Maine Takes Home Three Major Awards After Winning Regular-Season Title
LOWELL, Mass. — After capturing its first America East Baseball regular-season title since 2002, the University of Maine earned three of the four conference major awards, the conference office announced Tuesday night. The awards were determined by a vote by the league’s six head coaches who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Maine shortstop Michael Fransoso became the fourth Black Bear to capture the Len Harlow Player of the Year award. Teammate Tommy Lawrence, a junior right-hander, was a unanimous selection as Pitcher of the Year and head coach Steve Trimper was named Coach of the Year. Joining the three Black Bears is Stony Brook freshman outfielder Jack Parenty, who is the fourth-straight Seawolf to earn Rookie of the Year accolades.
Fransoso is the first Maine player since Curt Smith in 2008 to be named Player of the Year. He finished third in the conference with a .356 batting average while leading the league in runs scored with 41 and RBI with 45. The Portsmouth, N.H., native totaled 16 doubles during the season and was second in the America East in both slugging percentage (.508) and on-base percentage (.435). Fransoso finished with a league high 97 total bases and stole 19 bases on 23 attempts. The senior also was impressive in the field, committing only 16 errors in 275 chances for a .942 fielding percentage at shortstop and earned his second selection to the all-conference first team.
Lawrence broke the conference record for most wins during America East play with eight to become the sixth Black Bear to be named Pitcher of the Year. A unanimous selection, Lawrence enters the conference championship 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 90.1 innings of work. The junior has been even better in conference play, going 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA which ranks second in the league. Lawrence held conference opponents to a .231 batting average and issued just 13 free passes compared to 49 strikeouts.
Parenty started 49 of Stony Brook’s 53 games and led the team with a .348 batting average to become the fourth-straight Seawolf to earn Rookie of the Year honors. The freshman ranked third in the conference in league play with a .358 average while scoring a conference-best 23 runs. Parenty did not commit an error in 69 chances and also had a .390 on-base percentage, 17 RBI and 69 total hits.
Trimper earned his first America East Coach of the Year honor of his career, leading Maine to its first regular-season crown since 2002 and third overall. He has guided the Black Bears to their best conference record since 2001 and third 30-win season in the last four years. Under Trimper’s guidance, Maine leads the conference in team batting average, runs scored, hits, walks, stolen bases, team ERA, opponent batting average against and ranks second in fielding percentage.
Fransoso and Lawrence are unanimous first-team all-conference selections, while Parenty was the lone freshman. Joining Lawrence on the first team starting pitching staff are Stony Brook junior Frankie Vanderka, who also was voted on unanimously, along with Binghamton senior Jay Lynch and Hartford sophomore Sean Newcomb. Newcomb set a new conference strikeout record with 79 during America East play. UMBC junior Jon Cohn earned the nod as the first-team all-conference reliever, while Stony Brook’s Kevin Courtney is the first-team all-conference first baseman after leading the league with six home runs during conference play. Binghamton junior Daniel Nevares earned the selection at second base. Maine third baseman Eric White, Albany outfielder Josh Nethaway and Binghamton outfielder Jake Thomas and designated hitter Shaun McGraw each were unanimous selections by the coaches.
Maine catcher Mike Connolly put his named into the record books, becoming the first player to earn all-conference honors at two different positions. Connolly is a first-team all-conference catcher and a second-team all-conference pitcher.
Joining Connolly on the second team pitching staff are a trio of seniors in Albany’s Austin Chase and Kasceim Graham and Binghamton’s Jake Lambert. Stony Brook freshman Tim Knesnik earned the reliever spot, while teammate Anthony Italiano is behind the plate. Around the infield is Albany first baseman Greg Muller, Maine second baseman Troy Black, UMBC shortstop Kevin Lachance and Stony Brook third baseman Johnn Caputo. A pair of Black Bears highlight the outfield in sophomores Brian Doran and Sam Balzano joined by Albany junior Nolan Gaige. UMBC junior Brandon Coluccio rounded out the team at designated hitter.
Five players were unanimously selected to the All-Rookie team, led by three from Stony Brook including Parenty, Knesnik and starting pitcher Daniel Zamora. UMBC shortstop Lachance and pitcher Mike Gomez also were unanimously voted. Albany placed two players on the all-rookie team in Matt Hinchy and Ryan Stinar. Binghamton third baseman David Schanz and Hartford outfielder Chris DelDebbio were the final two selections.
Binghamton’s Thomas stands as the lone America East student-athlete to earn both all-conference and all-academic honors. The all-academic team also features Hartford juniors James Alfonso and Brian Hunter and sophomore Brady Sheetz, Binghamton sophomore Nick Pacerella, junior Brian Ruby and senior Jordon Smucker, Maine junior Colin Gay, and Stony Brook junior Brandon McNitt.
The 2013 America East Baseball Championship gets underway on Wednesday, May 22 at 4 p.m. and will conclude on Friday, May 24, with Saturday, May 25 available in case of weather or an if necessary game at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.. The tournament champion will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
Rookie of the Year
Jack Parenty, Stony Brook
Pitcher of the Year
Tommy Lawrence, Maine*
Player of the Year
Michael Fransoso, Maine
Coach of the Year
Steve Trimper, Maine
* Denotes unanimous selection