New York State Games Preview: Mohawk Valley Region

New York staff

As Prep Baseball Report’s 2016 New York State Games expanded from last year's six-team field, there has been a conscientious effort to shine a light on more baseball players in more regions.

This is great news for Jim Wolf, a 14-year varsity baseball coach at Charlotte Valley of the Mohawk Valley region. He wishes there was more available local talent — nine players were selected following a 15-player tryout — but Wolf has rounded out his roster with athletes from other sections of the state, as well as three players from New Jersey.

Perhaps no player on Wolf’s roster represents the Mohawk Valley region’s untapped potential more than RHP Cole Fancher (2017). Fancher throws in the mid-80s, possesses a knuckle-curve and changeup, and is looking to add a curveball for his upcoming senior year.

“It’s a small area,” Wolf said. “Nobody’s heard of (Gilboa-Conesville High School). But he mows kids down in the league. Might be a diamond in the rough. These games are his best chance at getting noticed.”

Erik Dusseldorp (2018) is a 6-foot-3 left-handed pitcher who Wolf affectionately considers “all arms and legs right now.” His teammate Nickolas Hill (2017) is a 5-foot-11 solid defensive catcher with a pop time around 2.2.

A catcher of comparable skill is Zachary France (2017) of Cooperstown. Wolf said France is looking to make an impression on Rochester Institute of Technology, his top academic choice, at the showcase while he’s in town.

“He keeps the ball in front,” Wolf said. “He has an average arm and pop time. He’s a smart kid — he wants to be an engineer.”

Joseph Von Holten (2017), also a catcher, has measurables that standout. At 6-foot-0, 180 pounds, Von Holten gets from home to first in 4.47 and has a recorded pop time of 2.07. Also a stud in the classroom, Von Holten got a 1530 on the SAT exam.

“Cole (Fancher) caught him after practice for the first time,” Wolf said. “He’s scooping knuckle-curves in the dirt. He has the best arm out of the bunch.”

Von Holten’s teammate at Shaker High School is Dino Ferrarese (2017). In addition to throwing in the mid-80s and ranking as the 25th best pitcher in the state, at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Ferrarese also weighs in as an intriguing first base prospect.

“He mashes the baseball,” Wolf said.

There might not be a more talented baseball prospect on the roster than Matthew Stil (2018) out of Cherokee High School in New Jersey. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, the RHP is ranked 15th among all prospects in the state, and sixth among all pitching prospects. He’s been topped out at 84 miles-per-hour on his fastball, and throws his changeup at 77.

“He is a stud,” Wolf said. “We’re also going to DH him because he hits so well. Could be our best outfielder.”

Also coming from New Jersey are RHP Alex Soriano (2018) and Tavian Gibson (2017). Other players from outside of the Mohawk Valley region include Michael Jenkins (2017) of Cicero-North Syracuse, Peter Close (2017) of Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, and Nathan Berke (2017) of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Buffalo.

Devin Lewis (2017) is a 6-foot-3 LHP from Cobleskill.

“He throws hard and keeps it down,” Wolf said. “His curveball is decent. He (competes against) Class A schools in league play.”

Taylor Price (2017) will play middle infield, most likely second base, and pitch for Mohawk Valley.

“He has a soft pair of hands,” Wolf said. “He’s not a big kid, but he has a decent arm. Throws upper 70s on the hill.”

Nicholas Boyle (2018) runs a 6.80 60 time, and Wolf is hoping his speed will shine in the outfield despite playing more middle infield during the high school season.

“He’s real fast,” Wolf said. “He hits it hard. But he’ll drop his shoulder and start popping up. He should do pushups on pop ups. Just put it on the ground.”

Dawson Crawford is the only 2016 graduate invited to the New York State Games this summer. A baseball junkie with unconventional measurables (5-foot-8, 220 pounds) for a corner infield/outfielder, Crawford is hoping to play his way into favor with a college program for the 2017-18 academic year.

“He’ll see outfield time for us,” Wolf said about the Sidney High School product. “He loves the game. He’s short and stocky, but he has a solid body.”

Readers can view Mohawk Valley's complete roster by scrolling down here. Mohawk Valley's pitching matchups can be seen here