Four Sacred Heart baseball alumni had great success in 2016 on their journey through minor league baseball. Zack Short, Jason Foley, Kody Kerski and Troy Scribner all represented the Pioneers at different levels of minor league ball this past season.
Short’s three-year career with Pioneers started off with a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America selection in 2014. The next year, he helped lead Sacred Heart to the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regional appearance. Short was named First-Team All-NEC at shortstop, as well as American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Northeast All-Region First Team for batting .305 with 61 hits and 15 doubles, and leading the team and NEC with nine homeruns. Short holds the Pioneers’ career record for walks with 99.
This past June, Short became SHU’s third baseball player in four seasons to be selected in the MLB draft, where the Chicago Cubs chose him in the 17th round. After a brief stay in rookie ball, where he batted .318 with eight RBIs in 14 games, Short’s next stop was Short-Season A, where he won the 2016 Northwest League Championship with the Eugene Emeralds. Short appeared in 39 games for the Emeralds, batting .236 with 30 hits and 23 RBIs.
Foley signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers in August after catching their eye during his summer league season with the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Foley appeared in nine games with the Schooners, striking out a staggering 19 batters in just 11 innings. Due to the late signing, Foley appeared in five games for the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League. Playing in the same park where he won the 2015 NEC Championship with the Pioneers, Foley pitched in six innings out of the bullpen, allowing six hits and garnering six strikeouts.
At SHU, Foley led the team with 13 starts on the hill in 2015 and 2016. He made 37 starts over his three-year career, with 10 wins and 156 career strikeouts over 191.2 innings. He was an All-NEC tournament selection as he helped guide the Pioneers to the NEC crown in 2015.
Kerski (’14) was drafted in the eighth round in 2014 by the Seattle Mariners. A two-time NEC champion during his Sacred Heart career, Kerski held a career 20-13 record. He also tossed two complete games in NEC championship action to lead the Pioneers to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. He finished his career with 210 strikeouts over 326.2 innings pitched and with an earned run average (ERA) of 4.07. In his final two seasons, Kerski went 14-5 with 137 strikeouts and a 3.11 ERA.
Kerski had an impressive 2015 season with the Clinton Lumber Kings in Class A, where he recorded eight saves in 40 appearances, with a 1.80 ERA. He also struck out 62 batters in 60 innings. Kerski advanced to High A with the Bakersfield Blaze this year, finishing the season with three wins and two losses and a 3.26 ERA in 40 appearances. Kerski only gave up two runs in his last 10 games to close out the season.
During four years at Sacred Heart, Scribner (’13) was one of the best pitchers in program history. He finished his career second in program history in career strikeouts with 261 and innings pitched at 344 and 26 career wins. A two-year captain and four-time NEC All-Tournament selection, he truly shined in the postseason. He held a career 4-0 record in NEC tournament play, leading the Pioneers to four straight championship appearances, including back-to back titles in 2011 and 2012. The right-hander also opened up his last three NEC tournaments with complete game victories.
Since signing with the Houston Astros as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Scribner has journeyed all the way from rookie ball to Triple AAA in his four professional seasons. After an offseason trade to the Los Angeles Angels organization this winter, Scribner started at Double AA with the Arkansas Travelers. He went 8-3 with 82 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA in 16 starts. Scribner had seven or more strikeouts in seven of those 16 starts.
His strong body of work led to his promotion to Salt Lake City in late July. In his first appearance on the bump for the Bees, Scribner went the distance for a complete game, two-hit shutout against the Sacramento River Cats—an outstanding performance that earned him recognition as the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week. He closed out the season with a 4-2 record and a 3.30 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 46 innings.
The Sacred Heart baseball team finished 2016 with a record of 30-28, 18-13 in the NEC. It made its eighth consecutive post-season appearance, reaching the NEC tournament as the number two seed.
*Troy Scribner action photo is courtesy of Asay Photography/Salt Lake City Bees
*Zack Short action photo is courtesy of Dustin Smith *Kody Kerski action photo courtesy of Mark Duffel