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Feature: Three of WNY's Top Athletes Recently Received National Recognition

7:01 PM, Oct 7, 2012   |    comments
  • Mark Armstrong is a Senior at Clarence, where he was the starting quarterback for the football team until he was injured, and also is a starting pitcher for the Red Devils.
  • Jonah Heim is a Senior at Amherst, where he is the starting catcher for the baseball team.
  • Tyler Green is a Senior at Williamsville North, where he is the starting tight end and defensive end in football; plays as a forward on the hockey team, and first base and pitcher for the baseball team.
    
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By Dick Gallagher

Mark Armstrong, Tyler Green, and Jonah Heim are the epitome of student athletes. All excel in several sports and possess a 90+% GPA.

They are all class acts (a credit to their families), and each demonstrates respect for sports by playing with passion, giving 100% effort, as well as displaying excellent sportsmanship and teamwork.

On August 16th, Mark, Tyler, and Jonah received a tremendous honor by playing in Yankee Stadium with 29 other top baseball players in the country.

Mark and Jonah played for the Yankees which defeated the Red Sox 9-6. Mark pitched two innings, giving up one hit while striking out two batters, while Jonah recorded a hit and threw out two runners attempting to steal.

Tyler was a member of the Red Sox (despite being an avid Yankees fan) and recorded two hits.

All three have committed to play collegiate baseball, with Mark planning on attending the
University at Pittsburgh. Tyler has committed to the University of Vanderbilt, while Jonah has committed to Michigan State.

It is very possible that Mark, Tyler and Jonah will be drafted next spring in the Major Baseball League draft.

These three student athletes have brought much recognition to WNY baseball and should act as a catalyst in bringing more attention to local student-athletes.

A profile and conversation between myself and each player follows:

 

MARK ARMSTRONG, CLARENCE
Age: 17; Born 11-26-94 (Class of 2013)
6'3, 205 lbs.

Years playing football: 5 (QB)
Years playing hockey: 12 (Defense)
Years playing baseball: 12 (Pitcher)
Nickname: "Army"
Family: Mother - Joanne, Sister - Lauren, Brother - David, Father - Bob (deceased)
Favorite Baseball Player: Derek Jeter, Yankees
Favorite Football Player: Payton Manning, Broncos

What are your best attributes/strengths?
Strong arm, good decision-maker, desire to get better every day.
How fast can you throw a baseball?
95 on the gun, 92 consistently.
How many Major League teams have contacted you?
All 30 teams, through e-mail, phone calls, and visits to my home by scouts.
What other colleges recruited you for baseball?
All Big East teams, North Carolina and Vanderbilt.
What would you do if you were drafted by a Major League team in the MLB draft?
It would depend in which round I was drafted. I would have to receive guidance from Coach Smith and weigh all of my options before I could make a decision.
What drives you?
To be the best I can be.
Which teammates make you laugh?
Anthony Principale and Vince Taverna.
Who is the toughest hitter you have faced?
Tyler Green, Williamsville North
What was your best moment in playing sports?
Winning the Sectional Baseball Title in my freshman year, and playing at Yankee Stadium.
What are your career plans?
I plan to major in mathematics in college and hopefully become a teacher and a coach.
What is your current GPA?
A 90%.
What honors have you received?
1st-Team All-WNY and NYS this season playing baseball; received All-League Honorable Mention in football.
What were your statistics for this baseball season?
My record was 6-1 for the season. I pitched 45 innings and had 87 strikeouts. I allowed one earned run all season.
What are your goals for the football season?
League and Sectional Titles for the team; individual goals are 1,000 yards passing and 10 touchdowns.
Where has Mark Layer helped you with football?
Coach Layer has helped me a great deal in understanding the game and provided me with knowledge to improve my game regarding technique, reading progressions, preparing for a game, etc.
What has Dave Smith helped you with in your development as a baseball player?
He has taught me what it takes to be a winner and be successful. He also has pushed me to finish drills, to be stronger and quicker and to be the best player that I can be. 
How were you able to deal with the sudden loss of your father at the age of 56?
It was real hard, but my family, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers and classmates were very supportive. My Christian faith also played a major role in the grief and loss process.

Note: In Clarence's first three games, Mark threw for 400 yards and 6 TDs before a season-ending injury against Frontier.


TYLER GREEN, WILLIAMSVILLE NORTH
Age: 17, Born: 4-19-95 (Class of 2013)
6'6, 225 lbs.

Years playing football: 5
Years playing baseball: 12
Years playing hockey: 12
Family: Dad - Sean, Mom - Lisa, Brothers - Owen (15), Griffin (12)
Favorite baseball player: Derek Jeter
Favorite football player: Tim Tebow

What are your best attributes/strengths?
Size, hustle, lead by example and respect for people and the game.
What were your season stats from baseball?
Batted 550 with 6 home runs and 28 walks.
How many Major League teams have contacted you?
All 30 teams.
Have you committed to a college?
I have verbally committed to the University of Vanderbilt.
Why Vanderbilt?
It was a perfect fit academically and athletically. I also connected well with the coaches and like playing in the warm weather.
Which schools did you consider?
Vanderbilt, Duke and the University of Connecticut.
How far can you hit a baseball?
450 feet.
What MLB player attended Vanderbilt?
Several over the years. Currently, David Price the Tampa Bay pitcher.
What drives you?
To be the best I can be.
Which teammate makes you laugh?
Kyle Jurek
Who is the toughest pitcher you have faced?
Mark Armstrong
What are your career goals?
To receive a college degree, be drafted by a Major League baseball team and play professionally.
What is your current GPA?
Currently I have a 3.7 GPA.
What was your best moment playing baseball?
Playing at Yankees Stadium.
How have your coaches helped you?
All of my youth and High School coaches have helped me to improve my game and helped me develop as a responsible player, student and person.
What honors have you received?
Hockey: 2nd-team All-Conference (2010); Football: 2nd-team All-League (2011); Baseball: 1st-team All-League (2009, 2010, 2011), 2nd-team All-WNY (2011)

Note: Williamsville North lost their season opener to Starpoint 23-20, Tyler caught a touchdown pass and recorded several tackles. In the second gam against McKinley, he caught 3 passes, recorded 5 tackles, had 1 sack and had a TD pass called back by a penalty.




JONAH HEIM, AMHERST
Age: 17, Born: 6-27-95 (Class of 2013)
6'3, 190 lbs.

Years playing baseball: 8
Family: Dad - Jamie; Brothers - Jordan, James; Stepmother - Jen
Favorite baseball player: Derek Jeter

What are your best attributes?
Strong arm, switch hitter, knowledge of the game.
How many Major League teams have contacted you?
Pirates, Braves, Yankees, Royals, Phillies, and Padres.
Have you committed to a college for a baseball scholarship?
Michigan State
What other colleges were on your final list?
Ohio State, Maryland, Binghamton, and Marshall.
Why did you select Michigan State?
The atmosphere, campus, coaches, it was a perfect fit.
What would you do if you were drafted by a Major League team in the MLB draft?
I would sign with them.
What drives you?
Love for the game, desire to play in the Major Leagues.
What teammate makes you laugh?
Matt Connolly.
Who is the toughest pitcher you have faced?
Mike Kailn of Maryvale, who will play for the University at Buffalo.
What was your best moment playing sports?
Playing at Yankee Stadium.
What are your career plans?
Playing Major League baseball. After baseball, work as an engineer.
What is your current GPA?
3.2 GPA.
What were your stats for this year's baseball season?
400 batting average, 2 home runs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 27 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
How have your coaches helped you in your development as an athlete and person?
They have helped me in many ways. Brian Davis, my coach for Amherst has helped me become a switch hitter.

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