The State University of New York at New Paltz baseball team was excited to begin a bounce-back season in 2020, led by its senior leaders in ace Anthony Amorso, reigning All-SUNYAC selection Matthew McGee, outfielders Julian Francisco and Matt Warshaw, pitchers Justin Halper and Mat Triebel, and catcher Reid Oreste. The Hawks began the year in promising fashion, earning exciting wins over Mount Saint Mary College and Scranton to start the season at 2-2 overall. Their victory over the Knights came in extra innings to even the two-game series to open up the year, while SUNY New Paltz came from behind to earn a 4-3 win over the Royals.
Unfortunately, the Hawks season was cut short with their seven seniors possibly playing their final game against Scranton March 11. SUNY New Paltz coach Thomas Seay spoke highly of all seven men of his 2020 senior class, as he had the opportunity to coach each of them for two seasons since he took over the program starting in the fall of 2018.
“I can’t begin to thank these seniors for what they have meant to the program, their teammates, and me and my coaching staff over the last two years,” Seay said. “It’s because of these seven men that our program is trending in an upward trajectory. Their willingness to buy into the staff’s philosophies of how to go about their business on and off the field has laid the foundation for future championships, and that can not and should not go unnoticed. My door is always open to these men, and I can’t wait to share in their life’s successes for many years to come. They are a remarkable group. As the NCAA outlines its plans for eligibility over the next few weeks and months, my hope is each of these seven men will consider returning for another year. Honestly, that’s me being selfish because I so enjoyed working with and mentoring this group. And I hate that their final season was cut short.”
Take a look at all seven individuals of the Hawks’ 2020 senior class below:
After graduating from Monroe Woodbury High School in 2016, Matthew McGee packed his bags and decided to take his baseball talents to the Sunshine State to play at Division II St. Leo University. After two years as a Lion, McGee decided to come home and join SUNY New Paltz.
McGee fit in right away and became the centerpiece for the Hawks in his first season. In 2019 McGee started in all 32 games and led his team in nine major statistical categories, including batting average (.384), hits (43), doubles (12), triples (1), OPS (.995) slugging percentage (.509), and on base percentage (.486).
“Matt transferred to New Paltz from St. Leo in Florida and instantly became one of the most prolific hitters in the SUNYAC,” Seay said. “As a First-Team All-SUNYAC performer last year he was poised for a historic senior season. His ability to remain poised under pressure and keep a light, positive disposition in the face of adversity will be missed greatly.”
McGee’s dominance in 2019 led to a First-Team All-SUNYAC recognition. In conference play, he finished second in batting average, hitting .397, ranked second in on base percentage, reaching base in 50 percent of his at bats, and tied for fourth in hits with 23.
McGee’s best performance at the plate in 2019 came on April 27 in a 16-3 win over Plattsburgh State when he had five hits including two doubles and three runs scored.
Through four games in 2020, McGee was off to a hot start. The senior had six hits in 14 at-bats and a .429 batting average. Most recently, McGee went 3-for-3 with one RBI in a 4-3 victory over Scranton University March 11.
“My best memory as a Hawk was just getting to lace them up for every game with all of my teammates and coaches,” McGee said. “What I will miss most is just grinding every day with my guys.”
Matt Warshaw was a four-year player who developed into one of the team’s leaders and hardest working players.
“Matt is just a tremendous human being,” Seay said. “He is one of the most selfless players I’ve ever coached. His willingness to mentor the younger players while still competing for a starting job is just remarkable. He’s the definition of a grinder. He is always willing to do anything and everything to help this team win and develop. His impact on this program will be felt for a long, long time.”
As a freshman, Warshaw appeared in 14 games, recording one hit and one RBI on the season. In 2018, his sophomore season, Warshaw appeared in 12 games, recording one hit and four runs scored. Against Plattsburgh State on April 14, he came off the bench and went 1-for-1 in a 17-10 victory. And last season, the journalism major earned five starts and appeared in five more games. He recorded five hits in 18 at-bats while driving in three RBI. Against Plattsburgh on April 28, Warshaw went 2-for-3 and stole a base in an 8-7 victory.
In his final season, the senior appeared in three of the Hawks’ four games. Warshaw went 1-for-3 with one RBI in the season opener against Mount Saint Mary on March 7.
“The biggest thing I’m going to miss about being a New Paltz Hawk is the bonds I’ve created with all of my teammates,” Warshaw said. “I cherished every moment competing with my teammates and coaches on the field, through every practice and game. All of my coaches and teammates are my family, and I’ll forever be grateful that I was a Hawk for four years.”
Justin Halper has faced adversity. After tearing his UCL and fracturing his spine, the future of his career was uncertain. However, he battled through the injuries to get back on the field. And if he could battle through serious injuries like that, he could certainly work his way out of a pitching in the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead with no outs and runners on first and second.
The senior was faced with that exact situation on March 11 against Scranton University, and he knew he could get the job done. After striking a batter out and forcing two ground balls, the job was done. What Halper didn’t know was that his clutch pitching performance would be his last of 2020 and potentially his career.
“His last outing was probably his most impressive,” Seay said. “Coming in against Scranton with the tying and winning runs on base, being able to slam the door, and not only get the save but the win too, was tremendous for our program. For a pitcher, I don’t know if there’s a better way to end a career.”
In Halper’s first season with the Hawks in 2018 he pitched in six games. Despite struggling in his debut, he had five straight scoreless outings to finish off the year.
In 2019, Halper pitched in 13 innings and earned three wins. Facing Brockport on April 7, the accounting major pitched 2.1 innings striking out two batters without allowing a hit.
Through two pitching appearances in 2020, Halper pitched 2.1 innings allowing four hits and one rune while striking out two batters.
“Justin can finish his career here at New Paltz with his head held high,” Seay added. “Making the transition to the mound from the outfield is not easy to do, but over the last two years, Justin has had a huge impact on our bullpen filling various roles. He’s been both a long reliever and set up guy along with being a closer for us.”
Halper said, “What I’m going to miss most about being a Hawk is being so close to many people who I know will always have my back. The family I have made during my four years at New Paltz includes teammates, coaches, and even athletes on other teams, and I will forever be grateful for all of the memories we share. Once a hawk, always a Hawk.”
Anthony Amoroso knew that SUNY New Paltz was the right fit for him from his very first road trip as a freshman in 2017. The road trip was to Ashland, V.A. where the Hawks would take on nationally ranked Randolph Macon before playing Alvernia the next day and making a pit stop in Baltimore, M.D. to play Johns Hopkins on the way home.
“I remember having so much fun on the field and bus that weekend along with tons of great experiences,” Amoroso recalled. “That trip set up my college baseball experience, and I will never forget that weekend as a Hawk.”
The Hawks won the opening game against Randolph Macon 13-3 before falling to Alvernia and Johns Hopkins 12-4 and 6-0 respectively. After seeing his first action on the mound against Johns Hopkins, Amoroso pitched in eight more games including one start. He struck out 12 batters and finished with a 6.57 ERA. He also played in 19 games as an infielder, earning nine starts. Amoroso fashioned four hits, four runs and five RBI.
In his sophomore season in 2018, Amoroso started four games on the mound and came out of the bullpen in four others. He threw 24.2 innings of work en route to a 4.74 ERA and a 3-2 record. On March 16 at Hamilton, the marketing major pitched five innings recording four strikeouts while allowing just one run in a victory.
In 2019, Amoroso’s junior season, he started seven games on the mound and came in relief in two others. Over 25 innings pitched, Amoroso struck out 16 batters. He earned a win at Mount Saint Mary on March 9 when he tossed four innings of scoreless baseball allowing just one hit.
Amoroso was named a captain before the 2020 season, as he was poised to be the ace for the Hawks. In one start the senior pitched four innings allowing five hits and two runs against Mount Saint Mary. Amoroso hopes to be accepted to graduate school at SUNY New Paltz and continue his career.
“Anthony is one of the most fierce competitors I’ve ever coached,” Seay said. “He’s willingness to sacrifice, hone his craft and challenge himself daily will be the benchmark of our pitching staff. His legacy on this program will be his commitment to winning. I know our young arms learned a tremendous amount from Amo this past year on how to prepare themselves for competition.”
Top of the seventh inning, two outs and SUNY New Paltz is down 2-1 at SUNY Purchase. Hawks Sophomore Julian Francisco at the plate. If Francisco gets out, game over. If he reaches base, he represents the tying run. Sure enough, the sophomore came up clutch. He launched a ball to right field and used his speed to get all the way to third base for a triple. After a hit by pitch, a stolen base, and a single, Francisco scored to tie the game. The Hawks went on to beat the Panthers 6-2.
“I will always hold on to that specific moment,” Francisco said. “My whole team was fired up as I reached third. This game meant so much to me because this was the same field that my brother played on during his career at SUNY Purchase, and having my family in the stands watching meant the world to me.”
One year before his big moment as a sophomore in 2018, Francisco joined SUNY New Paltz out of Fox Lane High School. In his freshman year, the marketing major played in 22 games tallying nine hits in 32 at-bats for a .281 batting average. He scored six runs during his 2017 campaign and had a pair of two-hit games against CCNY and Lehman.
As a sophomore, Francisco earned 24 starts tallying 18 hits including one double and the clutch triple. He also drove in 11 runs in 2018, three of which came on April 18 against Fredonia when Francisco went 2-for-4.
Last season, Francisco started in 31 games, recording 30 hits and 24 runs scored. Against Mount Saint Mary on March 9, he went 3-for-5 in a 10-2 win. In conference play, Francisco finished 20th in the SUNYAC in hits with 18 and finished 20th in the SUNYAC in batting average after hitting .305. He also stole six bases in SUNYAC play to finish tied for fifth in the conference.
Through four games in 2020, Francisco had four hits in 12 at-bats for a .333 batting average. He also drew three walks and had a .800 OPS. Francisco had two hits on March 8 against Stevens and two stolen bases on March 11 in a win over Scranton University.
“I can’t say enough great things about Julian,” Seay said. “He is a quiet and confident leader in our program who I know would have had an amazing senior campaign. Julian was a mainstay in our outfield over the last two years and had a huge impact on our team’s success offensively and defensively. I have no doubt the best is yet to come for Julian. His ability to lead by example is a great quality to have. He makes the people around him better: better people and better players. I look forward to seeing all the great things Julian accomplishes in life.”
Born and raised in New York City, Mat Triebel attended and graduated from Saint Francis Prep. As a member of the baseball team at St. Francis, Triebel was tabbed with Brooklyn/Queens CHSSA Second Team Honors and was named to The Tablet Diocesan All Star Second Team in 2015. When it was time to make a college decision, Triebel decided to stay home.
As a member of the Queensborough Community College baseball team in 2018, Triebel helped his team to a CUNYAC Community College Championship. In that championship season, Triebel made six appearances on the mound, striking out 27 batters in 20 innings pitched.
After winning the title in 2018, it was time for Triebel to transfer to a four-year college and for the first time, he would be leaving New York City. He decided on SUNY New Paltz. In his first season as a Hawk in 2019, Triebel appeared in 10 games, striking out five batters in 11.1 innings pitched. In his first five outings of 2019, the psychology major allowed just one run and picked up the win against NYU on March 17.
“My favorite memory as a Hawk is just being able to come into a new program and help shape and grow it into what it is today,” Triebel said. “I was only here for two years but it felt like forever, and I’m happy to say that these guys are family.”
In 2020 Triebel made one appearance on the mound against Stevens. The senior tossed one inning allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
“Matt is a fierce competitor with a cool disposition,” Seay said. “That is what I’ll remember most about his playing days at New Paltz. Mathew is planning on going to graduate school once he completes his undergraduate work, and I know he’ll be making a positive impact on his community very soon.”
In a way, Reid Oreste has been an additional coach for the Hawks as a senior in 2020. Hampered by shoulder injuries, the biology major could have walked away from the team and focused on his academics and his preparation for medical school. But that is not who he is.
“Reid came to the ballpark every day with the goal of helping me develop the next crop of catchers,” Seay said. “His attention to detail, effective communication skills and his humility were inspiring.”
Oreste joined the Hawks in his sophomore year, 2018. He played in six games, recording two hits in four at bats on the season. After the season, Oreste was recognized for his success in the classroom as he was named to the SUNYAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
In his junior year, 2019, Oreste (or Doctor as Seay refers to him) started in eight of the 11 games he played in. At the plate he went 6-for-24 on the season including one double and two RBI. He had a two-hit performance in a win against Illinois Tech on March 18.
In his final season, Oreste accepted and flourished in his mentorship role. It’s one of his favorite memories as a Hawk.
“What I’m going to miss most are the bonds I’ve made with my teammates,” Oreste said. “I especially loved working with the younger guys and helping them learn what it means to be a college baseball player and a Hawk.”
Use the link to read the original article! https://nphawks.com/news/2020/3/23/suny-new-paltz-baseball-2020-senior-class.aspx
Featured Image by: Luke Barnell
Player Photographs by: Monica D’ippolito