Player of the Year Served to Amherst's Cook
HADLEY, Mass. – Amherst junior Bob Cook (Winnetka, Ill.) has been selected by the conference coaches as the NESCAC Player of the Year. It's the second year in a row that a member of the Lord Jeffs has come away with the league's top honor, after senior teammate Mike Samela took home the award last spring. Cook helped Amherst repeat as the top team in the West Division, as the Jeffs went 10-2 in NESCAC play and 23-10 overall.
Cook was masterful for the Jeffs both on the mound and at the plate this season. From the rubber, the right-handed Cook earned a 5-0 record over seven starts with a 2.51 ERA and an opponents' average of .244. He struck out 33 batters while allowing just seven walks (4.71 K/BB) in 46.2 innings of work. In the batter's box, Cook posted a .380 average with a .505 on-base percentage, connecting for 30 hits, six of which were doubles, and scoring 21 runs while driving in 38. When not on the mound, Cook was stationed at first base and recorded a .987 fielding percentage on 230 chances, helping turn 14 double plays. An All-NESCAC Second Team selection in 2010, Cook added First Team recognition to his postseason honors.
Cook was one of three Lord Jeffs on the All-Conference First Team. Joining Cook were seniors Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Mike Samela (Westport, Conn.). Heller distinguished himself as All-NESCAC in both baseball and football during his last season at Amherst. The 2009 baseball Rookie of the Year, Heller received All-Conference for the third time in four years as he finished second among his teammates in batting with a .374 average and a .474 on-base percentage. He walks away from Amherst with the program's all-time hits record. Samela was appointed to the First Team for the third consecutive season, as he led the Jeffs with a .380 average, 46 hits, 30 runs scored, and 33 driven in. A consistent performer at the plate over the past three years, the 2011 NESCAC Player of the Year was also singled out as the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year. He committed only one error on 143 chances (.993) and caught seven base runners stealing.
Among the 12 individuals honored on the All-NESCAC First Team, eight came from the East Division, as all five teams had a representative on the league's top squad. NESCAC champion Trinity placed three players on the First Team with senior Kevin Mortimer (Spencer, Mass.) along with juniors Stephen Rogers (Teaneck, N.J.) and Michael Rueger (Cranston, R.I.) all earning honors. A repeat First Team selection, Mortimer owns a .326 average with 10 doubles and six home runs (.533 slugging) along with a team-best 36 runs driven in. Rogers, who was previously recognized on the 2010 Second Team, currently leads the Bantams at the dish with a .392 average, collecting 56 hits (2nd NESCAC), five doubles, five triples, and six home runs for a .622 slugging mark. Rogers also boasts a 13-for-13 stolen base mark. Rueger garnered his first All-NESCAC accolade, as he heads into this week's NCAA Tournament action third among his teammates in batting average with a .351 mark, stroking a Bantam-best 15 doubles.
Maine rivals Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby each had one individual selected to the First Team. Headlining the trio was junior hurler Oliver Van Zant (Westport, Conn.) from the Polar Bears. During his first season in the league back in 2010, Van Zant was honored as the NESCAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year along with All-NESCAC First Team recognition. Van Zant added his second Pitcher of the Year award this season, as he has scratched out a 2.20 ERA over 10 starts (5-2) with a .203 opponents average, 89 strikeouts (12.26 per 9 inn.), and two shutouts.
Representing the Mules was senior Mike Mastrocola (Southbury, Conn.). The first Colby player since 2007 to receive First Team plaudits, Mastrocola enjoyed the best year of his career with a .390 average, a .453 on-base percentage, and 34 runs driven in.
Sophomore Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.) had a breakout campaign for the Bobcats. Starting all 40 games, Tewksbury paced his team with a .375 average, a .482 on-base mark, and a .551 slugging percentage. The second baseman committed only six errors on 164 chances (.963) and helped turn 18 double plays.
Seniors Matt Collins (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Sam Sager (Cranston, R.I.) of Tufts both earned a promotion from the 2011 Second Team. Collins, the Defensive Player of the Year last season, was second for the Jumbos in average, batting .374 and slugging .561. Sager, chosen as All-NESCAC for the third year in a row, was one of only two everyday players in the league to finish with a .400 average. His performance over the year was not only a career best but also led the Jumbos for the second time during his tenure, as he put together a .362 showing at the plate over his four years.
Rounding out the All-NESCAC First Team was Wesleyan graduate student Joe Giaimo (Gillette, N.J.). One of only three individuals to return from last year's First Team, Giaimo wrapped up his career with the Cardinals hitting a personal best .388 with a .612 slugging percentage and .448 on-base mark. Fifth on Wesleyan's all-time hits list with 172, Giaimo led the NESCAC in hits (57), doubles (16), and runs batted in (51) this spring.
Trinity pitcher Sean Meekins (Rockville Center, N.Y.) grabbed Rookie of the Year honors. The right-handed Meekins has done well on the hill for the Bantams, going 7-0 over eight starts with a 2.03 ERA and a .200 opponents' average over 40.0 innings pitched. Only six of the 28 hits he's allowed have gone for extra bases.
Bowdoin's Mike Connolly was chosen by his counterparts as the NESCAC Coach of the Year. Now in his 14th season with the Polar Bears, Connolly has guided his squad to the program's second NCAA Tournament appearance following a third consecutive trip to the NESCAC title game. He was previously honored as Coach of the Year in 2004.
2012 NESCAC Baseball All-Conference Team
|DH||Matt Collins||Tufts||Sr.||Hopkinton, Mass.|
|P/1B||Bob Cook||Amherst||Jr.||Winnetka, Ill.|
|1B/OF||Joe Giaimo||Wesleyan||Gr.||Gillette, N.J.|
|OF/DH||Kevin Heller||Amherst||Sr.||Brooklyn, N.Y.|
|3B||Mike Mastrocola||Colby||Sr.||Southbury, Conn.|
|1B/C||Kevin Mortimer||Trinity||Sr.||Spencer, Mass.|
|SS/3B||Stephen Rogers||Trinity||Jr.||Watertown, Mass.|
|OF||Michael Rueger||Trinity||Jr.||Teaneck, N.J.|
|SS||Sam Sager||Tufts||Sr.||Cranston, R.I.|
|C/OF||Mike Samela||Amherst||Sr.||Westport, Conn.|
|2B||Griff Tewksbury||Bates||So.||Concord, N.H.|
|P||Oliver Van Zant||Bowdoin||Jr.||Westport, Conn.|
|1B||Robb Arndt||Colby||Sr.||Yarmouth, Maine|
|OF||Jason Buco||Colby||Fr.||Methuen, Mass.|
|OF||David Casanova||Trinity||Sr.||Bristol, Conn.|
|OF||Donnie Cimino||Wesleyan||Fr.||Westwood, N.J.|
|3B||Wade Hauser||Tufts||Fr.||Palo Alto, Calif.|
|1B/OF||Gabe Klein||Hamilton||Jr.||Mamaroneck, N.Y.|
|P||Harry Marino||Williams||Sr.||Westfield, N.J.|
|P||Christian Martin||Bowdoin||So.||Lake Forest, Ill.|
|3B||Adam Moossmann||Trinity||Fr.||East Northport, N.Y.|
|3B||Tom Rafferty||Middlebury||Jr.||Chicago, Ill.|
|C||Zachary Roeder||Middlebury||Sr.||Keene, N.H.|
|P||Tim Welch||Bowdoin||Sr.||Portsmouth, N.H.|
|Player of the Year|
|Pitcher of the Year|
|P||Oliver Van Zant
|Defensive Player of the Year|
|Rookie of the Year|
||Fr.||Rockville Center, N.Y.
|Coach of the Year|