Courtesy of Greg Gornick, Chestnut Hill SID

Philadelphia, PA – (9/15/2010) – Last season, the Chestnut Hill College baseball program reached the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship Tournament in just its third year of existence. Unfortunately a first-round exit ended the season too soon in the eyes of Head Coach Bob Spratt and his staff. Now focused on 2011, the Griffins add another batch of recruits to a maturing and ever-improving roster.

Headlining the 2011 recruiting class is a pair of live bats. Spratt commented on the new lumber, “Ray Puskar is a versatile player that can hit, run, and play numerous positions. He is a quality young man that can help this ball club in his first year. He comes from a program that has a winning tradition and his leadership will be counted on.” Puskar attended Pennridge High School, where he played third base at an All-Suburban One level in the Continental Conference. He twice played for the All-Suburban One Team in the prestigious Carpenter Cup (2010, 2009), which is hosted annually by the Philadelphia Phillies. Puskar also earned First Team status as an outfielder in the Bux-Mont American Legion League where he was named the Player of the Year.

Spratt continued, “I am excited to have a player like Joe Mullin. He is an accomplished batter who can hit for power and average. He will bat in the middle of the lineup and he will provide immediate punch in our lineup. Defensively, he can play all over the field. He will get the opportunity to play behind the plate, at the corners, in the middle infield, and in the outfield.” Joe Mullin was Puskar’s teammate and captain on the Continental Conference All-Suburban One Team that participated in the 2010 Carpenter Cup. He earned his All-Suburban One status as a catcher for Central Bucks South High School, where he also captained the football team and earned a Third-Team Suburban One selection as a center.

Other additions to the offense include Desmond Lites of the Academy of the New Church and Mark Woltemate of Father Judge High School. According to Spratt, “Lites is an athletic player who will challenge for time in the outfield; he possess excellent speed and throwing arm that will fit into our system at Chestnut Hill College.” As a senior, Lites was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2010 Pennsylvania All-East American Legion Team. He was also named First Team All-Friends League in 2010 where he additionally excelled as a three-year tailback.

Woltemate was an All-Philadelphia Second Team selection as an infielder for Father Judge High School. Assistant Head Coach Bryan Torresani remarked on addition, “Woltemate is a versatile player from a quality Philadelphia-area high school program. We are looking forward to using that versatility in a role which will allow Mark to help us win ball games.”

The pitching staff adds three more names to the catalog. Topping the list is left-handed transfer, Travis Kakareko of Suffolk County Community College. Spratt offered that, “Travis Kakareko will make a big impact on our staff. He will challenge for a spot in the rotation or be a back end bullpen guy. He has pitched in big games at Suffolk and his experience will be valued on our staff.” At Suffolk, Kakareko was a member of JUCO World Series winner in 2009 and he captained the runner-up in 2009. In high school, Kakareko was a all-conference player at W. Trasper Clarke High School.

Spratt is also high on the right arm of Seamus Finnegan, “Finnegan will be a big part of our pitching staff in the future. He suffered an injury to his pitching elbow that will sideline him this year, but we are excited about what Seamus will have the opportunity to learn his first year and we hope that expereince help him to a speedy recovery and a great career at Chestnut Hill College.” Finnegan was a All-Philadelphia Second Team selection as a pitcher and first baseman at Archbishop Carroll High School. As a senior, he also earned All-Main Line recognition and All Area Second Team status from the Delaware County Daily Times.

Darren Griffith of Unionville High School is another new arm on the Griffin pitching staff. Coach Torresani spoke on Griffith’s abilities, “Darren has the potential to factor in our bullpen mix. He has thrown in big games throughout his high school career and will be in a battle with other returning pitchers for quality innings.” Griffith played in the 2010 Keystone State Games and was named Pitcher of Year at Unionville High School in his senior campaign.

The expectations for the 2011 season continue to grow with Coach Spratt’s most recent additions. With added power to both the lineup and pitching staff, the Griffins are sure to improve their standing in the hyper-competitive Central Atlantic College Conference (CACC).