Cumberland County College baseball coach Keith Gorman doesn’t make outlandish promises when talking to a prospective student-athlete.
“We don’t promise them anything,” Gorman said. “The only thing we assure them is that we are going to work them extremely hard, and they are going to get better.”
So far, so good.
Gorman is in his third season as head coach of the team and has quickly turned the Dukes into one of the top Division III junior colleges in the country.
Cumberland County has won 11 straight games and 24 of its last 25 and is currently No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Top 10.
The development of players — such as Buena Regional High School graduate Anthony Lopez and Oakcrest grad Cody Stashak — has been key in creating buzz about the program.
Lopez and Stashak are two of a handful of Cumberland players receiving significant attention from NCAA Division I and even professional scouts.
Gorman, who’s also the college’s athletic director, formerly coached at Holy Spirit High School and has been known for promoting his players.
“(Gorman’s) going to give it to you straight,” Lopez said. “He’s going to tell you the truth, and he’s going to be up front with you.
“He is going to do everything in his power to make you a success as a player.”
Lopez led the country with 10 triples last season and has set a new NJCAA record with 14 this season.
He has 13 doubles, three home runs, 53 RBIs, 56 runs and 19 stolen bases.
Lopez is batting .461 with a .524 on-base percentage and has accepted a full scholarship to play NCAA Division I baseball at Campbell University next season.
Lopez said it’s an honor to be recognized with a top-three national ranking.
“It’s definitely a nice thing to have, especially after all the hard work we put in,” Lopez said. “People don’t realize behind the scenes how hard we work on and off the field and all the work Coach Gorman has put in, it’s definitely a great accomplishment.”
Cumberland swept a doubleheader with 4-1 and 15-1 wins against No. 8 Northampton Community College on Saturday and is 24-0 at home this season, 33-6 overall.
“It’s a crazy run we’re on,” Stashak said. “Everything is just clicking right now. We’re approaching every game like it’s a playoff game. We’re just trying to keep winning and make it to the national championship.”
Stashak threw a no-hitter in his first start of the season and was named D-III Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season for the week ending April 13.
He’s 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Stashak also has been among leaders of the team offensively with a .366 average, a .395 on-base percentage and four home runs.
St. John’s, Delaware and Rider are among the teams that have shown interest in the Mays Landing native.
“We just want to keep working for that one goal, which is to make it to the national championship,” Stashak said. “We just have to keep going out and playing hard.”
Center fielder Jordan Glover (Cherokee) also has received attention from scouts.
Glover is batting .404 with a .483 on-base percentage and is a rare combination of power and speed with five home runs and 16 stolen bases.
Tim Gallagher (Hamm-onton) is batting .416 with a .518 on-base percentage and 13 steals. Sophomore catcher Jose Martinez (Pemberton) is batting .438 with 36 RBIs.
The pitching staff has been equally impressive this season with a 2.26 ERA and 238 strikeouts with only 82 walks.
Josh O’Neill (Millville) is 6-3 with a 1.31 ERA, Ridge Herrman (Pennsville) 6-0 with 58 strikeouts in 43 innings and Zach Large (Cumberland Regional) 6-0 with a 1.82 ERA.
“They are a fun group, they are a focused group and I’m very proud of what they are doing,” Gorman said. “But we have a long way to go.”
Gorman doesn’t want his team to look ahead.
“The ultimate goal every year is to make it to that (national championship) game, but we don’t talk about wins,” Gorman said. “What we talk about is playing the game the right way every day. If we continue to do those things, wins will take care of themselves.”
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