By Paul Gotham
ROCHESTER, NY — Less than two weeks have passed since the end of the season for Monroe Community College baseball, and a trio of Tribunes already have plans set to venture into their possible first experiences with the professional ranks.
Vinny Bomasuto (Dunkirk, NY/Dunkirk), Brad Kaczka (Pittsford, NY/ Pittsford Sutherland) and AJ Kehlenbeck (Oakfield, NY/ Oakfield-Alabama) will attend workouts in the coming days for the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins.
These invitation only sessions give organizations an opportunity to gain further information about prospects.
The Tribune Trio will workout for the Reds on May 26th in New Jersey and then for the Twins on May 29th at Rochester’s Frontier Field.
Bomasuto set an MCC record and led the nation with 18 triples for the 33-15 Tribunes. He paced the Tribs hitting .427 with an on-base percentage of .489 and slugging .752. The right-hander also made seven appearances on the mound including earning the save as Monroe clinched its 23rd Region III title. He equaled the performance a week later when he retired all three batters he faced as Monroe downed Rockland County Community College, 4-2 to open the East District Tournament.
Kaczka hit .370 for the Black and Gold while playing middle infield. The right-handed batter collected four home runs and drove in 40 all while getting 203 chances in the field and contributing to 20 of 90 double plays turned by the Monroe defense. Last summer, Kaczka batted lead off and made 38 starts at shortstop for the Sherrill Silversmiths of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. He hit .280 with 11 extra-base hits including four home runs.
Kehlenbeck, a 2011 Gold Glove winner behind the plate, showed little rust after sitting out a season to take care of academic priorities. Kehlenbeck hit .373 with nine extra-base hits and 18 RBI. But his most significant contribution to the Tribs was not what he did at the plate rather it was what he did behind the plate. Kehlenbeck threw out 17 of 32 would be base stealers. His arm proved so much of a threat that Monroe base runners stole more bases (68) than opponents attempted (57).
In addition to workouts with the Red and Twins, Kehlenbeck will have a chance to showcase his talents for the Pittsbrugh Pirates.
Bomasuto, Kaczka and Kehlenbeck will look to join Cory Brownsten (’07-’08) and Patrick Urckfitz (’07-’08) as former Tribunes employed in minor league baseball.
Brownsten and Urckfitz led Mike Kelly’s Tribunes to a third-place finish in the 2008 NJCAA World Series. Brownsten went on to play two years at the University of Pittsburgh before the Atlanta Braves selected him in the 15th round of the 2010 draft. Urckfitz signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros in 2008. Both Brownsten and and Urckfitz played with the Webster Yankees of the NYCBL under MCC Hall-of-Famer Dave Brust.
Tim Redding (’96-’97) was the last player selected in the MLB draft directly out of MCC. The Astros chose Redding in the 20th round of the 1997 draft. He made his major league debut in 2001.
In all, the Tribs have earned 29 draft selections in the program’s 48-year history. This number does not include players like Greg Keagle and Brownsten who went on to four-year schools before being drafted.
Keagle finished his college career at Florida International before the San Diego Padres made him a sixth-round pick. He made 23 starts and 46 appearances over three seasons for the Detroit Tigers.
During a seven-year span in the 70s, a dozen Tribunes earned 14 draft picks. Peter Castle led off for Monroe when the Pirates chose the right-hander in the sixth round of the June 1970 draft. Two years later, the reigning World Series champion Bucs took Al Dreschler in the seventh round. Charles Steffen heard his name called twice the following year — first in January by the Bucos and then in June by the New York Mets. The denizens of Three Rivers also took Bill Muoio in the 11th round of the January selection.
The Tribs made a splash in 1974 when four MCC diamond men were taken. The Pittsburgh nine chose John Pilato (4th round), Robert Harold (5th), James Del Re (6th) and Randy Law (10th) in the January draft.
In 1976, the Cincinnati Reds chose Tom Dimino (17th), and the Cleveland Indians took James Johnson (11th).
Ken Lelek accounted for three of those draft picks. The Montreal Expos tabbed the right-hander in the 1975 January draft. The Chicago Cubs took Lelek in June of that same year. Pittsburgh chose Lelek the following June.
Brust signed with the Atlanta Braves in 1989 and played three years in the organization including two for the Durham Bulls under the direction of head coach Grady Little.