Early during his tenure at Stony Brook, baseball coach Matt Senk determined that a pivotal factor in the Seawolves' success would be their ability to recruit local players. Swaying some of the top players on Long Island to stay close to home has become the foundation of its winning culture.
"From Day One, I felt that if we were going to be successful we had to recruit the best players right here on Long Island," Senk said Wednesday. "The accessibility to the local player allows us to see more and find out more about them."
Rich Ciufo of Patchogue, Dan McEvoy of Westhampton, Aaron Glickstein of Half Hollow Hills West and Tim Kranz of West Babylon have verbally committed to play for Stony Brook in 2016. The baseball program didn't have to do much. Stony Brook's growing reputation spoke for itself.
There's the established tradition of success, backed by 19 winning seasons in Senk's 24 years at the helm and punctuated by an improbable run to the College World Series in 2012.
"They went to the World Series a couple of years ago and I remember watching them. That was incredibly exciting," Kranz said. "The guys we have coming in are going to be very good. To get the opportunity now to be a Seawolf and to have a shot to get back there is exciting."
"I want to play at a high level of baseball and also get a great education," Ciufo said. "Stony Brook has a top academic program as well as a top baseball program. That really stuck out to me."
For native Long Islanders, proximity to home carries a strong allure.
"I really wanted to stay close to home. I've been on Long Island all my life and I know how it works here," Glickstein said. "I know the baseball here, and I feel like why change it now."
Then there's the coaching staff, led by Senk and rounded out by associate head coach Joe Pennucci, pitching coach Mike Marron and volunteer assistant coach Dan Luisi.
"When I first met Coach Senk, he was an absolute gem," McEvoy said. "I saw a strong sense of guidance, like I could really look up to this guy and play on a field where he's coaching me."
Glickstein is a righthanded power pitcher who had a string of 41 straight scoreless innings this past season when he finished 10-0 with a 0.67 ERA in 73 innings.
Kranz is another hard-throwing righty who tops out at 91 mph and went 7-0 with a 0.70 ERA last year.
Ciufo is a defensive wizard who is poised to be one of the top shortstops in America East.
McEvoy, who runs a 6.55 in the 60-yard dash, is a catalyst in the lineup, a second baseman who can play a number of positions.
"The quality of education, the opportunity to play in a program where players have tremendous individual and team success, makes them want to come here," Senk said.
Hofstra University also drew some top LI talent. Luke Aprile, a shortstop from Lynbrook who hit .430 with 32 stolen bases, has signed with the Pride, as have second baseman Tom Archer and righthander Andrew Mundy from St. John the Baptist. Valley Stream Central’s Vito Friscia, who was Hofstra coach John Russo’s first verbal commit for the 2015 class, also signed his letter of intent. The catcher is a two-time all-county and second-team Newsday All-Long Island selection.