Youth is Served at Seton Hall
by Don Leypoldt
For New Jersey Baseball Magazine
Pitcher Jon Prosinski and outfielder Scott Kalamar will make several more trips to Jack Kaiser Stadium in the next three years. Kaiser Stadium houses St. John’s baseball program. Prosinski and Kalamar- two rising sophomores at Seton Hall- are well acquainted with the Red Storm through their fierce Big East rivalry. And on July 12th, the two played a game in Kaiser for the away team.
The difference was both Pirate products suited up for the West in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star game. The West toppled the home East 4-1.
“It was pretty cool, especially being one of the freshman, there playing against some of the best guys in the league,” remembered Prosinski. “There were guys from schools like Stanford and Notre Dame. It was fun to play with those guys and play against them.”
Kalamar and Prosinski’s selections validated a summer in which one young Pirate star broke out while another built on a notable spring.
The 6’3” Prosinski went 3-3 this spring. His 4.04 ERA led all Pirate starters; his 13 starts and 75.2 innings both ranked second on the Hall.
The Skillman-native earned Second Team Honors from the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association. Although a starter, Prosinski knows how to close. He allowed just one earned run in seven innings against #19th-ranked Connecticut in the Hall’s season finale. That performance drew national recognition.
Prosinski credits his topflight prep competition for preparing him to play Division I baseball. “My senior year, the Skyland Conference in New Jersey was very tough. I played against some really good hitters and really good teams,” he said. “Even throwing upper 80s or 90 in high school, if I threw it right down the middle the kid would hit it. So I had to learn to pitch even in high school. That helped me out.
“(Seton Hall) Coach (Phil) Cundari worked with my offspeed pitches a lot in the Fall. He got my curveball and change-up a lot better. Those things definitely helped me face the college hitters this year. It makes it a lot harder to hit when you can throw off-speed pitches as well, besides just the fastball.”
The Montgomery High product finished his summer with a 3.31 ERA- best among starters- and 23 strikeouts in 37 innings for the ACBL’s Lehigh Valley Catz.
Kalamar made just one error in his 22 games for the Hall. At the dish, he hit .196 although he struck out just eight times in 60 plate appearances. Those secondary numbers-and Kalamar’s propensity to put the ball in play- foreshadowed his all-star summer for the Quakertown Blazers.
The lefty attended Bethlehem Liberty High School- just 20 minutes up the road from the Blazers. As a prepster, Kalamar twice earned all-conference honors and twice suited up in the Carpenter Cup.
Back home, Kalamar ended the year as hot as any hitter in the ACBL. His .331 average stood as one of the league’s ten best. He also added 22 RBIs and 16 steals for good measure. The lefty raised his average nearly 50 points in the second half of the season as he led Quakertown to the ACBL title game.
Two Blazer games- a July 22nd loss to Prosinski’s Catz and a July 23rd come from behind win against the Jersey Pilots typified Kalamar’s skills.
Kalamar- in the course of nine batters- made three sliding catches and gunned down a runner at third base. A fielder without his range lets those three balls fall in for singles..or worse.
“I played right and center. It doesn’t really matter (which),” Kalamar noted. “I love playing the outfield.”
Offensively, Kalamar collected five hits in those two contests
“Pretty much playing every night” has been a big help to Kalamar’s stick. “After my freshman year and finally seeing college pitching I’ve been more comfortable at the plate. I’ve seen it now and I just feel a lot more confident,” said the outfielder. “I want to just get as many reps as I can and to keep getting better.”
The two freshmen didn’t stop their award collections with just All-Star games. Both were named Big East Academic All-Stars as well. Kalamar is a math major; Prosinski majors in Business.
“I was always raised to have good grades but at Seton Hall we have a million academic advisers,” Kalamar noted. “They keep up with everything. I just always studied hard.”
“It’s just something that you do. Like you said, we do a lot of work on the bus. On the road trips we have mandatory study hall sometimes,” Prosinski said. “When we’re in the hotel before games we do homework there. I try and get most of it done before we leave so I don’t have to worry about it on weekend trips.
“It can be challenging but it is worth it. You know that if your grades slip, you can’t play so you have to make sure you keep them up.”
This summer, Prosinski and Kalamar graduated cum laude in the ACBL.