FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Center Valley, Pa. – Lafayette senior catcher A.J. Miller and Bucknell junior starting pitcher Ryan Ebner had never received an All-Patriot League selection coming into the season, but each student-athlete stood out during the 2011 campaign to take home the Patriot League Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Year honors, respectively, as the sport’s major awards and All-Patriot League teams were announced on Tuesday.
The other two major awards went to regular-season champion Navy, with freshman outfielder/pitcher Taylor Cato named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and Paul Kostacopoulos taking home the Patriot League Coach of the Year award for the first time.
Navy and Bucknell, which will meet in a Patriot League semifinal series over the weekend, led all schools with six student-athletes named to the All-Patriot League team. Army followed with five student-athletes on the list, and led the way with four on the first-team. That total included seniors Clint Moore and Ben Koenigsfeld, who became just the sixth and seventh players in Patriot League history to earn All-League honors in each of their four seasons. Lehigh had three student-athletes honored while Lafayette and Holy Cross each had a pair.
Miller has been at the top of the Patriot League and among the national leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging throughout the 2011 season. He held his average above .400 for most of the season, and will enter the Patriot League Tournament leading all players in batting average (.397), on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.731) for the season. He has matched a school record and sits second in the Patriot League with 12 home runs while leading the League with 52 RBIs. Miller’s numbers were equally strong in Patriot League action, as he hit half of his home runs and led the way in batting average (.418), on-base percentage (.512) and slugging percentage (.761). He becomes the third Lafayette student-athlete to win the Patriot League Player of the Year award, and first since Adam Rosenberg shared the honor in 2004.
Ebner completed an outstanding junior season for the Bison, posting a 6-1 record while leading the Patriot League with a 4.01 earned run average and a .229 opponents batting average. He was even better in five Patriot League starts, finishing with a 3-0 record while leading all starting pitchers with a 3.00 ERA and .230 opponents batting average. Ebner won a pair of Patriot League Pitcher of the Week honors in March. He is the fourth Bucknell student-athlete to win the Pitcher of the Year award, and first since Kevin Miller in 2003.
Cato produced at the plate and on the mound in his first season for the Mids. He batted .379 with 27 runs scored and 14 RBIs in 34 games, and hit at a .353 clip in 15 Patriot League contests. Cato finished the year with a 2-1 record on the mound while making six starts and eight appearances. He started three Patriot League contests with a 1-1 mark. Cato is the first Navy student-athlete to win the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award.
Kostacopoulos leads the Mids back to the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2008 to earn his first Patriot League Coach of the Year award. Picked to finish fifth in the preseason, Navy posted a 12-8 Patriot League record to finish in first place for the first time since 2002 and in sole possession of the top spot for the first time since 2000. Navy was the only team that did not lose a Patriot League series, as the Mids won three of four games from Holy Cross and Lehigh and split with Army, Bucknell and Lafayette. Navy racked up an 8-4 record on the road in Patriot League action. Navy stands just one win away from giving Kostacopoulos a fifth 30-win campaign in six seasons in Annapolis.
The first-team All-Patriot League pitching staff consists of Ebner, Holy Cross junior starting pitcher Ryan Pedrotty and Navy senior reliever Wes Olson. Pedrotty led all Patriot Leaguers with seven wins (7-2) while pitching to a 4.62 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 60.1 innings for the season. Olson went 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA for the season and finished second in Patriot League action in ERA (1.54) and first in opponents batting average (.205).
Miller is joined by a star-studded cast on the first-team All-Patriot League infield. Bucknell senior first baseman Doug Shribman became the all-time Patriot League home run king early in the year and enters the postseason with a League-high 16 home runs and 49 RBIs for the 2011 campaign. He led all players in home runs (8) and RBIs (26) in Patriot League games. The rest of the infield comes from Army, with Moore at shortstop accompanied by junior second baseman Zach Price and senior third baseman Steve May. Moore concludes one of the most impressive careers in League annals by batting .268 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs for the season, becoming the all-time Patriot League RBI leader in the process. He hit .297 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in League contests. Price led Army with a .340 batting average for the season and was second in the Patriot League with a .482 on-base percentage. May had the top batting average in Patriot League games with a .437 mark.
Koenigsfeld is one of four seniors in the first-team outfield, where he is joined by Nick Ciardiello (Holy Cross), Drew Constable (Bucknell) and Rob Froio (Lafayette). Koenigsfeld hits at a .305 clip for the season with six home runs and 32 RBIs. Ciardiello concluded his senior year by batting .345 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs, with each mark in the top five in the Patriot League. Constable bats .318 with four home runs and 22 RBIs for the Bison, while Froio hits at .324 for the Leopards. Navy sophomore Dave Milanes completes the first team at the designated hitter spot after batting .311 and placing third in the Patriot League with 46 RBIs.
The second-team All-Patriot League pitching staff includes Navy senior Sam Long (4-4, 4.42 ERA) and sophomore Johnny Schoberl (5-1, 4.73 ERA) as the starters and Bucknell junior Alex Cillo (3-1, 2.37 ERA) as the reliever after leading all pitchers with a 0.74 ERA in League action. The infield includes Army junior catcher J.T. Watkins (.279 avg., 24 RBIs), Navy sophomore first baseman Greg Dupell (.317 avg, 7 HR, 34 RBIs, 44 runs) and senior second baseman Nick Driscoll (.268 avg., 24 RBIs, 37 runs) and Lehigh seniors Brendan McGaheran (.317 avg., 19 steals) at shortstop and Kevin Mihalik (.355 avg., 4 HR, 27 RBIs) at third base. Bucknell junior Bob Donato (.286 avg., 10 HR, 33 RBIs) and Lehigh senior Billy Goldman (.358 avg., 3 HR, 24 RBIs) are in the outfield with Bucknell junior Matt Lamore (.293, 4 HR, 19 RBIs) as the designated hitter.
Moore becomes just the third Patriot League student-athlete to receive first-team All-Patriot League honors in each of his four seasons, joining former West Point cadets Nick Hill (2004-07) and Cole White (2005-08). Koenigsfeld also joins the above trio as the only players with four total first-team All-Patriot League selections, as he made the first-team as both a pitcher and outfielder in 2009.
Shribman finishes his career with a third All-Patriot League selection, and second straight on the first team. Price, Ciardiello and Mihalik all received their second All-Patriot League nod.
The 2011 Patriot League Baseball Tournament begins with the semifinal round this weekend. In best-of-three series, No. 4 Bucknell visits No. 1 Navy and No. 3 Lafayette is at No. 2 Army. Each series features a doubleheader on Saturday and decisive third game, if necessary, on Sunday and can be seen via Patriot League All-Access. The winners will move on to the Patriot League Baseball Championship series at the site of the highest remaining seed.
2011 All-Patriot League Baseball Team
Player of the Year: A.J. Miller, Lafayette, Sr.
Pitcher of the Year: Ryan Ebner, Bucknell, Jr.
Rookie of the Year: Taylor Cato, Navy, Fr.
Coach of the Year: Paul Kostacopoulos, Navy
First-Team All-Patriot League
SP: Ryan Ebner, Bucknell (Jr.); John Pedrotty, Holy Cross (Jr.)
RP: Wes Olson, Navy (Sr.)
C: A.J. Miller, Lafayette (Sr.)
1B: Doug Shribman, Bucknell (Sr.)
2B: Zach Price, Army (Jr.)
SS: Clint Moore, Army (Sr.)
3B: Steve May, Army (Sr.)
OF: Ben Koenigsfeld, Army (Sr.); Drew Constable, Bucknell (Sr.); Nick Ciardiello, Holy Cross (Sr.); Rob Froio, Lafayette (Sr.)
DH: Dave Milanes, Navy (So.)
Second-Team All-Patriot League
SP: Sam Long, Navy (Sr.); Johnny Schoberl, Navy (So.)
RP: Alex Cillo, Bucknell (Jr.)
C: J.T. Watkins, Army (Jr.)
1B: Greg Dupell, Navy (So.)
2B: Nick Driscoll, Navy (Sr.)
SS: Brendan McGaheran, Lehigh (Sr.)
3B: Kevin Mihalik, Lehigh (Sr.)
OF: Bob Donato, Bucknell (Jr.); Billy Goldman, Lehigh (Sr.)
DH: Matt Lamore, Bucknell (Jr.)