Trinity's Papa Named Player of the Year
HADLEY, Mass. - Trinity senior Joe Papa has been chosen by the conference coaches as the NESCAC Player of the Year. Papa is Trinity's first Player of the Year since 2010 and fifth overall, the most from any institution. The Bantams finished atop the NESCAC East standings for the third consecutive year, compiling a record of 8-4 in conference action and 21-19 overall record.
In addition to being named Player of the Year, Papa was selected to the All-Conference First Team for the second time in his career, also earning First Team recognition in 2011. Papa batted a career-high .386, which ranks second in the conference and is first in the NESCAC with a .487 on base percentage. He sits among the league leaders in numerous other categories with 25 walks (2nd), a .559 slugging percentage (3rd), three home runs (T-3rd), 11 doubles (T-6th), 49 hits (7th), 25 RBI (T-9th), and 31 runs (T-9th). Papa also played first base extremely well, recording a .992 fielding percentage in 257 chances.
Joining Papa on the First Team from the Bantams are seniors Alex Almeida and Stephen Rogers, giving Trinity three representatives amongst First Teamers, most of any school. Rogers is making his third appearance on the All-Conference team, with a First Team selection last year and Second Team honors in 2010. Rogers is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the conference, leading the NESCAC with five home runs and ranking third with 34 RBI and 13 doubles. His .471 slugging percentage and 36 hits are both third-best on the Bantams. Almeida has shown his speed on the base paths this spring, ranking first with 39 runs, second with 16 doubles and third with 60 hits. He is second on the team with a .380 batting average and has driven in 22 runs.
NESCAC champion Amherst placed two members on the First Team, including the NESCAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year. Senior Bob Cook, who was the NESCAC Player of the Year in 2012, showed how dominant he could be on the mound this season. Cook is a three-time All-Conference honoree, garnering First Team status in each of the past two years and Second Team following his rookie campaign. In addition to his 5-2 record, Cook has posted a NESCAC-low 0.95 earned run average with two complete games and 39 strikeouts in 66.2 innings, while yielding a batting average against of just .180. He has also continued to perform at the plate, batting .391 and reaching base at a .506 clip, with a pair of doubles and triples and a homer in just 86 plate appearances. Rookie of the Year Mike Odenwaelder earned a spot on the First Team as the only first year on either team. Odenwaelder has enjoyed a stellar debut season, leading all NESCAC players with a .569 slugging percentage and five triples. He ranks first in the Amherst lineup in just about every major offensive category, tallying 35 runs, eight doubles, three home runs, 25 RBI, all while batting a team-best .350.
Wesleyan and Bates matched Amherst with two players apiece making the First Team. The Cardinals, NESCAC Runners-Up, had a pair of sophomores on the team in Andrew Yin and Donnie Cimino. Cimino, who was elevated from last year's Second Team, proved to be one of the top hitters in the league, leading the NESCAC with a .399 batting average, 69 hits, 84 total bases and 38 RBI. His on base percentage of .467 ranks third in the NESCAC and 35 runs is tied for fifth. Cimino drew 17 walks, which led the team, and recorded 11 doubles and 10 stolen bases, both one behind the team leader. Yin was consistent all season long, as seen by his 29-game hit streak during the season and compiling hits in 36 of 41 outings. The second baseman is second in the conference with 67 hits and 38 runs, while sitting fourth in the NESCAC with 32 RBI and fifth with a .381 batting average. Yin had more at bats than any other player in the conference with 176, yet struck out only 12 times.
Ryan Sonberg of Bates returned to the First Team after a one-year hiatus. The shortstop was the offensive leader for the Bobcats, batting a team-high .355, while also ranking first on the team with 50 hits and 30 runs. Sonberg chipped in with 11 doubles, two home runs and a slugging percentage of .489, all good for second-best on the team. In addition to Sonberg, sophomore catcher Mekae Hyde is making his first appearance on the All-Conference team. After a solid rookie season, Hyde picked up where he left off, putting together a .324 batting average, 33 hits, 17 RBI and a .471 slugging percentage, while leading the team with three home runs.
Bowdoin senior Oliver Van Zant is no stranger to the NESCAC First Team, making his third visit. Van Zant was twice named Pitcher of the Year (2010, 2012), while collecting Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. In a year dominated by pitchers, Van Zant continued showing why he was one of the top hurlers in the league throughout his career. Van Zant (4-3) finished the season with his lowest earned run average yet at 1.19. He tossed three complete games in eight outings, but his highlight of the year is throwing Bowdoin's fifth no-hitter in a 7-0 win against NESCAC-rival Colby. Van Zant leads all pitchers with 57 strikeouts and has a batting average against of .181.
Rounding out the First Team is Hamilton senior Gabe Klein. Klein is only the second Continental to be named to the NESCAC First Team and first to be honored on the All-Conference team twice. His other appearanHis other appearance was on the 2012 Second Team. Klein ranks at or near the top of the NESCAC leaders with 30 walks (1st), four home runs (2nd), a .471 on base percentage (2nd), a .561 slugging percentage (2nd), 13 doubles (T-3rd) and 12 stolen bases (T-8th). Klein led Hamilton with a .341 batting average and was also tied for the team-lead with 42 hits and 22 RBI.
Amherst junior Taiki Kasuga (New York, N.Y.) was named the Defensive Player of Year. A shortstop and member of the Second Team, Kasuga posted a fielding percentage of .940 in 184 chances, turning 12 double plays in the process. His 119 assists ranks third in the NESCAC and the 12 double plays are 10th. Kasuga is the second straight Jeff to win the award, with classmate Mike Samela taking home the honor in 2012.
For the second time in his career, Wesleyan head coach Mark Woodworth was voted as the Coach of the Year by his peers. Woodworth last earned the honor in 2002 when the Cardinals won 10 conference games. Woodworth brought Wesleyan to its first NESCAC finals appearance in program history. After finishing in third place with a .500 conference mark each of the past two seasons, Wesleyan earned the right to host the conference tournament for the first time when Woodworth led the Cardinals to a first place finish in the NESCAC West with a 9-3 record in conference play and a 25-15-1 overall record. The 25 overall wins is the most since the Cardinals won 30 games in 1994.
Baseball All-Conference Teams