June 21, 2012

2012 ECAC Division III New England Baseball All-Stars Released

CENTERVILLE, Mass.—The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) on Thursday announced its 2012 Division III New England Baseball All-Star Team. Receiving individual awards, Matt LaBranche of Western New England University is the ECAC Coach of the Year, Western Connecticut State University outfielder Conor Bierfeldt is the Player of the Year, Brendan Nugent from Western New England is the ECAC Pitcher of the Year and Wheaton College’s Apolinar De la Cruz is the ECAC Rookie of the Year.

LaBranche repeats as the ECAC New England coach of the year after leading the Golden Bears back to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship – falling one win shy of returning to the College World Series. Western New England finished 38-13 overall, including a 15-1 record for first place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, won its fifth CCC championship and earned a top-25 national ranking in two major polls. The CCC Coach of the Year who completed his 13th season at the helm is the program’s all-time leader in victories and winning percentage.

Bierfeldt had an outstanding junior campaign in which he made first-team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and D3baseball.com. He finished the season with a .430 batting average while leading the Little East Conference with 10 home runs. He added 61 hits, including 16 doubles and six triples, while scoring 48 runs and driving in 50 runs. He was named the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Northeast Region Player of the Year, too.

A sophomore, Nugent earned CCC Pitcher-of-the-Year accolades in his first season in the rotation. He compiled a 10-1 record and 1.79 earned-run average with 55 strikeouts in 85.2 innings of work – leading the WNEU staff in all categories. Opponents batted only .246 against the first-team All-CCC choice. 

De la Cruz was impressive in his freshman season as the first baseman claimed the inaugural D3baseball.com Rookie of the Year while placing on the Honorable Mention All-American Team for that organization. Named the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year, De la Cruz led the team in both runs batted in (46) and on-base percentage (.443), and ranked second in batting average (.376), hits (76), and slugging pct (.455). A NEWMAC First Team selection, De la Cruz was also selected to the NEIBA Third Team.

The head coaches, or his designee, within the ECAC membership voted on the teams and individual awards. Individual ECAC award recipients were considered after they won their player-, coach-, rookie- or pitcher of the year nod from within their primary conference.

2012 ECAC Division III New England Baseball All-Stars

Player of the Year

Conor Bierfeldt, OF, Jr., Western Connecticut State University (Little East Conference)

Pitcher of the Year

Brendan Nugent, So., Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

Rookie of the Year

Apolinar De la Cruz, 1B, Fr., Wheaton College (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference)                  

Coach of the Year

Matt LaBranche, Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

First Team

First Base: Joe Balowski, Jr., Eastern Connecticut State University (Little East Conference)

Second Base: Tim Clark, Jr., Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

Shortstop: Kyle Allaire, Sr., Rhode Island College (Little East Conference)  

Third Base: Mike Rubino, Jr., Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

Catcher: Todd Tompkins, Jr., Becker College (New England Collegiate Conference)

Designated Hitter: Tucker White, Jr., University of Southern Maine (Little East Conference)

Outfield: Kyle Morrill, Sr., Keene State College (Little East Conference)

Outfield: Erik Bergstrom, Sr., Keene State College (Little East Conference)

Outfield: Conor Bierfeldt, Jr., Western Connecticut State University (Little East Conference)

Utility: Jeff Scafidi, Sr., Anna Maria College (Great Northeast Athletic Conference)

Pitcher: Brendan Nugent, So., Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

Pitcher: Tyler Erickson, Sr., Castleton State College (North Eastern Athletic Conference – East Div.)

Second Team

First Base: Apolinar De la Cruz, Fr., Wheaton College (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conf.)   

Second Base: Sean Riley, Jr., Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conf.)   

Shortstop: Stephen Rogers, Jr., Trinity College (New England Small College Athletic Conference)

Third Base: Kevin Salines, Jr., Salem State University (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conf.)              

Catcher: Mike Samela, Sr., Amherst College (New England Small College Athletic Conference)

Designated Hitter: Brett Cahill, So., Salem State University (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conf.)

Outfield: Sean Ryan, Jr., Wheaton College (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conf.)

Outfield: Matt Anthonis, Jr., Western New England University (Commonwealth Coast Conference)

Outfield: Kevin Wodatch, Jr., Anna Maria College (Great Northeast Athletic Conference)

Utility: Pat Nicholson, Gr., Brandeis University (University Athletic Association)      

Pitcher: Chad Rafferty, Jr., Saint Joseph's College [Maine] (Great Northeast Athletic Conference)

Pitcher: Alec Palioca, So., Wheaton College (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conf.)