By Bob Behre
It’s a shame Niko Amory, Colin Mason, Karrick Stansberry and Michael Nee are too young to have played with Kevin Gilbert.
That quartet of hard-working, talented Diamond Jack players would have loved him, as all of Kevin’s peers did during his playing days at Diamond Nation and Hunterdon Central High School. Gilbert, in fact, had the kind of infectious passion for the game that drew his teammates to him.
Gilbert died tragically in a car accident shortly before the start of his senior baseball season at Hunterdon Central in 2011. Diamond Nation’s Kevin Gilbert Scholarship was founded in 2012 and Amory, Mason, Stansberry and Nee share the $10,000 award this school year. They are the sixth group of Diamond Jacks to receive the Gilbert Scholarship.
“Kevin exemplified all the qualities we expect from our student-athletes,” said Diamond Jacks recruiting coordinator Steve DiTriolio. “Our scholarship recipients must meet that standard, which includes being a great teammate, always hustling, providing leadership on the field, performing well in the classroom, working hard when nobody is watching and winning and losing with class.”
The four scholarship honorees and 13 other college bound seniors in the Diamond Jacks program were honored on Saturday prior to Diamond Nation’s annual recruiting seminar. A scholarship of $2,500, funded by the Diamond Nation Education Foundation, was presented to each recipient. The scholarship is presented annually to four Diamond Jacks who epitomize the qualities and values of Gilbert, an outstanding center fielder and hitter.
Amory, an outstanding fielding and hitting catcher out of Southern Lehigh (Center Valley, Pa.) High School, has committed to Division 1 Marist in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The 5-10, 195-pound Amory has been a Diamond Jack since he was 11 years old.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be a recipient of the Kevin Gilbert scholarship,” said Amory. “My time at Diamond Nation has fostered my love and passion for baseball. The Diamond Nation coaching staff has helped me grow both personally and as a player. I will continue to make Kevin Gilbert’s family proud by working hard on the field and in the classroom.”
Mason, a talented hitter and outfielder from Hunterdon Central (Flemington, N.J.) High School is committed to Division 1 Binghamton (N.Y.) University. The 6-3, 185-pounder starred on the Diamond Jacks Super 17 squad and helped his high school reach the NJSIAA Group 4 final last spring.
Stansberry fractured his patella three weeks into his high school season at Phillipsburg (N.J.) last spring, so was behind in the recruiting process. He rallied well with a strong season with the Diamond Jacks to secure a commitment at Moravian College (Bethlehem, Pa.). He’s an efficient outfielder with a strong lefty bat.
Nee is a 6-0, 185-pound catcher coming off a strong spring, summer and fall with, first, Immaculata (Somerville, N.J.) High School, then the Diamond Jacks Super 17 team. He’s committed to Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.).
The rest of the honorees were Justin Kosinski and Peter Cosentino, Hunterdon Central (Montclair State University commits), Tyler Diefenbach, Phillipsburg (Montclair State), Collin Mullen, Immaculata (Montclair State), Brandon Hylton, Ridge High School (Stetson University), Mike Murray, Watchung Hills (Hofstra), Ryan Morash, Gill St. Bernard’s (Hofstra), Tucker Wittman, New Hope-Solebury (Pa.) (UMass Amherst), Cole Patten, Sparta (Seton Hall University), Christian Hlinka, Delaware Valley (Virginia 2017-’18), Luke Franzoni, Somerville (Xavier University), Noah Jordan, Immaculata (Franklin & Marshall) and Mike Weber, Pingry (Chicago University).