Philadelphia Phillies Sign Former Baseball Golden Bear Eric Smolin
Posted May 25, 2007
Former Western New England College baseball standout Eric Smolin signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies organization on June 19. The pitcher reported that same day to the Phillies' Gulf Coast League (GCL) team in Clearwater, Florida. It is the first time in at least two decades that a Western New England College player has signed with a Major League Baseball franchise.
"I am really very, very excited about signing," said Smolin. "I received the call yesterday (June 18) when I was at work with the (New Hampshire) Fisher Cats. The scout asked me if I'd like to play in the Philadelphia Phillies organization and I was shaking all day. It's always been a dream of mine to play pro ball and now I have that opportunity."
Smolin expects to graduate in December with a degree in sport management after he returns to Western New England College in the fall to complete an advanced field experience in his major. Smolin will also be a teaching assistant in the Sport Management Department under Management/Sport Management chair Dr. Sharianne Walker. For the past month Smolin was an intern with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, working in ticket sales, promotions, and marketing.
"Eric signing a professional contract is the perfect ending to what has been a storybook season for him," said Western New England College baseball coach Matt LaBranche. "I've always felt that Eric was a gifted athlete who could compete at any level, and now after much hard work and a great deal of perseverance, he has a chance to live every ballplayer's dream. The entire Western New England College baseball program is extremely proud and we wish him all the best in this new challenge."
Smolin, 22, led the Golden Bears' staff this spring with an 8-1 record and a 1.85 earned-run-average. He had eight complete games allowing only 56 hits in 68 innings with a team-high 58 strikeouts and just 16 walks. Opponents hit only .217 against him.
The 6-3, 175-lb. right-hander was named to the 2007 Rawlings American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Division III All-American Second Team. He was selected the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Division III Pitcher-of-the-Year and voted to the All-Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) First Team.
Smolin lost his opening start of the season against Cortland (N.Y.) at the Port Charlotte Invitational in Florida on March 17, but then won his next eight decisions.
He had several notable games during the season tossing a six-hitter in a 4-1 win over against pre-season number one ranked Otterbein (Ohio) March 22 at the Port Charlotte Invitational. Smolin fired a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 victory at nationally-ranked Wheaton College on May 5 and gained the win against Williams College in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament May 16 in Harwich, Massachusetts.
Smolin also was selected to the Division III Senior All-Star team that will play in the NEIBA Senior All-Star Game at Fenway Park on July 22.
Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,700 students, including 2,550 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.
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