The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Red Storm 2006

The 2006 Red Storm baseball team went 40-19. They finished fourth in the Big East with a 16-10 record in-conference and advanced to the semifinals. They had two players who are now playing professional baseball.
All that, and it was still a disappointing season.
“I’m disappointed, [but] there’s always good teams left out [of the NCAA Tournament] and we were one of them this year,” said coach Ed Blankmeyer.
The Storm’s record-setting 41-18 year in 2005 was a tough act to follow, but what is truly incredible is that, despite losing six key players to the draft, St. John’s lost only one game in the standings.
“I think if we had the old players back, we’d have a better club, but you just don’t know,” said Blankmeyer. “You can’t have expectations based on what you lose.”
However, it was only the second year in team history that they won 40 games (the second time in two years) so it is impossible to call it a failed season.
What made this team so much better then most expected were, of course, the players.
Will Vogl, taking over for Greg Thomson in centerfield, had an incredible year in which he led the team in most offensive categories and was named a third-team All-American.
Chris Joachim was another integral part of the offensive puzzle. He hit nearly .400 for the year as the first baseman and was named an All-Region player.
Jeff Grantham emerged as a solid shortstop as he and freshman Gino Matias took over for Major League drafted P.J. Antoniato.
“A lot of guys that got an opportunity stepped up and played well,” said Blankmeyer.
He added: “[We had a] whole new starting rotation and a new closer.”
The pitching staff was completely revamped over the year, but just like the starting lineup, it had key contributions from unexpected place.
“Scott Barnes came on to be our number one guy,” said Blankmeyer.
Barnes is a freshman lefthander that was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 2005 MLB Draft but decided to go to college instead.
So far, it has been a good decision as he had a 3.66 ERA and struck out 74 batters in 64 innings.
Another staff anchor was Rob Delaney, who was counted on pre-reason to provide a veteran presence. He had a team-high seven wins and a 4.01 ERA.
“Rob Delaney had a solid year,” said Blankmeyer.
In the bullpen, James Lally pitched only 15 innings but the submariner had three saves and a 1.20 ERA, but freshman Rich Armento became the closer. He posted a 2.67 ERA and recorded a team-high five saves.
But, the surprise story of the staff had to be Jared Yecker, a freshman who went 7-1 with a 3.02 ERA.
Despite another terrific year, this season had a much different ending when it came to the professional draft.
Whereas the 2005 team had 6 draftees, not a single player on this year’s squad was drafted.
Coach Blankmeyer was surprised but commented that “it happens.”
He added: “When your program is good, guys get signed anyway.”
That is exactly what happened, as both Delaney and Vogl were signed.
“Rob wanted to play [for us] but we all felt that he wanted to start pro ball,” said Blankmeyer.
And of Vogl, he said: “Will deserved it. He should’ve been drafted.”
They may have lost two key players, but if the 2006 season showed us anything, it is that the St. John’s baseball team can survive through any loss.

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