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Conger's O'Grady on Cusp of Going Pro

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Conger's O'Grady on Cusp of Going Pro Conger's O'Grady on Cusp of Going Pro

Conventional baseball wisdom says you can never have enough pitching.

It should not be surprising, then, that pitchers were the most frequently chosen players in the just-completed First Year Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

Chris O’Grady of Congers is a pitcher, a good one, and a left-hander, to boot, who this year at George Mason University tied a single-season record with 14 saves while boasting a 1.22 ERA and limiting opponents to .163 hitting in 37 innings.

O’Grady, selected in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is one of 630 pitchers who were taken, with just 169 throwing from the port side, and the Clarkstown North grad is well-aware of the natural advantage. (The rest of the pool was comprised of 270 infielders, 211 outfielders and 127 catchers.)

“Being left-handed certainly helps. There’s not as many as there are right-handers,” said O’Grady who, while in the midst of coming to an agreement with the Angels, continues to run, throw and lift weights.

O’Grady said he is prepared for any role the pro club has in mind for him, having had experience as a starter and in long relief. This year he corrected a flaw in his mechanics, picking up a couple of miles on his fastball, and made a smooth transition into the closer’s role for the Patriots.

Like Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee, a southpaw, and the famed Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, a right-hander, O’Grady feels his best pitch is the cut fastball.

“I like to watch them,” he said, adding the switch to the closer role worked out for the best. “It went great, my best year statistically. It was the right move.”

O’Grady has spoken with Dan Radcliffe, the scout who drafted him, but has yet to speak with the big club.

“They’re quite busy with a lot of things right now, but once we come to an agreement, I’ll probably ship out to their spring-training facility in Arizona and get ready,” O’Grady said late last week.

O’Grady—whose older brother T.J. O’Grady also pitched at George Mason and played at St. Joseph’s Regional in Montvale, NJ, with Pat Kivlehan of West Nyack, drafted by Seattle—has one year of college eligibility left, but feels the time is right to make the break.

“I’m real excited, and ready to start playing. Once I’m out there (Arizona) I’ll be sent to a team, probably in rookie ball,” said the life-long Yankees fan, adding that his family will now root for both teams. “I hear the Angels are a good organization and have a good farm system.”

O’Grady, the second-highest drafted player in program history behind Chris Widger, who went to Seattle in the third round of the 1992 draft, was joined by George Mason teammate Brandon Kuter, a right-hander pitcher from Fairfax, VA, who was taken by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round.

“We are extremely excited for both Chris and Brandon,” said Patriots head coach Bill Brown, on the school website. “They have each contributed greatly here at Mason, and I look forward to their success at the next level. If Chris and Brandon choose to start a professional career in baseball, I look forward to watching them grow as professional players, as their best years of baseball are ahead of them.”

O’Grady earned first-team all-CAA honors while also being named to the NCBWA Dick Howser and Stopper of the Year semifinalist lists. A left-hander with uncommon control, O’Grady struck out 51, walked just 20 and gave up just 20 hits, including just three multiple-base, this season.

Over four seasons at Mason, O’Grady made 52 appearances with 15 starts, posting a 3.94 ERA and an 8-4 record and striking out 156.

Mason finished its 2012 campaign with a 33-24 overall record and 16-14 mark in the CAA.

O’Grady has until July 13 to come to an agreement, at which point all drafted players who haven’t signed become a free agent.


Mortarboard musings

  • Nyack College baseball coach Matt Cornacchione has announced the signing of Tony Campbell, an IF/P from Taylor High School in Katy, TX. Also, the Warriors’ Chelsea Macaluso of Charlotte, NC, and Bethany Reed of Tiverton, RI, earned NCCAA East-Region honors in softball.
  • Erin Pomykala of Yonkers has been named the head coach of the new women’s lacrosse program at Nyack College.  The team will begin varsity play in spring 2013.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas golfers, Mike Gunderson of Duxbury, MA, and Thomas Linehan of Dansville were named to the Ping all-Region team. The duo helped the Spartans reach the NCAA Championship after finishing fifth in the NCAA Super Regional.
  • Senior midfielder Megan Doyle of Putnam Valley, a graduate of Mahopac HS, finished third in point production for a Western New England women’s lacrosse team that finished the season at 6-12. Doyle totaled 43 points on 29 goals and 14 assists.
  • The Western New England men’s lacrosse team went a solid 13-5 this season, and appears to have a solid future with several underclassmen having gained valuable experience. Freshman attack Jon Bota of Mahopac had three goals and one assist in nine games, while Ben Borsellino of Scarsdale, a freshman midfielder, had three goals and an assist in eight games. Freshmen midfielders Jack Ahearn of Somers and Mike Zavarella of Ossining each saw action in five games.
  • Former Fordham University outfielder Mike Mobbs of Stony Point is playing his second season of professional baseball. Mobbs, an alum of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, NJ, has played in 12 of 14 games for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League. Last year Mobbs had a successful season with the Normal Cornbelters, an independent league team, hitting .288 over 72 games with 17 doubles, seven homers, 35 RBI, 36 runs and 11 stolen bases. He was traded to the Thunderbolts in February, and is signed for the current season.


The 'College Sports Notebook' is published each Friday. Please send items of interest—including local athletes competing at out-of-town colleges—to marcmaturo@aol.com.

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