In the past five years the well at the Montgomery High School baseball program has not run dry of top recruits that become big time stars at Seton Hall.
Senior pitcher Josh Prevost, junior shortstop D.J. Ruhlman, freshman Brett Ender and Phillies pitching prospect and Pirate alumni Jon Prosinski are all products of Montgomery H.S.
Montgomery coach Peter Mueller had fostered a trust in the Seton Hall program after some promising conversations with Seton Hall pitching coach Phil Cundari and in the past few years this trust has become mutual.
“Coach Mueller is a really good baseball man and I think that when he says that he thinks he has a player that can play at our level, I take that seriously,” said Cundari.
On Tuesday, Prevost was named to the 2014 College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Watch List. His win on Friday over Villanova boosted his record to 9-1 with a 1.48 ERA. However, were it not for Mueller, people may be counting Prevost’s accolades on the links rather than the diamond.
“After my freshman year I wasn’t very good at baseball so I told him I was going to be playing golf next spring and he wasn’t too happy with me,” the 6-foot-8 Prevost said.
This news did not sit well with his High School skipper.
“I saw how he threw the ball and I was hearing some rumblings that he was going to play golf and at the time he was about 6-foot- 4. I said listen man, you’re not going to golf,” Mueller said. “Come back and play baseball and if you work hard enough you’re going to be a major D1 player but he had a lot of work to do.”
Prevost said he was glad that his coach had “smacked some sense into,” him and he got the chance to follow his good friend and teammate, Prosinski, to South Orange.
“It’s just great playing with your best friends since you were a kid,” Prevost said.
“Jon was just like the ultimate role model throughout High School and then throughout here so it’s just great playing with your best friends.”
Prosinski was drafted by Philadelphia in the 10th round of last year’s draft and is now playing for the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League.
“With Jon he’s such an unassuming young man, very different from Josh, he wears his emotions on his sleeve,” Mueller said.
Not to be lost in the mix of great pitching prospects the Cougars have fed Seton Hall, is shortstop D.J. Ruhlman who followed suit when he graduated Montgomery in 2011 and has since become a mainstay in the Pirates lineup.
“Every day we get to spend time with our best friends and play the game that we love with our best friends and I mean it just speaks volumes of the products that Montgomery produces,” Ruhlman said he also notices many similarities in the campus attitude toward the school baseball team between Seton Hall and Montgomery.
Mueller remembers Ruhlman as one of the quieter people to come through his school.
“He was as quiet as you could imagine but the sound of his bat was different from every- body,” said Mueller.
“He had such a violent swing but it was beautiful.”
The latest to come from Montgomery is the freshman Ender who was an outfielder in high school, but Mueller noticed his big arm and saw a project that somebody as developmentally sound as Cundari could turn into a success.
“This whole year has been huge from a developmental aspect,” said Ender.
If there is one thing Ender hopes that Seton Hall can do for him its to bring him the same type of success as his Montgomery predecessors.
“They’ve really paved the way for me and it’s just like an honor to continue that whole Montgomery tradition that we have here,” said Ender.
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at email@example.com.