Feb. 25, 2014
When Matt Gage grabbed a baseball at the age of three he never wanted to let it go.
Growing up in nearby Johnstown, N.Y. Matt attended Broadalbin-Perth high school, and always tried to imitate his older brother Dave.
"My role model is my brother, because he has been there for me since I started to learn how to play baseball," Gage said. "He wants the best for me, and he has pushed me to keep getting better each day. I watched him play baseball in high school and in college and saw his passion for the game, and I want to have that same passion."
Dave is the head coach at Southern Vermont University, and Matt continues to draw from the lessons he learned.
Matt earned MAAC First Team honors in 2013 after starting 14 games and setting a school record with 88 strikeouts (surpassing Siena Hall of Famer and New York Mets pitcher John Lannan `06). He then received a prestigious invitation to participate in the Cape Cod league, landing a roster spot with the Chatham Anglers this past summer.
The exclusive collegiate summer baseball league has graduated major leaguers like Robin Ventura, Mark Teixeria and Matt Wieters.
Gage performed exceptionally against the top college players in the country and was selected to participate in the All-Star game. He recalls being named to the team after a seminar about the Major League Draft, and recalls the commissioner announcing his name.
"I learned a lot and met guys from all over the country," Gage said. "I had a lot of fun while playing baseball there because of the history. It was definitely the best summer I ever experienced."
The experience in the Cape helped raise Gage's profile, and Major League Scouts have taken notice. For now, his attention is focused on Siena and helping the Saints do something they haven't done in 15 years - win the MAAC and go to the NCAA Tournament.
"Our goal is to finish what we started last year, win the MAAC title and go to a Regional," Gage says. "Another goal is to finish at the top of the conference during the regular season so that we have a First Round bye in the MAAC Tournament."
Gage and the Saints lost in the MAAC Championship game last year after making a thrilling run to the title game from the loser's bracket. Gage got the loss in the Tournament opener, something he hopes to avenge if given a second opportunity.
In addition to refining his pitching, Gage is working on improving his leadership skills by teaching younger players in the clubhouse the extensive work it is going to take to win a Championship. He also doesn't mind displaying off his lighter side, often showcasing his dancing skills while doing the "Dougie" to keep his teammates relaxed.
The team comes first in Gage's mind, but he also indicated he'd like to break his personal strikeout record.
The Saints traveled south to Florida and South Carolina on their first two weekends and Gage turned in solid performances in losses to Central Florida and Charleston Southern that will help the team prepare for the critical conference season.
"We learned that we have the potential to be very good once we are on the field more and iron out all the wrinkles," Gage said. "Once we put everything together we will be a threat to win the conference. Another thing we learned is that our freshman can come right in and be contributors, which is a major asset to have."
When it is all said and done after his career at Siena, Gage hopes to get drafted and to one day coach with his brother at the college level.
~Jarrel Harris '14