Cononie Selected to Minor League All-Star Team
Northwest Alumnus to appear in 'Mid-Summer Classic' in Lowell, Mass.
Roughly two months after being selected by the Tampa Bay Rays' organization in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft, Germantown native Charlie Cononie has been chosen to represent the Hudson Valley Renegades in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.
The annual contest, also dubbed the Mid-Summer Classic, will take place at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., on Aug. 16.
"It's a big honor. I was obviously really excited when I found out I made the all-star team," said Cononie, who graduated from Northwest High School in 2007. "I definitely wasn't expecting anything like this."
Cononie said he heard the news after his team wrapped up its weekend series against the Aberdeen IronBirds, where he pitched two scoreless innings in the Renegades' 10-3 loss on Friday.
The 6-foot-7-inch right-hander is one of 10 pitchers to be named to the American League squad and joins pitching teammates Robert Dickmann and Parker Markel — both of whom are in the midst of their second season with Hudson Valley.
So far this season, Cononie has appeared in 12 games, pitching 23 innings where he has given up just two runs and surrendered only 11 hits. He ranks among the league's best with six saves on the season and his 0.39 ERA is the best in the 14-team league among closers, edging out current save leader and fellow all-star, Staten Island's Branden Pinder (10 saves, 0.50 ERA).
While it's only been two months, the transition from college to professional baseball for Cononie has been a fairly smooth one. He pitched his final game for Towson University in late May and by June 15, he was on the bus to New York. He made his professional debut June 21 against Staten Island, where he pitched two hitless shutout innings. The biggest adjustment, Cononie said, has just been getting used to the daily grind of playing an average six times per week.
"The main difference between college ball and pro ball is you're playing almost every day," said Cononie, a second-team all conference selection this past season at Towson. "The days are longer and the hours a little more grueling so it gets a little tiring but you get used to it and you become stronger because of it."
With a little less than a month left in the season (play concludes on Sept. 4), Cononie will be retuning to Towson University this fall — but not as a baseball player. He has a couple of credits to earn before he officially graduates. Meanwhile, he is already looking ahead to next season and is looking forward to continuing his development this offseason.
"I'm just going to continue to work hard every day and work on my control and work on developing a change-up," Cononie said. "I'm pretty excited about what the future holds and am pretty excited about working on my development this winter."
The Renegades are in the middle of a three-game series against Lowell followed by a weekend series against Tri-City prior to the all-star break that begins Monday.