Former DJack Aidan Kane (25) gets some love after hitting a home run for Delaware.
It was a disjointed year for college players due to the pandemic and the various and uneven precautions taken by individual universities and conferences. But it was nice to see our former Diamond Jacks make the best of a difficult situation.
It was particularly comforting to see our college freshmen overcome the many challenges inherent in competing as a college neophyte, entangled with pandemic protocols.
Most colleges limited travel and kept to their conference schedules and others limited play altogether, as West Morris grad Matt Gluck can attest at Franklin & Marshall, which took the field just 15 times last spring.
With the specter of COVID-19 hanging over the season, teams competed and got in most, if not at, of their 2021 season. At the Division 1 level, the season was capped by a terrific college World Series that saw Mississippi State prevail in a three-game series win over Vanderbilt.
Back to our freshmen.
Aidan Kane, who had such a terrific high school experience at Delbarton, made a significant contribution as a freshman at Delaware. Kane played in 29 of the Blue Hens’ 34 games and started in 27 of them. The outfielder batted .271 with four doubles, a triple and three home runs. He drove in 11 runs and reached base at a .349 clip.
Montville grad Zack Sylvester played in 22 of Seton Hall University’s 48 games, primarily at second base, as he joined fellow Diamond Jack alums Matt Toke (1B) and Devin Hack (OF) as contributing Pirates. Sylvester batted .250 (16-for-64), hit a home run and knocked in 10 runs. He started 17 games for the Pirates (23-25).
Gluck, who helped steer West Morris to the NJSIAA Group 3 state final in 2019, worked his way into the leadoff spot in the Franklin & Marshall batting order. Franklin & Marshall played just 15 games but Gluck played in every one of them as a freshman, starting in 14 games. The infielder batted .231 and scored 10 runs.
Sebastian Mueller, a St. Joseph (Met.) grad, played in 25 games for Quinnipiac and made some significant noise along the way. The 6-1, 215 first baseman batted .253 with 20 hits, including three doubles and two home runs. He scored nine runs and drove home nine runs.
Nate Scott, a 5-10, 180 righthander from New Providence, saw significant time on the mound for Ithaca College. Scott made 10 appearances and posted a 3.63 ERA. He was 1-2 and struck out 21 batters in 22.1 innings of work.
Kyle Mahady, a Nazareth High (Pa.) grad, saw two-way action for St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. Mahady, a 6-1, 180 righty, made six appearances and two starts (13.1 innings) on the mound and went 9-for-47 at the plate while playing second base.
Ben Iervolino, a Hunterdon Central grad, made just four appearances for Mount St. Mary, but made the most of them. The lefthander permitted just one hit in 4.1 innings, struck out four and walked two to post a 2.70 ERA.