Tropeano said. "Houston was definitely on my list. They were one of the teams that seemed interested."
Matt Colantonio, a Garden City native and Brown University graduate, was taken in the 21st round by San Diego. Pat Cantwell, another West Islip native and Stony Brook product, went in the 39th round to Baltimore. Three St. John's players were picked: Yonkers native Joe Panik (29th overall by the Giants), Douglaston's Paul Karmas (25th round, Padres) and Matt Wessinger (37th round, Royals).
Tropeano's selection marks the 13th Stony Brook player to be drafted since 2000.
"His accomplishments on the mound truly reflect the type of baseball program we have been developing at Stony Brook," Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore wrote in an e-mail. "He has Long Island swagger."
Colantonio is the son of a lifelong Mets fan, but being drafted by the Padres on Tuesday didn't disappoint him. "It's just a dream come true," said Colantonio, who graduated from Chaminade High in Mineola in 2007 before attending Brown. The senior catcher led Brown with a .301 batting average and was named to the All-Ivy League second team. He was a Newsday All-Long Island selection in 2007 at Chaminade. "The moment kind of hit when [my family] sat down for dinner," Colantonio said. "So many years playing catch with [dad] in the backyard. It was a pretty emotional moment."
OTHER LOCAL PLAYERS DRAFTED
Dennis O'Grady - The righthanded pitcher for Duke was taken in the 34th round by San Diego. O'Grady is a native of Floral Park.
Ian Dickson - A native of Northport, the junior righthander at Lafayette was selected in the 35th round by the Cubs.
David Kubiak - Out of the University of Albany, Kubiak was taken in the 36th round by Tampa Bay. The righthanded pitcher is a native of Southold.
Robert Nixon - The Adelphi righthander was taken in the 46th round by Cleveland.