DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Mercy College Head Baseball Coach Chris Schoen has announced the hiring of CJ Riefenhauser, Randal Mendez as Student Assistant Coaches and Kenny Costa as a Volunteer Assistant Coach.
"I am thrilled not only for our current players but for the future of the Mercy Baseball program with these three additions to the staff," stated Schoen.
CJ Riefenhauser is joining the Mercy Baseball coaching staff for the 2018 season. A local, CJ graduated from Mahopac High School in 2008. During his time at Mahopac CJ stared both on the baseball and football fields, being named to the All-Section team. His prowess on the mound earned him pitcher of the year in league 1C in the 2007 and 2008 seasons propelling him to future collegiate success.
CJ pitched at the collegiate level at Chipola College. During his time there CJ's success attracted the attention of Major league scout and in the 20th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft the Tampa Bay Rays selected CJ Riefenhauser.
In his first full professional season CJ played for the the single A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays where he was named both a mid season and postseason all star. His first season was capped by being named the number one left handed pitching prospect in all of the Midwest League.
CJ's remarkable first season was followed by an equally impressive second season. While pitching for the A+ Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays CJ was named to the Florida State league All-Star team, and was asked to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
In the Arizona Fall League CJ pitched himself to the Rising Stars All Star game, all but paving the way to the continual rise of his professional baseball Career.
In the following season, CJ's third professional season he was named to the Futures game at Citi Field. A game which is reserved for the highest ranked prospects in each minor league system. Adding to his accomplishments that year CJ was named to Baseball America's first team All Star team in the entirety of minor league baseball, he was the only reliever to receive the honor that year.
In 2014 CJ made his Major league debut against the New York Yankees, throwing a perfect inning in relief. He then split time between AAA and the Major league level. In 2015 CJ earned his first Major league win against the Chicago White Sox.
After the 2015 season CJ spent time with the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs. Pitching the 2016 season with the Iowa Cubs the AAA affiliate of Chicago Cubs.
In 2017 CJ began the year in Major League Spring training with the Houston Astros, and now continues his playing career with the Rockland Boulders of the Canadian American Professional Baseball Association. CJ is looking forward to sharing his experience and expertise to developing pitchers in the Mercy program in hopes that they too can achieve their dreams of playing professional baseball.
"CJ is coming off a seven-year pro baseball career and I look forward to working with him and helping him build an elite pitching staff. CJ's vast experience as a college standout and professional player is going to be a huge assist for our program," Schoen said.
"I am excited to work with Coach Schoen and his staff this year and becoming part of the Mercy baseball family," stated Riefenhauser.
Mendez joins the staff after a successful two years at Mercy as a player and leader of the program. Mendez transferred in from Coppin State University and made an immediate impact for the Mavericks as a junior, hitting .289 with 21 RBI and three home runs in 2016. Mendez finished the year with 39 hits, 23 runs scored, a team-high nine doubles and three triples. During the year, Mendez was named the ECC Baseball Player of the Week. The 2017 season saw Mendez finish with 19 RBI, two home runs, eight doubles, 21 runs scored and 32 hits in 40 games played. He was named to the ECC Honor Roll on April 3rd during the year and ended his Mercy career with 71 hits, 44 runs scored, 40 RBI, 17 doubles and five home runs in 81 games.
"Randal is coming off two successful years at Mercy as a player and leader of our program. I am delighted that Randal has chosen to continue his studies at Mercy as well as be a part of my coaching staff. Randal is a proven leader and he will excel in his new journey as a coach. Randal will help me with our corner infielders and hitting. Randal's knowledge of college baseball will help our current and future players," stated Schoen.
"I am forever grateful for the opportunity Mercy College has given me. I would love nothing more than to see this program rise in the ECC and D2. My goal now is to stay around the game for as long as possible and help develop athletes to be the best men they can be, on and off the field. I will give all I have to put our student-athletes in the best positions to succeed, I owe it to Mercy," remarked Mendez.
Costa joins Schoen's staff after two successful years on Mercy's pitching staff. Costa appeared in 23 games with 17 starts and threw five complete games in 112 innings pitched. Costa ended his Mercy career, after transferring from Sussex County CC, with 53 strikeouts and earned a win at Virginia State on March 11th during the 2017 season. Costa concluded his playing career with a team-best 4.35 ERA in 2017 and also went 3-for-10 at the plate with two runs scored.
"Kenny Costa is also coming off two successful years at Mercy as a player and the heart and soul of the program. It means a lot to me to have Kenny stay with the program. All Kenny ever wanted was to help Mercy win and he gave us everything he had for the past two years. Kenny's addition to our staff with his bulldog mentality will help our pitchers understand how to fight for everything," stated Schoen.
"A few days after my last game as a Maverick it hit me that I wasn't ready to be finished with baseball. There was still more I felt I owed the program and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to help make this team grow and succeed. I am beyond excited about continuing to be a part of this program, and to do everything possible to help make sure our players have the best experience on and off the field. I look forward to what this year has in store and the journey to building a dominant baseball program and tradition at Mercy College," stated Costa.