finishes 145-60 at MI, 48-15 in tough district play
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski speaks with former Merritt Island Mustangs manager Greg Plecki following a big win over the Eau Gallie Commodores this past season.
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA– On Monday, Eastern Florida State College announced that Satellite Scorpion skipper, Jason Arnold, was taking over for Jeff Tam as manager of the Titans baseball team.
“We had over 100 candidates for the position and we really believe that Jason is the man for the job.,” said EFSC athletic director Jeff Carr. “He is a high-character person that will make an impact on the young men he will coach at Eastern Florida. We can’t wait for Jason to get started.”
Another high-character individual from another Brevard County school will join Arnold’s coaching staff at EFSC, Merritt Island Mustang manager, Greg Plecki.
Arnold announced on social media that Plecki would be joining him there. “What a bittersweet day saying goodbye to my Satellite High family. I have loved every minute of teaching and being the head baseball coach there. I will truly miss SHS and the entire Satellite community.”
“On the other hand, I’m so excited to be the next head baseball coach at Eastern Florida State College and to have my good friend Greg Plecki join me as my assistant is going to special. I hope many of you will come out and see us there.”
Plecki, who recently led his Mustangs to the Class 6A State championship game where they lost in extra innings, also released a statement on social media about his departure from the Island.
“I just wanted to take a second to say thank you to everyone involved the last six years at Merritt Island Baseball. It has been a really great ride and I am happy to say that I could be apart. To the player,s thanks for all the unbelievable memories and I hope you learned as much from our adventures together as I did.”
Plecki told me, “It was a very tough decision to make the move but I am excited about the new challenge. I hope we can do a great job of keeping the Brevard talent here and continue to be associated with Brevard County baseball.”
The former North Dakota State University product took over the job as the manager at Merritt Island in 2011 and finished with a record of 145-60. He never won less than 20 games in any season and finished with an impressive 48-15 mark in district play.
Plecki did so playing in one of the toughest districts in arguably all of the country. The past three seasons the Mustangs competed in Class 6A District 13, which includes two of the top teams in the area in the Rockledge Raiders and Eau Gallie Commodores.
The Mustangs won the district title this year and reached the state championship game this past season by defeating Suncoast, Rockledge and a heavily favored American Heritage team. Once in the Final Four, Merritt Island defeated Barron Collier 8-2 in the state semifinal contest but lost to Jefferson Tampa 6-5 in nine innings in the title game.
Plecki has also developed and prepared many players for careers on the diamond in college and possibly beyond.
Just in the past two years, Brady McConnell and Connor Allen have gone on to big time D1 schools. McConnell is in Gainesville on the University of Florida Gators roster and Allen is playing for the Hurricanes at the University of Miami.
While McConnell and Allen’s success has Plecki beaming with pride, there is no doubt his proudest moment as a baseball manager came last week when the ace of his staff this past season, Mason Denaburg, was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Denaburg started behind the plate for Plecki in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and this season was on the mound allowing less than one run per game while striking out 75 hitters in 35.1 innings pitched.
BCPS Continues to Lose Coaches:
While both Plecki and Arnold will remain in the area, the loss stings Brevard County Public Schools athletics, especially when you consider that there will be seven new head football coaches to start the 2018 season.
Merrit Island is one of those seven schools. Hurley Brown was named the Mustangs football coach earlier this year after athletic director Jeff McLean stepped aside.
All the new coaches are great hires and each situation is different and unique to itself but the question that must be asked is, why are so many coaches leaving Brevard County?
ABOVE VIDEO: With pick No.27 in Round 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft, the reigning NL East Champion Washington Nationals selected Merritt Island Mustang pitcher, Mason Denaburg. (Video by MLB Network)
Mustangs in good Shape:
Plecki was a perfect fit at Merritt Island and he leaves the Mustangs in a very good place. Merritt Island returns nine players from this year’s state runner-up team for next season.
Those players include freshman Chase LeBlanc, who appeared in 32 games and batted just under .300 and sophomore, Ian Farrow, who finished second on the team with 32 runs batted in this season and was named the Friday Night Locker Room Player of the Game when the Mustangs knocked off Rockledge in round two of the state playoffs.
Plecki will stay at Merritt Island and continue to teach Physical Education. A replacement has not been named and one isn’t expected to be named for several weeks.
“I really enjoyed my time and all the people associated with Merritt Island baseball. That place will hold a special place in my heart and all my former players know how much I love each one of them,” Plecki told me.
Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily for updates on this story.
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