1987 Baseball National Championship Team Reunion

Members of the 1987 Baseball National Championship team at the reunion.

The Department of Athletics and the baseball program celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its 1987 NCAA Division III National Championship Team at a home game in April. Eighteen members from that squad made their way back to Montclair State, including head coach Kevin Cooney. Team members honored in a private ceremony inside the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center before the game included: Rich Preziotti, Bill Coyle, Bob Levy, Pete Diaz, Fran Maggio, Ray Castellano, John McClain, Jim Fasano, Dave Kern, Kevin Cavallo, Wayne Masters, Sal Ferragine, Brian Devins, Brian Cheswick, Mike Wenrich, Jeff Vanderoef and Leroy Horn.

Cooney, the 1987 National Coach of the Year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the Red Hawks doubleheader with The College of New Jersey, and the group was honored between games as the players held up their national championship trophy. In 1987, the then Indians brought home from Ohio the first of three NCAA national championships for Montclair State as Horn blasted the “Shot Heard Round Montclair” with his two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning. The home run capped one of the greatest seasons not only in program history, but also in the history of athletics at the University.

Led by Cooney, a former player and Hall of Famer, the team punctuated a 34-14-1 season with a 13-12 victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the championship game after sweeping all four games in the championship tournament. During the reunion, the former players may have had a sense of deja vu as the current Red Hawks downed the Lions in the first game 11-10 on what else? A walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.