Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cioffi chooses Towson

Nick Cioffi pitches for the South Troy Dodgers this summer. (Photo provided).

AVERILL PARK — All it took was an official visit to Towson University for Averill Park native Nick Cioffi to be sold on the Tigers’ baseball program.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Cioffi said. “I took an official visit last week and I loved every single thing about it - the campus, the academics, the baseball program. I was down there for two days and they made me feel like I was part of the team.”

Tuesday evening, Cioffi, a senior at Averill Park High School, informed Towson head coach Mike Gottlieb of his verbal commitment to pitch for the Tigers beginning with the 2012 season.

Cioffi, a righthanded pitcher, guided Averill Park’s team to the Section II Class A championship game against Ichabod Crane this past spring. He posted a 7-2 record with a 1.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts against 18 walks in 59 innings during the high school season.

This summer and fall, he pitched for the South Troy Dodgers, compiling a 10-2-1 overall record with 79 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched.

Cioffi mixes in a slider with his fastball and offspeed pitches and routinely hits 84 to 87 miles per hour on the radar gun. Under the tutelage of Averill Park head coach Mike Conroy and South Troy Dodgers pitching coach Wayne Jones, who call all of his pitches, Cioffi has learned to become a pitcher, not just a thrower.

“I’ve always had pretty good velocity,” Cioffi said. “The last couple of years I leaned that I have to outthink the hitters and really focus on my location. I can’t just get away with throwing it as hard as I can, because the players at this level are going to hit it. I have to locate my pitches more.”

Cioffi also considered Iona, Marist, Rhode Island and Central Connecticut State before deciding on Towson. He plans on majoring in Business.

Towson University, located in Towson, Maryland, is about 10 miles north of Baltimore.

Former Schenectady High star and South Troy Dodgers player Casper Wells, who finished out the 2010 season as a major member of the Detroit Tigers’ outfield, played his college baseball at Towson.

With his senior year of high school and a season of summer baseball ahead of him before he heads to campus, Cioffi is glad to have the burden of the decision off his back. He’s hoping that helps him focus on the mound as soon as the snow melts in 2011 as well, perhaps pitching the Warriors back to Joe Bruno Stadium for another Section II championship game.

“It just helps to get it done with now,” Cioffi said. “I didn’t want to be a distraction during the season. We just want to get that bad taste out of our mouths and in a way, I think it might help. We want to achieve the goal of winning a sectional title and possibly even more.”

Nick Cioffi’s 2010 baseball card
Averill Park High School
7-2, 1.89, 59.0, 18, 82, 7, 4
South Troy Dodgers, summer
6-2, 1.50, 42.0, 13, 49, 31
South Troy Dodgers, fall
4-0-1, 1.00, 21.0, 3, 20, 10

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