RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician College baseball coach Chris Langan has received six player commitments from high-school seniors who signed a national letter of intent during the NCAA's recently-concluded early-signing period. Four pitchers (three right-, one left-handed), an outfielder and an infielder comprise the set of signees.
The sextet was welcomed to Felician during a reception for all 2014 early signees on Friday afternoon at the Rutherford Student Center.
"I'm very excited for our future," Langan, entering his 11th season with the Golden Falcons, said following the reception. "In this class, we've improved what right now is a young pitching staff, and potentially replaced some of our graduating position players."
Felician is a member of NCAA Division II and plays in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. The 2013 Golden Falcons (21-32, 10-10 CACC) tied for fifth place in the CACC before finishing third in the conference tournament. See below for details on their six early signees for the Class of 2018.
Michael Benducci (Montvale, N.J./Pascack Hills) is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound left-handed pitcher for Pascack Hills High of Montvale, and a two-time all-Bergen County selection. He is also an all-league wrestler for the Cowboys. Since age nine, he has played his summer ball for the Teaneck Titans. Benducci intends to major in business administration at Felician. "Michael throws a 'heavy' fastball which reaches the upper 80s (miles per hour) with movement," Langan said. "He is an immediate front-of-the-rotation candidate for us."
Tanner DeLucia (Shillington, Pa./Governon Mifflin) is a 2013 Honorable-Mention all-Division pitcher for Governor Mifflin High of Shillington, Pa. As a sophomore, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound righty helped the Mustangs to a county runner-up finish, and the Shillington American Legion entry to a county championship. He is the son of former major-league pitcher Rich DeLucia, who totaled 10 seasons with six big-league teams. The younger DeLucia has also earned all-Division honors in bowling, and expects to study criminal justice. "Tanner owns a fastball in the low 80s and a swing-and-miss breaking ball," Langan said. "He's one of those guys that just knows how to pitch. We also haven't ruled out using him as a two-way guy; he can play third base and has a line-drive type swing."
Matt Diesel (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) is a left-handed-hitting outfielder for Massapequa (N.Y.) High, and helped lead the Chiefs to the 2013 Nassau County championship. At 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Diesel also plays basketball, and participates with the Long Island Prospects and Massapequa Cyclones travel squads. Diesel is a National Honor Society member and a school Scholar-Athlete Award winner, and hopes to major in accounting. "Matt can play all three outfield positions," Langan said. "He has a solid left-handed swing and is a potential middle-of-the-order offensive player."
Danny Naif (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty), 6 feet and 205 pounds, is a right-handed pitcher at Jackson Liberty High who helped guide the Lions to a 2013 Shore B South championship. JLHS's 2011 Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Naif also competed for the HD Sports Bulldogs travel program, based out of Toms River. He intends to major in elementary education. "Danny is an old-school sidearmer with closer-type stuff," Langan said. "He relies on movement to get lots of outs."
Steven Slagmolen (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) is an Honor Roll student who pitches for Toms River North. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander was honored by the Mariners with their Coach's Award last season. He is a teammate of Naif's with the HD Sports Bulldogs. Slagmolen will major in business administration. "Steven has already reached 89 miles per hour with his fastball," Langan said. "He is a three-pitch pitcher who is not afraid to attack hitters."
Bruce Strickland (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) was the 2013 team Most Valuable Player for Raritan High of Hazlet. A third-baseman for the Rockets, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Strickland played in the outfield for his summer travel team, Langan Baseball. Strickland helped lead Raritan to the 2012 Central Jersey Group 2 championship. An Honor Roll student, he intends to study criminal justice. "Bruce is a hard-nosed player, a gamer," Langan said. "He is solid defensively at many positions and is blessed with a strong arm and good hands."