I came across this story from Seton Hall Media Relations on incoming freshman David Bachner who was found dead at his home in Plainsboro on August 11th. According to a report from The Star-Ledger, Bachner was diagnosed with a heart condition in June as a doctor was giving him a physical for Seton Hall. He ended up wearing a heart monitor for a couple of games. He was expected to become an instant contributor to the Pirates rotation as Seton Hall gave him a full scholarship for next season. He finished his high school career with a 17-3 record with a 1.50 ERA and 236 strikeouts. You can check out a Star-Ledger report on him by clicking here. You can check out the press release from Seton Hall which is posted below.
When David Bachner, an 18-year-old incoming freshman on the Seton Hall baseball team, passed away in his home on August 11, Pirates’ head coach Rob Sheppard knew he didn’t just lose a pitcher on the field, but a young man who lived life to the fullest and had the respect of everyone he met.
"David was full of enthusiasm and energy," said Sheppard. "When giving the eulogy, his brother said it best. ‘David lived more in his 18 years than people live in their lifetimes.’ Everything he did was because he loved life and I definitely saw that in my brief experiences with him."
The most popular student at West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School and a left-hander pitcher with what coaches called "major league talent" had all the tools to become a favorite in a Pirates uniform.
"He was one of those guys that wanted the ball and relished being the center of competition," noted Sheppard. "He had great control of the game, handled himself like a winner, and never backed away when the game got tough."
And combining his toughness and control to his quality of pitches made Seton Hall pitching coach Phil Cundari believe he would have competed for a starting position in the Pirates’ weekend rotation.
"All of his pitches were above average," Cundari said. "He overwhelmed high school hitters with the location and movement of his fastball, and complimented it with a good change-up and breaking ball."
A breaking ball that made Sheppard and Cundari draw comparisons to a former Pirate now in the minor leagues. Corey Young was drafted in the 12th round by the Texas Rangers in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft following a three-year career in which the southpaw started 34 games for the Pirates.
"David’s breaking ball was similar to Corey’s because of how electric it could be at times, but he was also similar because of his competiveness and emotions on the mound," noted Sheppard. Cundari agreed while adding, "He had a similar type of body build which would have developed and gotten stronger."
Throughout his four years at WW-P North, Bachner set career records with 17 victories, a 1.50 ERA, and 236 strikeouts, including an MVP-caliber senior season.
During his final campaign, he posted a 9-2 record with a 0.97 ERA. The 2009 Colonial Valley Conference Player of the Year, he tossed five complete games, three shutouts, picked up two saves, and struck out a conference record 125 batters in 64.2 innings of work. Yet, Bachner remained grounded and understood it was all about the team winning.
There was no better time to help his team win than on May 30 in the Central Jersey Group III Championship game against Red Bank Regional. Bachner took the mound – the day after his senior prom – and combined to toss a two-hitter with two other teammates to give WW-P a, 9-1, victory.
"He wasn’t about the statistics; he was about the team winning," added Sheppard. "Last season, his numbers were ridiculous, but when we called him to see how he did, he never gave stats. He would always say, ‘The team won. I pitched five innings and felt pretty good.’ It wasn’t until his Dad e-mailed us a newspaper article talking about a perfect game or a game when he had 17 strikeouts."
Following graduation and the end of his high school career, Bachner set his sights on his summer team’s success.
While playing for West Windsor-Plainsboro American Legion, Bachner was shut down from pitching – after improving his record to 2-0 with a four-hit, nine-strikeout complete game win over Hopewell 339 on July 3. However, he filled in the roster as a designated hitter, first baseman, or even as a bullpen catcher to keep other pitcher’s loose in helping his club to come within one game of advancing to the state’s Final Eight.
"Whether on the mound or in the dugout, David was always in the game," Sheppard noted. "He would do whatever he could to help his team win that day. You could hear him on the bench picking up his teammates and cheering them on, showing he was always in their corner. He was a quality young man."
A quality that will certainly be missed by the Seton Hall Pirates.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE DILL/FOR THE TIMES OF TRENTON