Sports

Baseball Trio Earns All-State Recognition

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Lakeland’s Matt Mikulski, who was second-team all-state in Class A, pitches against Yorktown during the Sorrentino Cup. Credits: File photo
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YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Recent high-school graduates, Lakeland pitcher Matt Mikulski (second team) and shortstop James Houlahan (eighth team) in Class A and Yorktown right fielder/third baseman/pitcher Joe Veca (ninth team) in Class AA, were named all-state for their senior campaigns.

“It’s a great honor to be second-team all state,” Mikulski said. “You know there is a lot of good baseball being played around the state and being up there with some of the best players in the state is an honor and very humbling. It’s nice to see hard work pay off.”

Mikulski felt his teammate Houlahan was equally as deserving.

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“James is one of the hardest working players I have ever met and he deserves every award he receives,” Mikulski said. “The thing that separates James from other players that I have played with is how much he wanted to win every game which helped our team out a lot this season.”

Mikulski will next pitch at Fordham University.

“When I get to Fordham I want to make an immediate impact on the team and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help out my team,” Mikulski said.

Houlahan said it was a great honor to be named all-state as well.

“It will never cure the heartbreak of knowing that we were just one win away from a shot at a section championship, but it is a very nice way to cap off my career,” Houlahan said.

Houlahan thought that Mikulski being named all-state was a no-brainer.

“Aside from throwing absolute gas, Matt’s an unbelievable competitor with the heart of a lion,” Houlahan said. “His energy and passion was something we all thrived on. It played a huge factor in how successful he was this year at Lakeland and will undoubtedly stick with him at Fordham.”

Houlahan, a captain, said that he will miss everything about playing baseball at Lakeland.

“The Lakeland baseball way is something you can only appreciate if you experience it,” Houlahan said. “I got to play the best game in the world with my best friends for coaches and role models who all have affected my life in such a positive way. And for that I will always be grateful.”

Like his two opponents crosstown, Veca, a Husker captain, was grateful to be recognized as an all-state performer.

“It’s a huge honor to be named all-state, just to be mentioned next to some of the top guys around truly is heartwarming,” Veca said.

Veca said that his family, teammates and coaches all played important roles in his development as a player.

“I give credit to my parents and sisters for going the extra step and always making sure I took the opportunities I was given and taking me to countless games and practices throughout the years,” Veca said. “I also have to give the credit to my teammates and coaches for always trying to make me a better player and forcing me to put the extra work in day in and day out.”

Veca is now ready to take the skills he has learned to Shenandoah University.

“At Shenandoah I will try and play third base but I’m just trying to win a national championship so whatever position helps the team I will be fine with,” Veca said. “I’ve always tried to use baseball to get an education but I look to see how far I can make it playing the sport I love.”

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