BY CORY NIDOH
SC STAFF WRITER
It was every young boy’s dream once they were introduced to the game of baseball. To hit the game winning home run in Game 7 of the World Series, to play for his favorite team, to play in front of thousands of fans in the dog days of summer. Well one former Warrior has a few years to go, but he’s headed in the right direction in making his own dreams come true.
Joe Bennie, former second baseman for the 2013 PSAC Champion ESU Warriors is making his name known in the Oakland Athletics organization. Bennie was drafted by the A’s in the 28th round of last June’s MLB First Year Player Draft being one of four Warriors in school history to be drafted.
Recently, he was named to the Oakland A’s organizational All-Star team for the 2013 minor league baseball season as selected by athleticsnation.com. Bennie who was playing in the Arizona Rookie League, the Stroudsburg native hit .246 (16-65) with a .380 on-base percentage, three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI and 10 runs scored in 20 games this summer. During the second half of the season, he caught fire as he hit above .300 with a .479 on-base percentage.
Bennie only spent one year with the Warriors after transferring from Division I La Salle, but was a vital player in their PSAC championship run since 1971. At La Salle, Bennie made 116 starts in three years where he was a career .256 hitter while compiling over one-hundred hits, twenty doubles, seven triples and seven home runs.
Once transferring to ESU, Bennie made his presence felt. Typically in the lead-off spot in the lineup and playing second base, Bennie showed that he could handle the stick and flash the leather. Bennie hit .348 his senior year at ESU and scored a team-high 43 runs. He finished the season with 20 multi-hit games while his average never dipped below .333 and hit for cycle against Dowling which was the school’s first in ten years.
Along with his great bat, his sterling defense earned him an ABCA Atlantic Region Gold Glove selection at second base. He committed just one error in the second to last game of the season and posted a .994 fielding percentage. The second baseman etched his name into the top 10 in the PSAC in four categories as he was 5th in stolen bases (21), 8th in runs (43), 9th in total bases (96) and tied for 9th in home runs (5).
The Warriors now have had four players selected in the MLB Draft and Bennie is ESU’s third in last five years joining outfielder Mark Angelo (2009, 44th round, Seattle Mariners) and left-handed pitcher Jeremy Gigliotti (2011, 19th round, San Diego Padres). The PSAC, known for being one of the better conferences in all of Division II had seven draft choices a year ago. Joining Bennie within the Oakland A’s organization is Lou Trivino a right-handed pitcher from Slippery Rock who was the second highest player selected from the PSAC as he was drafted in the 11th round.
Other players that were selected from the PSAC were RHP Nick Keener (Mansfield) selected in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, LHP Tim Mayza (Millersville) selected in the 12th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, RHP Joe Gunkel (West Chester) selected in the 18th round by the Boston Red Sox, 2B Zak Blair (Mercyhurst) selected in the 20th round by the Chicago Cubs, and 1B Kyle Petty (California) selected in the 23rd round by the Seattle Mariners.
The Warriors, coming off the most wins in school history with a 34-18 record, will look to defend their PSAC Championship in the spring when they open up their PSAC schedule with Clarion on March 14th.
Email Cory at: