3 Stony Brook baseball players who turned down the majors

by Cameron Boon and Andrew Eichenholz

Not many kids have to make a life-altering decision when they graduate high school other than choosing a college to attend. Three members of the Stony Brook baseball team had to deliberate over something far bigger.

They each were drafted by a Major League Baseball squad, giving them a shot at a career of performing in front of thousands upon thousands of fans, day in and day out.

Should they sign a professional baseball contract or accept an athletic scholarship to Stony Brook University?

Johnny Caputo, Daniel Zamora and Ryley MacEachern took a chance and picked Stony Brook.

Now, while hitting the books at the same time that they pitch and swing at baseballs, they must earn that chance again at being picked up by a Big League team.

Who gave up the chance to play professional baseball?

(Andrew Eichenholz)
Johnny Caputo, 21, a junior business major, was selected in the 12th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics. A Toronto native, he was the sixth Canadian to get picked that year. (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
“If you want to play college baseball, you’ve got to go to the [United] States. So, being Canadian, I accepted this a while ago,” Caputo said about playing far away from where he grew up. “It’s not too, too bad; it could be a lot worse. New York is far, but you kind of learn to adjust after awhile.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
“I think the biggest thing that swayed my decision was the business program and the coaching staff,” Caputo, a third baseman, said. “I knew a lot of people who had come to Stony Brook before me, and based off of their recommendations, I figured it would be a good fit for me.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
Both Ryley MacEachern (left) and Daniel Zamora (right) are pitchers for the Seawolves. MacEachern was selected in the 37th round of the 2013 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, while Zamora was chosen in the 27th round of the 2012 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Since they have joined Stony Brook, both have torn the labrum in their pitching shoulders, setting them back in their pursuits of careers in professional baseball. (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
MacEachern, a 20-year-old sophomore from Massachusetts, showed his talent right off the bat in his debut season, earning a spot on the America East Conference All-Rookie team. “Stony Brook just had more to offer,” MacEachern said about why he did not sign a pro contract when it was on the table. “We both wanted to kind of mature a little bit, on and off the field.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
“I’m back, but my innings aren’t full yet, and I’m throwing as hard as I’ve ever thrown. So, I think the way we looked at it was like, ‘Wow, this could have happened in pro ball, and that would have sucked’,” MacEachern said about recovering from his shoulder injury, which may have ruined any shot he had at making his way up the professional ranks if he had chosen that option. “Now, it happened here, we have a good staff and people behind us, supporting us.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
Zamora, a 21-year old sophomore from California, was forced to sit out for the entirety of last season while he worked his way back from shoulder issues of his own. “I didn’t feel like I was ready to handle a minor league schedule or just do all of that stuff in general,” Zamora said. “I thought college was a really good choice for me.”  (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
Each of Stony Brook’s three former draftees cannot take back their decisions now, but what they can do is put their gloves on and get to work in an effort to earn that opportunity again. “It definitely crosses my mind once in a while, but I don’t regret any decision I’ve made, I’m happy where I am,” Caputo said. “Would it have been cool to sign out of high school? Yeah, but I think I’ve had a lot of cool experiences that outweigh that.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
Stony Brook Head Coach Matt Senk is in his 25th season at Stony Brook, during which he has mentored all three Seawolves (Joe Nathan, Tom Koehler and Nick Tropeano) who have made it to the major leagues, like Caputo, MacEachern and Zamora hope to do. “Everyone always says once you leave, you love him, while you’re here, you hate him,” MacEachern said lightheartedly. “When you’re gone, even while you’re here, he’ll do whatever he can to help you with anything.” (Andrew Eichenholz)
(Andrew Eichenholz)
While all three have faced their fair share of obstacles after giving up a shot at being a professional baseball player. all they can do is enjoy the ride. “I think it just helped me,” Zamora said about not signing a professional contract. “Instead of ruining any chances, it helped me as a person, as a player, in any general aspect, it just helped me a lot.” (Andrew Eichenholz)

Stony Brook baseball players look to earn another chance while seeking success as a team

When any college sports team takes the field, it is not about a group of athletes stepping onto a playing field to try to win. Instead, those young adults are students as well.

Some student-athletes have given up more than just their free time to join their respective teams.

The Stony Brook Seawolves have three alum who currently hold a roster spot on a Major League Baseball team. Joe Nathan, Tom Koehler and Nick Tropeano all put on a baseball jersey in front of thousands of people every day and night.

Kevin Krause was picked in the MLB Draft last season after playing in front of nearly nobody at Joe Nathan Field. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)
Kevin Krause was picked in the MLB Draft last season after playing in front of nearly nobody at Joe Nathan Field. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)

On this season’s Seawolves squad, there are players who gave up that chance in order to pursue an education and enhance their abilities at the same time.

In fact, Johnny Caputo, who is a junior infielder from Ontario, was drafted in the 12th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. That is a relatively high selection, as there are 40 rounds, full of college and high school players. Caputo passed on the dream to come to Stony Brook.

The same goes for left-handed pitcher Daniel Zamora, a sophomore. He went in the 27th round, but also chose to pursue his studies while looking to enhance his stock as a prospect in the college game.

When the Seawolves take on NYIT at their own Joe Nathan Field on Tuesday at 3 p.m., each of these stories will take the field, looking to pave their paths to success as a team. As individuals, they push to achieve their professional dreams of playing in front of thousands, even though the game Tuesday may only have a handful of fans in the crowd.

Then, there are those like left-handed pitcher Tyler Honahan who are coming into their own while donning their Seawolves attire. The youngster has taken the America East Conference by storm since he came to Long Island, becoming a draft prospect himself to one day join the ranks of the professionals.

So, shooting photographs of this otherwise meaningless baseball game will not be about documenting one player throwing a ball and another one hitting it. Instead, it will show where a bunch of what still are kids are working everyday towards achieving their goals. Whether that is fighting to earn another chance, or clawing for a first shot, the Seawolves are made up of an interesting groups of individuals in interesting situations.

When looking at Caputo in the batter’s box, with only a couple of diehard fans distantly in the background, imagine what could have been. A couple could be a sold-out crowd.

As Zamora and company hurl pitches off the mound with grimaces on their faces, does that only show the strain of throwing that one pitch, or a hard-fought journey to achieve a dream?

For Head Coach Matt Senk, he has seen it all. He was with this team when they were in NCAA’s Division III with no scholarships on a field fitting for a high school squad. Now, he huddles his team up on a recently-completed multi-million dollar project. That is more than the ordinary baseball coach has seen.

Again, this game is more than just watching to see who scored more runs.
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ORIGINAL PITCH- CHANGED TO BASEBALL

One would think that the spring sports season would be accompanied by heat and sunshine. Instead, as Stony Brook’s men’s lacrosse team continues their season, they still contend with a chilly, snow-dwarfed Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium.

Ironically enough, it is of the utmost importance for the Seawolves to warm up, as America East Conference play starts just two weeks following their contest against the Stags.

Junior Challen Rogers looks to lead the Seawolves to victory. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)
Junior Challen Rogers looks to lead the Seawolves to victory. (NINA LIN/ THE STATESMAN)

Although the stands do not fill up quite as quickly for a game of lacrosse compared to a basketball match up in the new Island Federal Credit Union Arena, there are just as many if not more opportunities for a story.

The yellow rubber ball, if not many of them, are bound to fly off of an erroneous shot or pass into the mounds of snow coating the sidelines and most of the seating areas.

What better way to show a reader that a spring sport is being played in the winter than by snapping a shot of a ball lodged in the snow?

In fact, the Seawolves were supposed to take on defending National Champion today, Feb. 22, but the team from North Carolina was not able to flight out because of winter weather.

Furthermore, every aspect of a game can be told through a camera lens. Catching a coach with their hands in the air or on their heads shows more than just a physical action. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and someone taking a look at a lacrosse photo story could tell how the coach is feeling about the game by looking at one image.

In a way, a camera could capture the action itself better than words.

Even for avid lacrosse fans, it is hard to envision exactly what this refers to. Was Schultz right by the goalie, or was he merely off balance further away? A picture is able to answer this, and contribute to tell the story of a lacrosse game.

Michael Evans, a lacrosse player for Team USA, although he did not mean it that way, once summed up sports photography best.

“It’s all about the little things.”