A lot of things had to go right this season for Albertus Magnus to capture its first section title since 1994 and that started with improved offensive production. The Falcons were returning one of the best pitching staffs in Class B, but they had hit just .240 as a team in 2014, so finding ways to score runs was high on their list of priorities.
Senior Christian Conklin almost single-handedly alleviated those concerns.
Known primarily as a pitcher entering the season, Conklin swung a red-hot bat from start-to-finish. He led the team in batting average (.463), on-base percentage (.577), slugging (.829), runs scored (34), hits (38), steals (7), RBI (22), doubles (10), triples (4) and home runs (4). But more important than any gaudy offensive numbers was Conklin’s ability to hit in the clutch. All four of his homers came in the sixth inning or later to either tie the score or give Magnus the lead. He did it in the Spring Bash, the league championship game against Tappan Zee and in the regional final against Mattituck when the Falcons were down to their final out. Conklin proved to be much more than just a pitcher, earning The Journal News’ 2015 Rockland player of the year award.
Other members of The Journal News Rockland All-County first-team:
C —Michael Barbato, Sr., Tappan Zee: Even though he missed almost half of the season due to a broken thumb, the Pace-bound senior made a lasting impression. He was hitting .552 at the time and had thrown out over 60 percent of would-be base-stealers.
INF — Brian Bohlander, Jr., North Rockland: The junior third baseman emerged as the Red Raiders’ best bat, hitting .438 with a .488 on-base percentage and a team-high 21 RBI. He struck out only four times all season.
INF — Bryan Borruso, Sr., Tappan Zee: Once Barbato went down, Borruso took over as TZ’s top run producer. The senior hit .479 and slugged .662 with 25 RBI, 18 runs scored, 11 extra-base hits and 34 hits in total.
INF — Gabe Cohen, Sr., Suffern: The senior third baseman was the Mounties’ most consistent offensive threat all season, hitting .403 with a team-leading 26 hits and 19 RBI. The three-year starter finished his career with 51 RBI.
INF — Alden Gonzalez, Sr., Clarkstown South: The senior first baseman was a revelation for the Rockland AA league champs, leading the team in batting average (.443), on-base percentage (.519) and RBI (24).
OF — Danny Campbell, Sr., Pearl River: On a team filled with underclassmen, the New Paltz-bound senior did a little bit of everything. He hit .438 with 19 runs scored, 19 RBI, nine steals and 10 doubles, while also going 4-1 on the mound, including a complete game against TZ in the Class A outbracket round.
OF — Conklin
OF — Daniel Marcillo, Jr., Nyack: The junior was a breakout star for the Indians, hitting at a .475 clip with 28 hits, 21 RBI, 18 runs scored, three homers and a .728 slugging percentage. He also posted a 3.50 ERA in 30 innings pitched.
UTI — Steven Rosato, Sr., Clarkstown North: Coach Mike Pisano called the senior, “clearly the best offensive and defensive player” for the Rams. He put up an 0.80 ERA on the mound, allowing three earned runs all season, and hit .310.
UTI — Justin Rosenberg, Sr., Clarkstown South: The senior second baseman was the catalyst for the Vikings, hitting .409 from the leadoff spot while leading the team in runs (20) and steals (8). He also posted a 2.33 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 21 innings, earning league MVP honors.
P — Vincent Lea, Sr., East Ramapo: The senior right-hander gave the Titans a chance to win every time that he took the mound, going 4-3 with a 1.39 ERA with 53 strikeouts and just eight walks in 51.2 innings. He also hit .344 with 10 RBI.
P — Owen Lorenz, Sr., Albertus Magnus: The ace of the Class B champs did not allow an earned run in his final six starts, including four playoff starts. The Elon-bound left-hander finished with a 1.79 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. He also hit .325 with a .442 on-base percentage and 19 runs scored.
P — James Reilly, Jr., Albertus Magnus: The junior right-hander stepped up to round out the Falcons’ rotation, earning MVP honors with 6.1 scoreless innings of one-hit relief in the section final. He finished with a 1.58 ERA, 45 strikeouts in 53 innings and a team-high eight wins.
P — Will Silverstone, Jr., Nanuet: The junior right-hander was a strike-throwing machine, issuing just four walks in 48 innings with a 75 percent strike rate. He went 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 38 strikeouts.
P — Danny Wirchansky, Sr., North Rockland: Perhaps the best pitcher in Rockland County this season, the Rockland Community College-bound left-hander posted a microscopic 0.55 ERA with a 0.71 WHIP, going 7-0 with 60 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Coach of the year
Dan Freeman, Albertus Magnus: With the Falcons rising to new heights, Freeman was the logic choice as the top coach in the county. Under his guidance, Magnus outlasted much larger schools for a league title and won its first Section 1 title since 1994. Freeman developed the deepest pitching staff in Class B.
C — Jeffry Parra, Jr., East Ramapo
INF — Peter Iannarilli, Jr., Clarkstown South
INF — Brian Kay, Sr., Clarkstown North
INF — Kevin Mackin, Jr., Nanuet
INF — Billy Rotella, Jr., North Rockland
OF — Michael Goff, Sr., Albertus Magnus
OF — Christian Nicolosi, Sr., North Rockland
OF — Jack Schnell, Sr., Suffern
UTI — Tim Cuozzo, Sr., Nyack
UTI — Rob Ottaviano, Sr., Albertus Magnus
P — Dean Conti, Sr., Clarkstown South
P — Chris Dodrill, Jr., North Rockland
P — Alex Knoebel, Sr., Nyack
P — Kevin Scrima, So., Pearl River
P — Justin Weisberg, Sr., Suffern
Honorable mention: Jeff Alvarez, Sr., Suffern; Nick Apuzzo, Sr., Clarkstown South; Patrick Bateman, Jr., Pearl River; Austin Cavazzi, Jr., Nyack; Nick Comparetto, Sr., Nanuet; Matt DeBlasio, Sr., Clarkstown South; Michael Dellicarri, Sr., Clarkstown North; Sean Flaherty, Fr., Pearl River; Pierce Mariquit, Sr., Suffern; Justin Powell, So., Tappan Zee; Anthony Ricci, Sr., Tappan Zee; Jordan Rivera, Jr., Albertus Magnus; Terence Rogers, Jr., Nanuet; Eric Sandusky, Jr., North Rockland; Jason Zaro, Sr., Nanuet
Fan-selected all-star team
C — Sean Flaherty, Fr., Pearl River (2,489 votes)
INF — Anthony Ricci, Sr., Tappan Zee (3,624)
INF — Brian Kay, Sr., Clarkstown North (3,375)
INF — Rob Ottaviano, Sr., Albertus Magnus (1,773)
INF — Patrick Bateman, Jr., Pearl River (1,764)
OF — Daniel Marcillo, Jr., Nyack (2,703)
OF — Christian Conklin, Sr., Albertus Magnus (2,437)
OF — Christian Nicolosi, Sr., North Rockland (1,395)
UTI — Michael Barbato, Sr., Tappan Zee (2,383)
UTI — Thomas Crowley, Sr., Albertus Magnus (1,926)
P — Chris Dodrill, Jr., North Rockland (2,367)
P — James Reilly, Jr., Albertus Magnus (1,894)
P — Justin Powell, So., Tappan Zee (1,315)
P — Danny Wirchansky, Sr., North Rockland (971)
P — Steven Rosato, Sr., Clarkstown North (621)
Photo by Peter Carr/The Journal News