Point Park baseball surges into league tournament
College Football Videos
Pittsburgh native and former Point Park University baseball star Ryan Ellis lives and works in Florida for much of the year. But he keeps close ties with his alma mater, whose team is a reverse image of himself. Much of it is comprised of Florida transplants who now live in Pittsburgh.
Ellis is the second-year manager of the High Single-A St. Lucie Mets. A Steel Valley High School product, he follows the Pioneers online. He is friendly with Point Park coach Loren Torres and has worked with some of Torres' players. He takes his black Point Park T-shirt on the road for when he works out.
“I'm proud to have the connection,” said Ellis, who holds the school's single-season record for batting average (.477).
Ellis also is connected to a time when Point Park baseball thrived as an NAIA power. A 28th-round pick by Montreal, he was among three Point Park players drafted in 2000-01. Another was Don Kelly, an eighth-round pick by Detroit who plays for the Tigers.
But Kelly in '01 was the last draftee. The program struggled for several years before Torres arrived in 2009. After a 13-26 record in his first season, the Pioneers have gone 126-37 heading into the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in New Albany, Ind. Seeded No. 1, Point Park opens with Asbury at 10 a.m. Thursday.
The Pioneers, who last season tied a school record with 53 wins and advanced to the NAIA World Series for the first time since 1998, are 35-13 this season. But that is misleading. They are 26-2 after starting 9-11. Point Park is ranked 25th in this week's NAIA poll, its first Top 25 appearance since the preseason.
“People say you have to play your best baseball at the end,” Torres said. “Us winning 26 of our last 28 games, we're pretty hot.”
Torres moved from his native Puerto Rico to south Florida as a teenager. He played, coached and scouted (for the Kansas City Royals) there, and has built a pipeline to Point Park. Nearly half the players are from the Sunshine State.
“That's where most of my contacts are,” he said.
But he also has players from Arizona, Illinois, Canada and Puerto Rico.
“We recruit nationally and internationally,” Torres said.
To attract kids to a northern school with an urban campus, he offers a chance to play, and win.
“We sell a vision,” he said. “Where we're going and how you're gonna fit into it. We have them come up and play for a coach from south Florida and play with other guys from south Florida. I tell them, if you're gonna pack your bags and go somewhere, this is a good place to be.”
One of the imports, freshman right-hander Michael Cetta, transferred from Florida State. Another, junior right-hander Manny Perdomo, pitched a no-hitter last week after coming within a hit batsman of a perfect game.
Recruited by Torres in high school, Perdomo attended St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens before transferring after his freshman year, joining two teammates who did the same thing.
“He gave me a great opportunity to play on a great team, and that's why I came here,” Perdomo said.
Senior outfielder Rob Novia said he was Torres' first Florida recruit. He said Torres saw him at a showcase camp and made his pitch.
“I love this place,” Novia said. “Point Park is awesome. The baseball is great.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man barricaded in house near West Hempfield Elementary School
- Pirates cut 12, including outfielder Tabata and pitcher Lincoln
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- First trailer for Pittsburgh-shot ‘Southpaw’ hits the Internet
- Aldi to open store where Bottom Dollar closed in Garfield
- Yough senior high students evacuated for third time this week
- Freshman arrested in Burrell High School bomb threat
- Norwin teacher, daughter of superintendent, charged with selling heroin
- Bodies of Kochu, Gray found in Ohio River in West Virginia
- Port Authority secures free North Shore light-rail service
- Bomb threat clears Apollo-Ridge High School