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We Are New York’s Team

Saturday, January 20, 2018

For the fourth-straight season, the St. John’s baseball team has been picked to win the BIG EAST championship in a preseason poll of the conference’s coaches. The league’s coaches also recognized a number of Red Storm players for their projected individual prowess.

Sophomore and Sport Management major Sean Mooney unanimously earned Preseason Pitcher of the Year accolades and senior and Homeland Security major Anthony Brocato claimed Preseason Co-Player of the Year honors. Anthony also has a minor in Psychology. Coming off strong showings in a 2017 campaign that saw the Red Storm win 42 games, International Communication major John Valente ’17CPS, junior and Sport Management major Josh Shaw, and sophomore and Finance major Joe LaSorsa also found spots on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.

In addition to team recognition, the winningest coach in St. John’s history and the most successful coach in the 30-plus year history of the BIG EAST conference, Ed Blankmeyer, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January. Coach Blankmeyer has presided over 758 victories and a .622 career winning percentage. One of the nation’s most consistently successful programs, St. John’s has had only three head coaches since 1956—all three are now Hall of Famers.

“In February of 1996, I was hired to become the head baseball coach at St. John’s University,” Coach Blankmeyer said during his acceptance speech. “The first person to congratulate and welcome me to St. John’s was none other than Jack Kaiser, one of the founding fathers of the BIG EAST, Hall of Fame coach, and cherished member of our association. He has done so much for the University, as well as being a very special person to many of us here tonight.”

Dozens of Coach Blankmeyer’s former players and staff members attended the induction ceremony, a true testament to the lasting effect he has had both on and off the field.

“Without outstanding players who are team oriented, it is very difficult to achieve championship success,” continued Coach Blankmeyer. “I have been blessed to coach many great players over my 38 years as a college coach. As a coach I have tried to follow the “Golden Rule”—I coached and treated players the way I wanted to be coached and treated. My goal was to teach them to play the right way and, through lessons of baseball, make them better men. I pray that I accomplished this goal.”

The accolades for Coach Blankmeyer’s players continued when Sean Mooney found a spot on the 2018 Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-America Second Team following one of the most dominant freshman campaigns in the history of the BIG EAST Conference.

Last season, Sean became just the second player in conference history to be named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Demonstrating tremendous control throughout the season, Sean struck out 88 batters while surrendering just 16 walks in 100 innings of work.

Preseason celebrations will culminate at this year's Bullpen Winter Banquet, which will welcome home a legendary name in the proud history of the St. John's Baseball program. Former Red Storm standout and World Series Champion Joe Panik will headline the program's annual fundraiser at Edison Ballroom in Manhattan on Feb. 6.

Having recently completed his fourth Major League Baseball (MLB) season with the San Francisco Giants, Mr. Panik has solidified a reputation as one of the MLB's top young infielders. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2014, Mr. Panik played a key role in leading the Giants to a World Series title, hitting .305 with 18 RBIs (runs batted in) and finishing sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He started and batted second in all seven World Series games for the Giants in 2014, tallying six hits and three RBIs over that stretch.

The 29th overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft, Mr. Panik led the Red Storm to three winning seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and a BIG EAST Championship during his tenure at St. John’s.

To cap off a preseason marked by awards and celebrations for an outstanding and nationally recognized baseball program, this season, the Red Storm is looking forward to taking to the home field at Jack Kaiser Stadium on the Queens campus on a new state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface.