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Blues Baseball Trains in Florida

April 6, 2013 by admin

By John Sorce

  It’s that time of the year again. Baseball is back and the Brookdale Jersey Blues baseball team is back in action.Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not been very kind to the team so far.  
  They have had three home games rained out and have only been able to play at home one day so far this season as of March 27.The April 1 doubleheader was also canceled due to muddy field conditions. 
   The Blues split a doubleheader against ASA on March 24, winning the first game 6-4 and losing game two 2-1. The doubleheader brought the Blues’ record to 9-7 on the season.
   The team starts every season in Florida since the weather is typically not ideal for baseball in early March. Baseball head coach John Johnson discussed his team’s performance on the trip, where they competed against some very good competition.
   “We played some great baseball down in Florida,” Coach Johnson said. “Our 8-6 record on the trip does not indicate our team’s performance. We start the season every year down there and faced some of the best junior colleges in the country.”
   Johnson, who is in his 14th season coaching at Brookdale, has been a baseball coach for 22 years. He was also a head coach at Bloomfield College for three years, an assistant coach at Monmouth University for three years and a head coach for three years at a high school in Red Bank. 
   He attended Middletown High School South, where he was a catcher. Johnson also played for Brookdale before finishing his baseball career at the University of Nevada Los Vegas.
   The Blues baseball program has been successful under Coach Johnson.
   “In my time at Brookdale, we have won 10 GSAC championships, five region 19 championships and two district championships,” Coach Johnson said. “We have also played in the College World Series five times, and we finished in third place three times.”
   Brookdale has also seen some of its players go onto play professionally. “We had Carlos Guzman who went on to play in the New York Mets organization and reached AAA,” Coach Johnson said. “We also had Jim Principe, who reached AA with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Paddy Matera played for the Newark Bears.”
   Principe was drafted by the D-Backs in the 37th round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and while most players who turn professional come from warmer climates that can  play baseball year round, Johnson feels that players from up north might have a better chance to have longer careers. Some of them might be walking around campus right now.
   “We have the most baseball players that get drafted out of any junior college on the East Coast,” Coach Johnson said. “We have scouts at all of our practices and games, and we have a scout day in the fall where we have scouts from every professional organization. Players from colder climates have less wear on their bodies, so they have a good chance to play for a long time.”
   Admission to baseball games is free and Coach Johnson appreciates the support. “You get a great view of the action from anywhere. We draw some good crowds, we had about 100 people on Sunday,” Coach Johnson said. And who knows? Maybe one of these guys will be playing professionally one day.
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