By Tom Regan
In 2011, Nick Crescenzo burst onto the Broncs’ baseball scene, starting 41 of 45 games, hitting .355, good for second on the team, and knocking in 31 RBIs. Following his superb rookie season, Crescenzo was crowned MAAC Rookie of the Year, as well as the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association’s Rookie of the Year. In addition, he was selected for the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Now a well-seasoned veteran and captain of the baseball team, Crescenzo will lead a young Bronc team that features only two other seniors.
In 2013, the Broncs’ centerfielder finished in the top five in nearly every offensive category for Rider. He had a batting average of .290, an on-base percentage of .367, and a .385 slugging percentage. Crescenzo led Rider with 36 RBIs and 20 stolen bases, which was second in the MAAC.
Crescenzo’s three older brothers played a major role in his interest in sports while growing up.
“I probably started playing baseball when I was 3,” Crescenzo said. “Being the youngest of four, I kind of followed in my brothers’ footsteps with sports.”
Though baseball was Crescenzo’s first love, he also spent numerous hours on the football field. Crescenzo played a multitude of positions at Hammonton High School, including quarterback, safety and kicker. Crescenzo also showed versatility on the baseball diamond, where he played shortstop and outfield.
While Crescenzo loved both sports, he ultimately decided on baseball.
“The positions I would play in college football would beat me up,” Crescenzo said. “I thought baseball would be easier on my body.”
The decision to play baseball has led Crescenzo to a successful Bronc career, as his 167 hits place him 29th on Rider’s all-time hit list, with a chance to crack the top 10 in the 2014 season. Early in the 2014 season, Crescenzo has 20 hits, which places him 16 hits shy of the top 10.
Despite the looming possibility of a strong personal finish to his Bronc career, Crescenzo is far more concerned with the possibility of winning a championship.
“A championship would make it all worthwhile after all the hard work we put in with early morning lifts, early conditioning in the freezing cold and countless hours of practice,” Crescenzo said.
Junior shortstop, and Crescenzo’s teammate of three years, Mike Parsons believes that Crescenzo fits the bill to be a captain and leader for the Broncs.
“Being a captain is part of his responsibility and he has the correct mindset to accomplish that for the team,” Parsons said. “Nick is a guy that’s confident and knows what to do in all situations on the field.”
Crescenzo not only has the respect of teammates who have worked with him for years, but his role-model qualities have also had an impact on the Bronc rookies.
“He has a good work ethic, which makes him a good role model, but also knows how to joke around and have fun,” freshman outfielder Nick Kagel said. “He’s easy to get along with and I know I can come to him with anything and he will do his best to help.”
Head Coach Barry Davis stressed Crescenzo’s ability as a player and his expectations for his star centerfielder and captain.
“He has been a consistent player for us with a consistent mindset day in and day out,” Davis said. “As a captain, much is expected in the form of leadership.”