Clifton HS Graduate Signs Pro Baseball Contract, Joins Frontier League's Sussex County Miners
Two former Felician University baseball players joined the professional ranks during Memorial Day weekend. Pitchers, lefty Darwin Matos and Michael Gutierrez, a right-hander, recently signed independent pro contracts and made their professional debuts.
Both men are local North Jersey products. Darwin Matos, a graduate of Clifton High School, is a member of the Frontier League's Sussex County Miners. Gutierrez, a native of Garfield, signed with the High Point (N.C.) Rockers of the Atlantic League, but after one start was traded to the New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League. They were both members of the 2022 Golden Falcons and are 2022 graduates of Felician.
"I'm very happy for both guys," said Felician head coach Chris Langan, who recently completed his 19th season with the Golden Falcons. "Darwin can throw a fastball and slider as plus pitches and I believe is just scratching the surface of what he can do on the mound. Both players are big-time workers who love to compete."
Matos joined the Golden Falcons after two seasons at Rowan College-South Jersey at Gloucester. In two years with Felician he went 5-5 with two saves and a 5.26 ERA. Matos struck out 82 batters in 66 2/3 innings. He has tossed 6 1/3 innings during four relief appearances for the Miners, who are managed by Rutherford High School graduate and former Major-League Baseball pitcher Bobby Jones.
"I'm extremely grateful and I don't take this opportunity lightly," Matos said. "I know that the chances for baseball players to compete after college are very slim. To think that coming out of high school I couldn't throw a baseball more than 78 miles per hour and to now be in this position is very humbling. A lot of hard work through adversity has led me to this point. I've gotten a good feel for the professional experience these last few weeks and continue to soak it all in."
Felician has six of its former baseball players currently competing on independent professional teams. Joining Gutierrez and Matos in the Frontier League are Brennan Price '17 of the Florence (Ky.) Y'Alls and Dwayne Marshall of the Miners. Joe Curcio and Syam Lafi are first-year members of the Pecos League, Curcio with the Bakersfield Train Robbers and Lafi for the Garden City (Kan.) Wind.
During the Felician baseball program's 23-year history, 29 ex-Golden Falcons have signed professional contracts, all but one under Langan's watch.