Vermont Mountaineers standout Ryan Murphy collected a prestigious award Tuesday in honor of another great pitcher at Montpelier Recreation Field.
Murphy was named Robin Roberts Best Starting Pitcher on Tuesday when New England Collegiate Baseball League Commissioner Sean McGrath announced the annual End-of-Year Awards.
The league leader in earned run average (2.25), Murphy — a right-hander from Le Moyne College — finished with a 5-2 overall record and dazzled with 55 strikeouts over 48 innings while yielding 12 walks and posting a WHIP of 1.17. He finished one win shy of the league lead while ranking fourth in total strikeouts and tied for fourth in games started (eight), as well as second in innings pitched (48).
Vermont teammate Austin Gauthier was named to the First Team at the shortstop position. Pitchers Alec Huertas and Nick Gennaro made the Second Team.
Top Pro Prospect
Terry “TT” Bowens (Mystic/CCSU)
The league leader in home runs (16) and RBIs (53), Bowens set a new league single-season record in the latter category, helping Mystic finish in third place in the Southern Division. He owned a .331 batting average for the summer on 52 hits in 157 at-bats while ranking fourth in the league with 41 runs scored, second in total bases (109), tied for first in extra-base hits (25) and first in slugging percentage (.694). The rising junior at CCSU had nine doubles on the year and drew 20 walks.
Christopher Ashmos 10th Player Award
Joey Porricelli (North Adams/Merrimack)
A second-year impact player in North Adams, Porricelli — who has starred at Merrimack entering his senior season — did a bit of everything for the SteepleCats, which led the North Division for much of the regular season. His 23 stolen bases were tied for second most in the league. He played primarily at short but also spent time at second and third base while batting .272 for the summer with 40 hits, 38 runs scored, four doubles, two triples, four homers and 27 RBIs while drawing 21 walks.
Best Defensive Player
Nander De Sedas (Martha’s Vineyard/Florida State)
The Martha’s Vineyard and Florida State product was considered the finest defensive player in the New England League this summer. In 24 games played at shortstop, he committed only nine errors in 107 total chances, good for a .916 fielding percentage thanks to 29 putouts, 69 assists and 15 double plays started. He also played a game at second base and was perfect in four tries. Offensively, he contributed 29 hits and 25 runs scored in 120 at-bats with six doubles, a triple and three homers.
Joe Nathan Top Relief Pitcher
Aaron Haase (Upper Valley/Wichita State)
No player in the New England League boasted more saves than Haase this summer, as the Wichita State righty logged nine stops and two relief wins to represent the league’s top-ranked relief pitcher. He saw action in 17 games, one shy of the league lead by any pitcher, and finished with an overall record of 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA over 20-2/3 innings with 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in that span.
Rookie of the Year
David Beam (Mystic/East Tennessee State)
Another Mystic major award-winner, Beam certainly shined bright in his first New England League circuit, ranking in the top 10 in batting average with a .357 clip. The East Tennessee State product mashed 46 hits in 129 at-bats with 35 runs, three homers and 26 RBIs in 36 games. He also ranked fifth in the league with a .444 on-base percentage.
Cole Frederick (Upper Valley/Jacksonville State)
The Jacksonville State phenom put together a season for the ages at the plate, leading the NECBL with a .396 batting average that threatened the single-season record for parts of the campaign. Not only that: Frederick was a triple crown threat with eight homers and 38 RBIs, ranking in the top eight in both categories. His 61 total hits paced all NECBL players, while his 102 total bases were good for third in the league. He also had three triples, one shy of the league lead, and finished with a 1.106 OPS thanks to a slash line of .396/.444/.662, with the latter two statistics ranking in the top five in the league.
Most Improved Player
Sam Cochrane (Winnipesaukee/Eckerd)
After batting just .207 with 17 hits in 30 games during his first season with Winnipesaukee a summer ago, Cochrane returned to the NECBL and made incredible strides this year, batting .352 — good for the seventh-best average in the league — with 56 hits, also a top-five figure. The rising senior at Eckerd scored 34 runs and drove in 38 more while tacking on 10 doubles, a triple and six home runs en route to posting a 0.968 OPS.
Joel Cooney Manager of the Year
Jay Mendez (Martha’s Vineyard/Curry College)
Few could have drawn up the incredible summer that Martha’s Vineyard enjoyed in its first season in the New England League, but Mendez’s Sharks caught fire in the month of July and rode that streak to the top of the NECBL Southern Division. In his first year managing in the New England League, Mendez guided the Sharks to the best regular season record by any team in the league and earned them a No. 1 seed in the postseason, where they fought valiantly on the way to finishing as the league runner-up in a hotly contested championship series against Keene. Martha’s Vineyard sat a game under .500 in late June before winning 14-of-15 games — including 11 straight — to help seal the division crown.
Umpire of the Year
Anthony Letizio (United Collegiate Umpires)