When Bruce Thompson took over as the Lackawanna College baseball coach, one of his stated goals was to promote his players so that they continue their baseball careers at four-year institutions. After his first season at the helm, he was especially successful in meeting that goal, as eight of the team's sophomores are signing their National Letters of Intent during the NCAA early signing period to commit to either a NCAA Division I or Division II institution for the 2017-18 academic year.
Those eight are:
Connor Perry, an outfielder, who will be attending the University of Pittsburgh, a NCAA Division I institution and member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Perry, a graduate of Norwin High School, and resident of Irwin, Pennsylvania, completed his initial year of college baseball at Lackawanna during the 2016 season. He played in 44 games and registered a batting average of .364, with 47 hits in 129 at bats, while also scoring 39 times and driving in 34 hits. Of his 47 hits, 16 were doubles, 4 were triples and 3 were home runs.
D'Quan Matthews, another outfielder, who has committed to Grambling State University, a NCAA Division I institution and member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Matthews is a graduate of Timbercreek High School and resident of Orlando, Florida. As an outfielder for the 2016 Falcons, he played in 38 games hitting 302 with 42 hits in 139 at bats. Matthews doubled 9 times, tripled 3 times and slammed 4 homers. He scored 34 runs and drove in 30. D'Quan led the team in steals with 28. Those accomplishments did not go unnoticed, as the Region XIX DII coaches voted him to the All Region DII First Team.
Alex Varaksa, a pitcher and two year captain, will be enrolling into Norfolk State University a NCAA Division I institution and member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Varaksa is a graduate of Mid Valley High School and resident of Throop, Pennsylvania. During the 2016 campaign, Varaska appeared in 12 games as a reliever and spot starter, recording a 3 win 3 loss 2 save season. During the summer, Varaksz pitched for the Sherrill Silversmiths a member of the New York Collegiate Summer League, where he was selected to the East team for its annual All Star Game.
Zach Lopatka, a pitcher and outfielder, will enter Youngstown State University next fall. Youngstown is a NCAA Division I institution and a member of the Horizon League. Lopatka graduated from Wyoming Area High School and is a resident of Exeter, Pennsylvania. As a member of the Falcon outfield, he batted .314 with 43 hits in 137 at bats. Of those 43 hits, 12 were doubles, 2 were triples and 4 were home runs. He scored 45 runs and drove in 32. As a starting pitcher, Lopatka appeared in 10 games, in which he recorded 4 wins and 4 losses. During the season, he hurled a total of 44 2/3 innings while striking out 41 and compiling a 3.83 ERA.
Jared Solomon, a fall 2016 transfer pitcher from Alderson Broaddus University, will be attending Xavier University, a NCAA Division I institution and member of the Big East conference. Solomon is a graduate of Valley View, High School and resident of Archbald, Pennsylvania. Although, Solomon did not play for the Falcons last spring, he is expected to make major contributions to the Lackawanna pitching staff during the 2017 campaign. At Alderson-Broaddus he had a 2 win 2 loss season and held opposing hitters to a .213 batting average.
Dustin Wilcox, a catcher, has committed to Minot State, a NCAA Division II University and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Wilcox is a graduate of Big Lake Senior High and a resident of Big Lake Minnesota. Last Season Wilcox batted .286 with 28 hits in 98 at bats. He had 4 doubles and 1 homer while driving in 9 runs and scoring 21.
Logan Zavada and Kyle Rogers have both committed to East Stroudsburg University, a NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Zavada is a graduate of Wyoming Valley West and is a resident of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. Zavada is a 2016 fall transfer from Bloomsburg University, where he pitched in 8 games, all in relief and ended the season with 2 win and 2 losses. Zavada is expected to strengthen the Falcons' pitching staff during the upcoming 2017 campaign.
Rogers is graduate of Hazelton Area High School and resident of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He attended Kutztown University and is also a fall 2016 transfer. Rogers is an outfielder who is expected to contribute both offensively and defensively during the Falcons' 2017 season. During his 2016 season at Kutztown, he hit .246 with 17 hits in 69 at bats, he had 5 doubles and 2 homers, while driving in 10 runs and scoring 12. His fielding average was an astounding .993 for 145 fielding chances.