Cameron Curler hopes that his most recent experience on East Field with the College of St. Joseph baseball team translates to the Glens Falls Dragons.
The third-year assistant coach helped guide the Fighting Saints to their second consecutive USCAA Small College World Series on May 19. As the new coach of the Dragons, the 26-year-old Curler will try to at least lead Glens Falls into the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs.
The Dragons suffered from a 2-13 start last season and finished with a 20-27 mark that left them out of the playoffs.
The Dragons were scheduled to begin their 50-game season Thursday night at Mohawk Valley. They will have their home opener Friday against Albany.
Summer collegiate baseball is always a little difficult, with players not all arriving at the same time. The Dragons, however, catch a break in that since they have a mix of players ranging from Division I to junior colleges. Only one player is still with his team in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Another common occurrence is that teams get several players from a particular school. This year the Dragons have three each from Bucknell and LIU Post, and two each from the University at Buffalo, Siena, Bellarmine, Lee University, St. Lawrence and the College of St. Joseph.
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The Dragons also have more area players than in recent memory. The pitching staff is especially local, with Queensbury graduates Aaron Cook and Ryan Flansburg, Saratoga graduate Ryan Cummings and Fort Ann senior Tyler Mattison.
Cook finished his freshman season with SUNY Adirondack with a 6-1 record in eight games. He struck out 47 and walked 18 in 45 innings. He allowed 38 hits, 21 runs (12 earned) and had an earned run average of 2.40. Cummings appeared in 11 games during his junior season and had a 1-3 record with 21 strikeouts over 25 2/3 innings. Flansburg had a 4-1 record in eight games with Herkimer. He struck out 41 over 35 innings and had a 2.06 ERA.
The Dragons have to wait for Mattison, the all-state pitcher from Fort Ann who is undefeated this season and has helped the Cardinals reach the regional finals.
The local ties extend into the field. Saratoga graduate Brendon Frank, an outfielder, finished his freshman season at St. Lawrence having started all 32 games for the Saints and with a .309 batting average. Gansevoort’s Matt Hamel, an infielder and CBA graduate, hit .207 during his freshman year at Siena, with a .981 fielding percentage.
Hoosic Valley graduate Jared Morello, an infielder, was named a USCAA second-team All-American at St. Joseph. He finished his sophomore season with a .345 batting average, .429 on-base percentage and a team-high 33 RBIs.
Maple Hill graduate Anthony Butler was named an honorable mention All-Liberty League selection for St. Lawrence. He finished his sophomore season with 112 putouts, six assists and a .985 fielding percentage. At the plate, he hit .274.
The Dragons also have some returning players, including the team’s leading hitter last year, Brian Uliana, who finished his junior year at Rider, and Mark Powell, a senior at Saint Rose who last played for Glens Falls in 2015.
“I’d like to play an aggressive style,” Curler said, “but it’s still too early to tell if we have the personnel to do that.
“We have enough depth defensively and offensively,” Curler added. “Certainly, different guys will be given the opportunity to define their roles on this team.”
Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.