Thursday, April 9, 2009

'Vliet's Gleason inks letter of intent with Saint Rose

Backed by his baseball teammates, Watervliet senior Caleb Gleason grins after signing his letter of intent to play his college baseball for The College of Saint Rose in Albany. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

A pitcher and an outfielder, Gleason has made a name for himself in the batter's box in Watervliet, earning first team Colonial Council All-Star honors three times. He hit .495 last year with 38 RBI and also considered Siena College and the University at Albany for baseball.

Saint Rose, however, wowed him with two factors. One, he loved the small-school atmosphere and the school's education department (he plans to be an elementary school teacher). Two, Gleason was impressed that the Northeast-10 is a wood bat conference, meaning he'll really be able to prove himself as a hitter.

"I think using the wooden bat is really going to help me because the pros use wooden bats," he said. "It really defines you as a hitter. Many people can hit with aluminum bats but if you can hit with wood, you’re something special."

Former Lansingburgh High star Dave Batchelder is among the Section II alumni on the team and that also factored into Gleason's decision.

Gleason took time to thank his parents for driving him to games and practices over the years, as well as Lansingburgh Royals head coach Joe Henkel, who Gleason called "my summer dad." Gleason amassed a 110-30 record with the Royals over the past few summers and was also named an Albany Twilight League first team All-Star as a 16-year-old.

In a lighter moment, Gleason also thanked Watervliet assistant coach Mike Durocher for plenty of trips to Gus' and Old Country Buffet.

Gleason, flanked by his parents, had an even better afternoon, striking out 10 Voorheesville batters en route to an 11-2 Colonial Council victory over the Blackbirds. The Cannoneers host Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk on Tuesday at Noon in a crucial early season league meeting.

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