European Baseball Players in American Education [Week 2]

Another six players were added to our list over the weekend, including our first player from Scotland. Yet another Greek-American joined the list, which brought that number to 11, though it is liable to double by the end of the spring season. Two apiece of pitchers and outfielders are represented, but it was the eleventh European catcher that is the most remarkable biographical stat added. There are now 11 on the list, more than the entire infield or outfield. The list has reached 64, with 16 national federations represented. We will introduce our new players to the list before proceeding to this week’s rundown and weekly awards. 

Thomas Armstrong, RHP (FR, Point Park University JV, Pa.) [Bio]
Armstrong is dual national and lived for six years in the UK during his early teenage years. He played for Great Britain’s U16 and U18 squads and was the youngest player on both teams. At 15, he was invited to the MLB European youth tryouts and, in the summer of 2014, he was called up to the U18 GB team. He pitched as a reliever in the semi-final game that enabled them to qualify in the European Qualifiers Series in Croatia, giving them an automatic berth in the 2016 tournament.

Armstrong finished his high school years at Westerville North where during his Sophomore year he underwent Tommy John surgery, performed by Dr Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds MD. After over a year of rehab, he was back in full swing for his senior year at North for spring of 2017. Over the 2017 summer, he played up in a few games for the collegiate team for his club, providing relief pitching as well as playing with the U18 team with an overall ERA of 2.38. At the beginning of his senior year, he was offered a spot and committed to Point Park University, a highly ranked NAIA school in Pittsburgh where he was selected for the JV team after fall scrimmages, the only member of our list to do so. The team begins an 11-game schedule on Mar. 19. (Bio courtesy of Donna Armstrong.)

Max Draijer, IF (JR, Lewis-Clark State College [8-2], Ida.) [Bio]
Draijer was one of our Top 20 Prospects at the U23 Euros, but did not show up in any of our previous searches. Fortunately, he replied to a message and set the record straight, with the good news that after graduating from Cochise Community College, he had secured a place at Lewis-Clark, host of the NAIA World Series and perennial title contender. The Warriors are off to a fast start with an 8-2 record, with Draijer playing in eight contest and hitting .269/.387/.346 and holding down shortstop. Last year, the Netherlands national teamer hit .303/.450.442, all the while fielding at a .953 clip, superb for a JuCo shortstop. Draijer was another International Stars’ College Showcase signing when before his two seasons with Cochise.

Cyprien Dussenne, RHP (SO, Crowder College [8-1], Mo.) [Bio]
Crowder College is an independent JuCo in Missouri that made it to the second round of the NJCAA Division I World Series with a 54-15 record. Dussenne showed some real promise as a first-year, allowing only five hits in seven innings, striking out a whopping 12 (15.43 K/9), but walking 11 and allowing five earned runs. However, the righty grew more confident as the season went on and, in his last appearance, struck out three over two scoreless frames, without allowing a baserunner. The Belgian national teamer has yet to pitch this year, though the Roughriders have gotten off to another great start. His team, however, took on Marius Balandis’ Iowa Western, with the Lithuanian hurler getting shelled as the starter in the nightcap of a Sunday doubleheader.

Nick Kanavas, OF (RS-SR, Kent State University [4-2], Ohio) [Bio]

©Kent State Athletics

Kanavas had a useful 2017 season for the Flashes, slashing .308/.370/.392, offering a blend of speed, pop, and contact hitting. This year, the potential Greek team member is off to an even better start, hitting .400 with a double, a walk, and three stolen bases in six games. Kanavas transferred after the 2016 season from Madison College, where he played with Polish national teamer Dominic Golubiewski. The outfielder had an excellent 2016 for them, hitting .362 in 2016 with 18 doubles, one triple, six homers, and 13 stolen bases to attract the interest of D-I KSU. He spent the 2014 season as a redshirt at Arizona, where his teammates included prospects Scott Kingery, Kevin Newman, Bobby Dalbec, and James Farris.

Axel Poesmans, C (SR, Mid-American Christian University [10-5], Okla.) [Bio]

Poesmans is a key member of Belgium’s national teams, last competing in the Under-23 Euros last year. He is one of an incredible 24 international students on MACU’s roster of 40 players. In his first season with the Evangels last year, Poesmans hit a useful .308/.426/.442 and provided excellent work behind the plate. Not only did he throw out an impressive 34.3 percent of runners attempting to steal, but he ranked in the Top 50 in the NAIA in total chances and putouts. The backstop also had a 17-17 BB-K ratio at the plate.

This year, his numbers are down and he has ceded some playing time behind the plate. Poesmans is slashing .265/.316/.324, with an uncharacteristic 3-9 BB-K split in nine games. He has, however, thrown out a quarter of base-stealers while committing only one error, with no passed balls.

Gabriel Rincónes Jr, OF-RHP (HS JR, Plant High School [2-0], Fla.) [Bio]
The only native of Scotland on the list, Rincónes Jr. moved to Florida to play travel ball and attract the attention of professional and university scouts. The outfielder is off to a solid start, going 1-for-4 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and two runs in two games, starting both. You can help fund the Scottish trailblazer’s travels at GoFundMe [link].

If you missed our initial introduction to all the players, here are links to our lists and discussions of Europeans in the U.S. [Part I] [Part II] [Part III].

European Baseball Players in American Education, Week II (February 19-25)

Four-Year University Players of the Week:
Antoine Duplantis, Sweden

Antoine Duplantis, ©The Advocate

Duplantis had a huge week, hitting .389/.450/.611 across four games, collecting a double and two triples, while walking twice and whiffing only once in 20 plate appearances. Just for good measure, he excelled in centre as well, hauling down 11 flies without an error.

Nick Zouras, Greece
Zouras was 6-for-10 with 6 runs scored in the series, serving as the DH twice and catching once. On Saturday, the Greek hopeful put two balls out of the park and singled twice, driving in three and scoring four times.

Four-Year University Pitcher of the Week:
Paul Kirkpatrick, Great Britain
Kirkpatrick made his season debut on Tuesday, tossing a scoreless second, striking out one. The righty then came back to toss a gem on Saturday, earning the win by scattering four hits and a base on balls over six frames, allowing two runs and striking out five.

Two-Year University Player of the Week:
Martin Mužík, Czech Republic
Last week’s Two-Year Player of the Week had another huge game, ripping a triple and a single in four at bats, driving in four, though he did have an error at first base. He is hitting .433/.485/.900 on the season.

Two-Year Pitcher of the Week
Antoine Villard, France
Villard tossed 1 1/3 frames in a 9-2 win on Tuesday, striking out two and allowing a hit. The righty now has four scoreless relief outings in-a-row.

Two-Year Rookie of the Week:
Martin Červinka, Czech Republic
Last week’s runner-up was 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and a strikeout in Wake Tech’s only game of the week. After appearing mostly at 3B, the Czech served as the DH. Červinka is slashing .350/.519/.350 with a 6-to-1 BB-K ratio in 2018.

Maurizio Andretta, LHP (FR, Clarendon Community College [7-2], Tx.) [Bio]
Andretta did not pitch in a week where Clarendon had two games postponed.

Jerremyh Angela, LHRP (SR, LSU-Shreveport (9-8), La.) [Bio]
Angela pitched once this week against Bryan College, recording two outs, but giving up an unearned run on three walks and a hit. He struck out one. On the season, the southpaw has is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA, though it is accompanied by a .333 opponents’ batting average and a 3-to-6 K-BB ratio.

Thomas Armstrong, RHP (FR, Point Park University JV, Pa.) [Bio]
The team begins an 11-game schedule on Mar. 19.           

Marius Balandis, RHP (FR, Iowa Western Community College, Ia.) [Bio]
The native of Lithuania was shelled in his season debut against Crowder College, which advanced into the third round of the NJCAA Division I World Series in 2017. The right-hander took the loss in a 5-1 defeat, surrendering all five runs on four walks and four hits in 4 1/3 frames. Balandis did strike out three.

Matteo Bocchi, RHP (JR, No. 14 University of Texas [4-3], Tx.) [Bio]
Bocchi pitched once during the week, in a non-conference victory over Lamar. The righty tossed two inning, surrendering a run on a hit and a walk in his season debut.

Christian Bokich, RHRP (RS SR, Lee University [6-9], Tenn.) [Bio]
Bokich did not pitch this week.

Nolan Bond, RHP (JR, University of Houston [4-2], Tx.) [Bio]
Though there were hints that Bond would see some time in the rotation this year, he has yet to pitch.

Richard Brereton, UT-RHP (SO, Emory University [4-5], Ga.) [Bio]
Brereton pitched superbly in the Eagles’ lone contest of the week, allowing only a solo homer as one of five hits and three walks. The righty whiffed seven in six frames, dropping his season ERA to 5.21, with a mere .259 batting average against. Brereton has struck out 24 and walked nine in 19 innings. Brereton was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the three-hole in the 3-0 loss to Birmingham Southern. 

Martin Červinka, IF (FR, Wake Technical Community College [6-2], N.C.) [Bio]
Červinka was 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs, and a strikeout in Wake Tech’s only game of the week. After appearing mostly at 3B, the Czech served as the DH. Červinka is slashing .350/.519/.350 with a 6-to-1 BB-K ratio in 2018.

Marek Chlup and Vojtěch Menšík, OF & IF (FR, North Carolina State University, N.C.)
Neither Czech has been placed on the roster yet, despite assurances to us that they will appear.

Josef Cihlář, RHP (FR, Odessa Junior College [6-7], Tx.) [Bio]
Cihlář looked much better this week after a rough opening to the season. He struck out two and allowed one hit in a scoreless frame against ENMU JV. 

Cecil Comenencia, OF-C (SO, Reinhardt University [11-4], Ga.) [Bio]
Comenencia went 0-for-2 in his season debut, coming in as a defensive replacement in right field in a 10-1 win over Goshen College (Ind.).

Nick Constantakos, RHP (SO, Charleston Southern University [4-4], S.C.) [Bio]
Constantakos took a tough loss against powerhouse South Carolina despite allowing only three earned runs on five hits and zero walks in six frames. The righty struck out five, but three of the five hits were dingers. On the season, the potential Greek National Teamer is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA and a 12-to-1 K-BB ration in 11 frames.

Conrad Cornell, OF (SO, Mercer University [6-2], Ga.) [Bio]
Cornell scored the winning run in the 10th in a thrilling comeback win over Florida A&M after entering as a pinch runner last Tuesday. In the remaining four games of the week, he went 0-for-4 as a defensive replacement in LF and RF.

Mikołaj Dąbrowski, RHP-IF (JR, Carnegie Schools-Riverside [2-0], Calif.) [Bio]
Dąbrowski did not appear in CSR’s doubleheader victory over Citrus Hill last Saturday.

Kevin Desmedt, RHP (SO, University of Northwestern Ohio [11-8], Ohio) [Bio]
Desmedt did not appear in UNOH’s series win over Point University.

John Doxakis, RHP (SO, Texas A&M University [9-0], Tex.) [Bio]
TAMU ran its season-opening winning streak to nine with five wins this week and Doxakis did his part. The righty appeared in relief, tossing a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in a win over Cornell College.

Max Draijer, IF (JR, Lewis-Clark State College [8-2], Ida.) [Bio]
Draijer transferred to NAIA power LCSC and has taken over the starting shortstop job, hitting .269 with four walks and six Ks through eight games.

Victor Draijer, OF (GR, Ouachita Baptist University [4-10], Ark.) [Bio]
Due to a scheduling quirk, OBU’s series with Southern Nazarene University was split Sunday-Monday, so only Sunday’s doubleheader split makes it into this week’s roundup. Draijer appeared in neither, though he had played regularly to that point, hitting .207/.314/.241. Ouachita Baptist’s 5-4 win over Lyon College (Ark.) on Feb. 13 marked the first time this season two European nationals faced each other, as Lyon’s Brandon Giribaldie, a native of Willemstad, Curaçao played second and went 2-for-3 with a walk. The two clubs clash again on Mar. 20.

Antoine Duplantis, OF (JR, No. 22 Louisiana State University [4-3], La.) [Bio]
Duplantis had a huge week, hitting .389/.450/.611 across four games, collecting a double and two triples, while walking twice and whiffing only once in 20 plate appearances. Just for good measure, he excelled in centre as well, hauling down 11 flies without an error.

Luke Duris (Haverford College [0-0], Penn.) [Bio]
The Fords do not start their season until Mar. 3. Haverford received votes in Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA Division III preseason poll.

Cyprien Dussenne, RHP (SO, Crowder College [9-1], Mo.) [Bio]
Dussenne has yet to appear this season.

Dominic Golubiewski, RHRP (SR, University of Dayton [1-5], Ohio) [Bio]
Golubiewski has yet to appear this season.

Sammy Häckl, C (FR, Arizona Western College [12-5], Ariz.) [Bio]
After collecting our first Two-Year Rookie of the Week honours, Häckl struggled in three games last week, going 1-for-9 with six strikeouts. He did, however, walk four times, and his lone safety went for two bases. Häckl is slashing .250/.432/.429 for the campaign.

Daniel Harrington, RHRP (SO, Columbia University [0-4], N.Y.) [Bio]
Harrington did not appear in the season-opening four-game sweep at UNLV.

Tobias Holmelund, 3B-1B-OF (FR, Potomac State College [4-4], W.V.) [Bio]
Holmelund earned his first collegiate at bat in Potomac’s 10-0 win in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, though he was 0-for-1.

Lukas Holub, RHP (JR, Oklahoma Panhandle State University [5-13], Okla.) [Bio]
Holub did not appear this week. On Mar. 6 and Apr. 10, Holub’s Aggies will play a doubleheader against NW Oklahoma State, which features the Netherlands’s Jorin van Amstel.

Bart in den Kleef, C (JR, University of Redlands [7-3], Calif.) [Bio]
In den Kleef was 0-for-3 with two walks and two runs, driving in one on a sacrifice fly while splitting time between DH and catcher.

Myles Janson, RHP-C (JR,John Carroll HS [0-0], Md.) [Link]
Janson found out he made the varsity squad this week and, last night, made his season debut in a scrimmage against Riverdale HS, the No. 18 school in the USA. The righty tossed a scoreless inning and has hit 92 this spring.

Martin Kalabek, RHP (FR, Columbia College [8-4], Mo.) [Bio]
Kalabak did not appear this week.

Nick Kanavas, OF (RS-SR, Kent State University [4-2], Ohio) [Bio]
Kanavas is a potential Greek National Teamer and off to a great start, hitting .400/.419/.433 with three stolen bases. The finalist has seen time at both outfield corners and has led off and batted third. His best game was a 3-for-6 performance with a stolen base against Belmont on Friday. Kanavas was named the College Sports Madness Mid-American Baseball Player of the Week.

Paul Kirkpatrick, RHP (SR, Western Kentucky University [5-3], Ky.) [Bio]
Kirkpatrick made his season debut on Tuesday, tossing a scoreless second, striking out one. The righty then came back to toss a gem on Saturday, earning the win by scattering four hits and a base on balls over six frames, allowing two runs and striking out five.

Eli Lingos, LHP (SR, Arizona State University [3-4], Ariz.) [Bio]
Lingos (1-1) took the loss in his second start of the year, giving up three runs on two doubles, six singles, and a free pass in 5 2/3 against St. Mary’s (Calif.), though he did strike out five. The southpaw has a 4.63 ERA and .277 BAA.

Martin Mužík, C-1B (SO, Wake Technical Community College [5-0], N.C.) [Bio]
Mužík had another huge game, ripping a triple and a single in four at bats, driving in four, though he did have an error at first base. He is hitting .433/.485/.900 on the season.

Jan Nebenfuhr, RHP (FR, Arizona Western College [9-4], Ariz.) [Bio]
Nebenfuhr gave up a run in 1 2/3 on Tuesday, allowing two walks and a hit, though he did whiff a pair. The Czech native has a 5.40 ERA in 10 frames with an 8-to-4 K-BB ratio.

Nick Niarchos, IF-RHP (JR, High Point University [4-3], N.C.) [Bio]
The Panther won all four of their games this week after having been swept by James Madison in the season-opening series. Their weekend opponent was Dayton, which features Poland’s Golubiewski who, like Niarchos, did not appear.

Martin Nicolay, C (FR, Averett University [2-10], Va.) [Bio]
Averett did not appear in any of the Cougars’ five games this week.

Nick Pantos, RHP (FR, Frederick Community College [3-0], Md.) [Bio]
Pantos, a transfer from NCAA Division I-Maryland, earned the Opening Day start on Tuesday and, while FCC won 12-5, the big righty had an uneven three-inning start against a JV JuCo squad. Though he whiffed three, he allowed three runs on a pair of hits and two walks. Pantos looked improved on Sunday, surrendering one earned run on three hits and two walks, striking out three in five frames. Overall, he has a 4.50 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Andrew Papantonis, IF (FR, University of Virginia [4-3], Va.) [Bio]
Papantonis has yet to appear this season for the Cavaliers.

Daniel Patrice, SS-P-1B (JR, Thiel College [0-0], Pa.) [Bio]
As a Pennsylvania school, baseball season starts later, and the Tomcats’ first game against Bluffton University is as part of a tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. that starts on Mar. 4.

Axel Poesmans, C (SR, Mid-American Christian University [10-5], Okla.) [Bio]
MACU’s mid-week doubleheader was postponed this week, meaning no games were played.

Matthew Rienzi, RHP (SO, St. Joseph’s College-Brooklyn [0-0], N.Y.) [Bio]
The Bears do not start their season until Mar. 3.

Gabriel Rincónes Jr, OF-RHP (HS JR, Plant High School [2-0], Fla.) [Bio]
Rincónes was 1-for-4 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the Panthers’ two games this week.

Julian Rip, OF (SO, Hutchinson Community College [4-3], Kan.) [Bio]
All of the Blue Dragons games were cancelled this week.

Tim Schaareman, SS (SR, Park University [4-0], Mo.) [Bio]
No games were scheduled for the Pirates this week.

Ari Sechopoulos, 1B (SO, College of Charleston [5-2], S.C.) [Bio]
Sechopoulous appeared in all four games for CoC this week, starting three. The first sacker went 2-for-9 with two strikeouts, though one of his hits was a triple. He committed an error at first and is hitting .286/.444/.500 in 2018. Sechopoulos will face fellow Greek teammate Constantakos on Mar. 20 and Apr. 3 when the two Charleston universities face off.

Nolan Soliveres, C (SO, Hillsborough Community College [8-12], Fla.) [Bio
Soliveres went 0-for-2 in five games this week, dropping his average .261/.320/.304 for the season. He has thrown out 44.4 percent of runners attempting to steal.

Alex Sollecito, RHP-IF
No information is available for the younger of the Sollecito brothers.

Matteo Sollecito, RHP-SS-1B (JR, St. Peter’s Prep School [0-0], N.J.)
St. Peter’s begins its 2018 pre-season schedule on Mar. 9.

Bor Starc, OF (FR, Clarendon Community College [6-1], Tx.) [Bio]
Starc joined Andretta in a week without baseball, thanks to two postponements.

Joakim Svedheim, RHP (SO, Potomac State College [1-2], W.V.) [Bio]
Svedheim made his season debut in a shelling by perennial JuCo power Walters State, giving up one run on two hits and a walk in one-third of an inning, striking out one in a 19-7 loss.

Thomas Triantos, LHP (SO, Cal Poly State University [3-4], Calif.) [Bio]
Triantos hurled an inning of relief in an 8-1 win over Michigan in the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament, surrendering a single run on one each of walks and hits. He sent down one on strikes.

Charles Tsintolas, C (SO, George Washington University [1-5], D.C.) [Bio]
Tsintolas did not appear this week.

Jorin van Amstel, DH-UT (JR, Northwestern Oklahoma State University [8-6], Okla.) [Bio]
Last week’s Four-Year Co-Player of the Week followed his excellent performance up with another strong showing by going 7-for-18. He finished up the week with a 3-for-4 Sunday, ripping a four-bagger and a double, scoring three times, and driving in three, though he narrowly missed taking home another Player of the Week award. Van Amstel did have 5 Ks against no walks for the week, but is hitting .426 with five doubles and three homers in 14 games.

Timo van Lingen, RHP (RS SO, Hutchinson Community College [4-3], Kan.) [Bio]
All of the Blue Dragons games were cancelled this week.

Dylan Verdonk, RHRP (SO, Seton Hall University [2-4], N.J.) [Bio]
Verdonk did not pitch this week.

Antoine Villard, RHP (FR, Arizona Western Community College [9-4], Ariz.) [Bio]
Villard tossed 1 1/3 frames in a 9-2 win on Tuesday, striking out two and allowing a hit. The righty now has four scoreless relief outings in-a-row.

Frédéric Walter, 3B (FR, Seminole State College [3-3], Okla.) [Bio]
Seminole State did not have any games this week.

James Wood, LHP (JR, Concord University [4-3], W.V.) [Bio]
The Mountain Lions picked up two wins this week, but Wood pitched in neither.

Nick Zouras, C (JR, Illinois State University [3-3], Ill.) [Bio]
The Redbirds had a weekend slugfest at Tennessee Tech, dropping two-of-three by a combined margin of 37-45, including a 30-17 drubbing on Saturday. Zouras was 6-for-10 with 6 runs scored in the series, serving as the DH twice and catching once. On Saturday, the Greek hopeful put two balls out of the park and singled twice, driving in three and scoring four times.

Coaches
Terrance Whittle, Head Coach (First Season, Stillman College, Ala.) [Bio]
Stillman went 1-1 this week to improve to 3-6, with two doubleheaders washed away.

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About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
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