2011 Baseball Season Recap

Release Date:
June 6, 2011
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

2011 Season Review: With two seniors leading the way, the Hilbert College baseball team took several steps forward this 2011 season under the direction of first year head coach, Jim Pernick. The Hawks finished the rain-soaked season 5-25 and 3-15 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference league play, but improvement was apparent based on game recaps. The youthful team lost four AMCC games by one run, and another conference game by two runs; with a deeper pitching staff and consistent defensive play, the Hawks could have been in position to fight for a play-off spot in May.

With limited outdoor practice opportunities, Hilbert traveled to Cocoa Beach, FL to participate in the  Cocoa Expo Baseball spring tournament. Taking the field for the first time live, the Hawks faced mainly Division III teams also from the northern states looking for sunshine and productive field conditions. Hilbert opened the season with losses against Rochester College (MI), Manhattanville (NY), Westminster (PA), and Oswego State (NY) before capturing their first win (8-5) against Bethany College (WV). 

Returning to campus 1-7, the Hawks were ready to play ball but Mature Nature wasn’t as cooperative. Eight double header games were impacted with the rain and/or snow in March and even into April. Hilbert had to reschedule eight games and cancel games with three other non-conference opponents.   RIT gave the Hawks their first northern loss and a wake-up call to the team. In the middle portion of the AMCC schedule, the Hawks split games with league opponents providing a little excitement within the campus community.

March 30th, the Hawks traveled to Penn State Behrend for their first Pernick-coached AMCC game. The Lions took the game from the visitors in extra innings (2-1) before dominating game two (15-2). In their next AMCC game, at La Roche, Hilbert played two close games losing both by one run (8-7 and 6-5) to one of the top teams in the league. At this point in the season, Hilbert was showing signs of growth and confidence.

Due to Hilbert’s sloppy field, the Hawks hosted Mount Aloysius College at St. Bonaventure University (Olean, NY) April 10th. Hilbert played like champions in game one, winning their first AMCC game 3-2. Then the team struggled defensively surrendering in a 14-5 defeat. Four days later, Hilbert hosted their ONLY home game of the season on campus against Pitt-Bradford. The Hawks started the day slowly losing game one (14-2) but turned the corner in game two, and, behind Nick Sherman’s pitching (struck out 10 and gave up only 2 hits), Hilbert won their first AMCC game in a 6-0 shut-out.

Playing a home game at Franciscan University was another game change for Hilbert. April 17th found the Hawks opening with a 23-6 defeat only to find them flipping the results in a 10-8 game two victory. Ryan LaCorte took the win in just over 5 innings of work.

The Hawks finished the season with one other non-conference road game as well as four other AMCC double headers, none of which were played in Hamburg. Against Cazenovia, the Hawks stormed back to take the 5-4 lead in the top of the 7th inning and held on to capture their last win of season.   In order to get the game played, both D’Youville and Hilbert traveled to Batavia, NY for their double header game at Genesee Community College April 27. D’Youville outscored the Hawks 36 – 9 for their programs first wins of season. The next afternoon, Hilbert hosted Penn State Altoona at Pitt-Bradford’s field and suffered two more lopsided losses before hosting Pitt-Greensburg at Erie Community College April 30. Frank Simmeth and Ryan LaCorte were honored in between games for their dedication to the program. Both athletes played in every game during their four years at Hilbert.

Unfortunately, due to the terrible 2011 spring weather, the Hawks played three fewer games than the 2010 season which impacted team statistics as well as individual stats. Junior Matt Militello (Depew, NY/Lancaster) lead the Hawks hitting with (.378) average, scored 18 runs off 37 hits (with 5 doubles and one triple) earning 13 RBI. He also held the team high slugging percentage of (.449) and stole 14 bases (of 17 attempts).   Seniors Ryan LaCorte (Cheektowaga, NY/JFK) and Frank Simmeth (Cheektowaga, NY/St. Mary’s) were solid performers all season long. LaCorte lead the team with 20 runs and hit the team’s solo home run with a (.316) average. Simmeth finished with 23 hits (4 doubles) and 10 RBI and was a perfect 4 for 4 on stolen bases. Earning an AMCC Player of the Week honor was freshman Frank Mancuso (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) who finished the season with 11 RBI (.305 ave) and 135 outs stretching from 1st base to beat the runner. Besides Militello, junior Jim Pernick (Tonawanda, NY/St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute) was the only other player to start every game in 2011. Pernick was a versatile defensive player who earned 12 RBI with five doubles in his 30 games.

Coach Pernick used the approach of ‘Pitcher by Committee’ using a total of 17 players on the mound with nine players appearing in six or more games during the season. Even though an eye injury prevented him from playing for seven days at a crucial point in the season, junior Nick Sherman (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) spent the most amount of time on the mound tossing a total of 46 innings (5.28 era and 41 strike outs) in 9 games. For his efforts, Sherman was also honored by the AMCC as Pitcher of the Week one time in 2011.

With a full season under his belt, Coach Pernick is excited about the 2012 season. Current returning players will be blended with incoming freshman and transfer student-athletes to complete the roster and fight for an AMCC play-off berth.

Click (here) to see the 2011 season recap.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.