Kellenberg Memorial has a rich tradition when it comes to the sport of baseball. Kellenberg competes in one of the toughest leagues in New York State, the NSCHSAA, and consistently schedules the toughest non-league teams in the area. Our goal is to make sure all of our players have the ability and are prepared to play at the next level. Kellenberg graduates several players on a yearly basis that go on to play in college. It gives the coaching staff tremendous pride when college coaches talk about the work ethic of the players who have graduated Kellenberg Memorial High School. Kellenberg prepares its players for the next level by providing 4 levels of competition: Latin School (7th and 8th grade), Freshman (9th grade only), Junior Varsity (10th grade only), and Varsity (10th, 11th, and 12th grade). All levels play in wooden bat leagues, including the Latin School. Due to the number of talented students who try out for our teams, it is very difficult to become a member of the Kellenberg Memorial Baseball Program.
Matt Senk, current head coach of the Stony Brook Seawolves, was the first head coach for the Firebirds. Coach Senk led the Seawolves to the College World Series in 2012 and was awarded the 2012 NCBWA National Coach of the Year. He led the Firebirds to a regular season championship in 1989.
Kellenberg reached the finals of the 1993 NSCHSAA Championships under the direction of Coach Tom Sheedy. The team was led by Jim Wallace (who was drafted out of high school but attended the University of North Carolina), Ed Wenerholm (All Big East Catcher for St. John’s), and Craig McKay (University of Dartmouth). 10 players on that team went on to play college baseball and 2 players on the team signed Independent League contracts after college.
Kellenberg won it’s first NSCHSAA Championship in 1996 under the direction of the late, great Bernie Ward. That team was led by NSCHSAA Player of the Year Michael Niksa (All Big East Catcher for St. John’s) and Kevin Reinking (San Diego Padres – Colorado – Kansas City Royals).
Coach Ward later went on to win another championship in 1999 led by Reid Gorecki (the first Firebird to make it to the MLB) and Mike Gaffney (Kansas City Royals). That year the top 3 leaders in batting average all played for the Firebirds (all 3 hitting above .500).
In 2003, the Firebirds made it to the NSCHSAA Finals led by catcher Steve Malvagna (New York Mets) and Mike Myers (2nd Team All American at Adelphi)
Kellenberg reached the finals again in 2004 winning the NSCHSAA Championship, leading the league with 25 home runs as a team. This team was led by shortstop Scott Gaffney (Cincinnati Reds), and All League players Derek Foder, Mike Sylvester, Tim Sylvester, Anthony Campisi, and Pat Miles.
The Firebirds made NSCHSAA history in 2006 when the team became the first team in league history to win a NSCHSAA Championship coming out of 6th place!
In 2012, every single senior on the team (12) had a roster spot to play on a college team
The following colleges have been destinations for Kellenberg Baseball alumni:
Chestnut Hill College
Roger Williams College
University of Southern Maine
St. John’s University
Penn State University
St. Thomas Aquinas
University of Delaware
Salve Regina University
University of Scranton
University of Jacksonville
Air Force Academy
St. Michaels College
University of Rhode Island
Mount St. Mary’s
College of Mount St. Vincent
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Albertus Magnus College
St. Joseph’s College – Patchogue
College of St. Rose
University of Maine
University of Hartford
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
SUNY New Paltz
New York University
Firebirds in the Pros:
Mike Gaffney – Kansas City Royals
Scott Gaffney – Cincinnati Reds
Reid Gorecki – St. Louis Cardinals / Atlanta Braves (MLB) / New York Yankees
Mike Sharpe – New York Mets
Steve Malvagna – New York Mets
Kevin McCarthy – Kansas City Royals
Tom Merkle – Florida Marlins
Kevin Reinking – San Diego Padres / Colorado Rockies / Kansas City Royals
Jim Wallace – Houston Astros