Little Falls, NY–The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs are pleased to announce Jason Rathbun as the first inductee of the class of 2014’s Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame.
In two years of playing varsity baseball, Rathbun compiled a record of 8-1 with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.81. After high school, Rathbun served a three-year commitment to the 3rd Infantry Division in the U.S. Army.
While stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia, he competed in an Independent Summer League where he was voted MVP of the League. This allowed him the opportunity to play for NJCAA Hall of Fame Coach Howard Roey at Division I Florida Community College in Jacksonville.
After the birth of his son, Rathbun returned home to play for at Herkimer College. During his freshman year, he led the team with five wins and a 3.66 ERA, and posted a .429 batting average.
Upon graduating from Herkimer, Rathbun accepted a baseball scholarship to Division II Erskine College in South Carolina to play. At Erskine, Rathbun compiled a 7-3 record highlighted by a senior season ERA of 2.64.
In 2005, Rathbun returned to his alma mater and took over the Herkimer Generals baseball program as head coach. During his tenure with the Generals, Rathbun has produced 263 career victories over nine seasons, averaging 29 wins per season.
His 2006 and 2008 teams achieved Academic All-American status for team GPA over 3.00. Herkimer’s 2006, ‘07, and ‘10 team won the school’s first three Regional Baseball Championships earning trips to the DIII Junior College World Series. Herkimer has won six Mountain Valley Conference Championships during his nine years in the dugout.
Rathbun’s Herkimer Generals teams have developed a reputation as a traditionally strong offensive team, over the last nine years his teams have hit .349, .362, .390, .307, .363, .381, .306, .344, and .324 including finishing first in the country in batting average in 2006 and 2010.
In his first season as head coach (2005), the baseball program reached new heights of success when the team advanced to the Region III Final Four for the first time since 1990. Herkimer broke the school win record with 21 victories, the first 20-win season in the program’s history.
In 2006, the Generals won their first Region III Championship and went on to compete in the Division III NJCAA College World Series. The team also achieved excellence in the classroom receiving Academic All-American honors with a team GPA of 3.02. Herkimer was the only DIII JUCO in the country to receive this honor.
The 2007 team won Herkimer’s second Region III Championship and went on to compete in the Division III NJCAA College World Series in Tyler, Texas. Herkimer would go on to finish third in the national tournament, the highest finish for any Region III Division III team. Herkimer broke the wins record for the third straight season achieving 35 wins.
In 2008, Herkimer again achieved Academic All-American honors with a team GPA over 3.00 and made a fourth straight trip to the Regional Final Four. Herkimer finished the 2009 regular season as the 4th ranked team in DIII but came up short of their third Regional Championship falling short in the championship game.
The 2010 season gave Herkimer their third Regional Championship, with another strong showing in the World Series finishing third in the National Championships for the second time, finishing with a 35-14 record.
In 2011 Herkimer produced the seventh straight season Herkimer qualified for the Regional playoffs. In 2012 Herkimer finished the regular season ranked third by the NJCAA and qualified for the Regional playoffs for the eighth straight year. In 2013 Herkimer finished the regular season ranked seventh in country and returned for their seventh trip to the Regional Final Four.
Not only have the Herkimer Generals added hardware to the trophy case since Rathbun took command of the program but Coach Rathbun’s coaching excellence has also been noticed as he has won a myriad of awards.
These include 2005 Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year, 2006 NJCAA District A Regional Coach of the Year, 2006 Diamond ABCA Regional Coach of the Year, 2007 NJCAA District A Regional Coach of the Year, 2007 Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year, 2009 NJCAA Region III Coach of the Year, 2009 Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year, 2010 Mountain Valley Conference Co-Coach of the Year, 2010 Diamond ABCA Regional Coach of the Year, 2010 NJCAA District A Regional Coach of the Year and 2013 Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year
The Hall of Fame induction on April 5th will include dinner and a Chinese auction and will feature keynote speaker and former Boston Red Sox left-handed pitcher Bill Lee. The event’s doors will open on April 5th at 5:30 P.M. for cocktails and autographs with dinner and program following. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. For a table of 8 people, the cost is $250.
To purchase a seat or table, please email Travis@mydiamonddawgs.com or contact team owner Travis Heiser at call (315) 985-0692.
Stay tuned as we announce will be announcing more inductees by visiting our website www.mydiamonddawgs.com or by social media on Facebook and Twitter @MVDiamondDawgs.