Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yale-Bound Slenker Named Top Player

Slenker, the region's best in baseball, is headed to Yale (MSGVarsity Photo)
Richard Slenker '17, the standout shortstop from Bedford, bound for Yale, was named the area's best high-school baseball player last month by the local Journal News newspaper.  Slenker completed his storied career at Fox Lane High School this spring and will be among the 1,350 Yale freshmen who touch down in New Haven in the days to come.

The Journal News tapped Slenker as the year's best in an athletic region that encompasses both Westchester and Putnam counties. He was awarded the Zimbalatti Most Valuable Player trophy for Section 1.  (The news organization with help from area coaches traditionally selects the best players in each high-school sport among players in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.)

Slenker led his team with an astounding .494 batting average.  He scored 40 runs and hit 40 doubles and 7 home runs. His sophomore and junior seasons impressed Yale coaches (and, of course, the admissions office) enough to extend him an offer last fall.  Slenker hopes to compete for a spot at shortstop or elsewhere in the infield at Yale next spring. Next year's captain Cale Hanson played at shortstop for Yale in 2013.

Slenker's high-school coach Matt Hillis told the Journal News he was just as impressed with Slenker's defensive abilities. "He's the best defensive player I've ever had," he said. "He comes along once in a coach's lifetime, if you're lucky."

The MaxPreps high-school-sports website reports Slenker batted .466 over three years in high school and had 102 total hits in 68 games.  Slenker was also an New York all-state selection. He follows in the footsteps of older sisters who were college athletes at Colby and Colgate.  His father was a football captain at Colgate.

This past spring, Slenker led Fox Lane to the final game in the AA state-championship game against Arlington, where his team surrendered the title in the final inning after being ahead by six runs.  The team finished 19-6.

In New Haven, Slenker will join a Yale squad that struggled to a 13-25 record last spring under head coach John Stuper, who just completed his 21st season at Yale. But the team ended the season with four straight wins over Brown.


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