NEW PALTZ — Three SUNY New Paltz baseball players have been named to the NCAA Division III ABCA/Rawlings New York Region All-Star Team.
Senior centerfielder Shawn Francis was selected to the First Team – making him eligible for national All-America consideration – while junior shortstop Brian Clarke and sophomore designated hitter John Buonamano were named to the Second and Third Teams, respectively.
Francis, an Albany, NY native (Colonie ’96), batted .400 again this season, with 52 hits, 22 stolen bases, 13 doubles and four home runs. He made just one error in 96 fielding chances (.990) in 2000 and has committed just four errors in his two seasons (161 chances) at New Paltz.
Additionally, Francis set school season marks for at bats (130), runs (47), hits, stolen bases, longest hitting streak (15 games) and was one of two players to break the previous record for doubles in a season. He was the ECAC Division III Upstate NY Hitter of the Week three weeks ago and was named a preseason “Player to Watch” by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Francis’ considerable talents have caught the eye of scouts from several Major League teams, including the Houston Astros, Florida Marlins and Chicago White Sox. There is a possibility that he may be selected in the 2000 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft next month.
Clarke, a native of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia (Sackville ’94), batted .373 for the Hawks this season, with 44 hits, 31 runs scored, six home runs and school marks for assists (86), total bases (78), runs batted in (44), doubles (16) and slugging percentage (.661).
He spent two seasons at nearby Dutchess Community College, earning Second Team All-America recognition in 1999.
Buonamano, a Royersford, Pa. native (Springford ’97) who transferred to New Paltz from local Division I baseball power Marist College, batted .376 with 38 hits, 23 runs batted in, nine doubles and five home runs this season. He also went 3-2 on the mound for the Hawks, with a 3.51 earned-run average and a school-record two shutouts (earned in his first two starts of the season).
He was the leading hitter (.667 average) at this year’s SUNYAC Tournament, with 10 hits in 15 at bats, and seven runs batted in and a double in four games. Buonamano also pitched six strong innings but did not factor in the decision in New Paltz’s 6-4 elimination win over Oneonta on the first day of the tournament.
The trio was recently honored along with sophomore pitcher Eric Kantner with their selection to the All-SUNYAC Baseball Team.
Kantner, a New Hampton, NY native (Goshen ’98), went 3-0 in conference play this season, completing all three starts and allowing just eight runs and seven walks in 21 innings. He also pitched a complete-game seven-hitter with seven strikeouts against Brockport in the Hawks’ SUNYAC Tournament opener on May 5.
New Paltz won 22 games this season, surpassing the 1975 school record for most wins (19), and broke 26 records in all. The Hawks qualified for the SUNYAC Tournament for the first time in consecutive seasons, and only the third time since 1976.
New Paltz lost in the SUNYAC championship game, 6-0, to 20-time SUNYAC champion Cortland, which has now won four straight SUNYAC titles, and nine of the last 10.