Vermont Shortstop Duffy Takes Home Baseball's Top Annual Award

Release: 05/20/2009
Courtesy: America East Communications
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. University of Vermont sophomore shortstop Matt Duffy (Milton, Mass./St. Sebastian’s) is the 2009 recipient of the Len Harlow America East Baseball Player of the Year Award as announced by the conference office on Wednesday, May 20. Binghamton University, the top seed for the America East Championship, swept the other three top individual awards. Junior Murphy Smith (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) is the Pitcher of the Year, freshman first baseman David Ciocchi (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) is Rookie of the Year and Bearcats head coach Tim Sinicki was voted by his peers as Coach of the Year. All awards were determined by a vote of all seven head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for themselves or their own players.

Duffy, who was named to the All-Rookie Team a year ago, had a breakout season in which he led the league in nearly all offensive categories. He ranked first in batting average (.396), slugging percentage (.744), on-base percentage (.505), runs (53) and runs batted in (52), and finished second with 13 home runs on the season. The first-team all-conference shortstop was named Player of the Week a league-high three times in 2009. Duffy has set single-season school records for runs scored and total bases (122), and tied the mark for home runs and RBI. In America East games, the Catamount hit .390, including 10 of his 16 doubles. Duffy becomes the fourth Vermont player to capture Player of the Year and the first since 2006.

Smith, a right-handed hurler who stands at 6-3, 210 pounds, becomes the second Bearcat tabbed Pitcher of the Year in four seasons. He owned a 2.39 ERA and held opposing batters to just a .216 batting average this season, both marks tops in the conference. Smith finished the regular season with a 7-2 record, striking out 74 batters, 14 more than the next closest pitcher in the league leaders. Forty-four of his strikeouts came in six appearances (41.1 IP) against America East opponents. Smith was twice named Pitcher of the Week this season.

Ciocchi adjusted to the collegiate level quickly, especially at the plate, leading the conference with a .455 batting average in America East games. Overall, he hit for a .375 average, slugged .567 and reached base at a .434 clip, all among the league leaders. As the Bearcats’ starting first baseman, Ciocchi recorded 313 chances and 288 putouts in the field with a .974 fielding percentage. The rookie was named Player of the Week once and, most recently, Rookie of the Week for the last series of the regular season.

For the third time in his career, Sinicki is the America East Coach of the Year. Sinicki led the Bearcats to their third straight regular season title, the first time that has been accomplished in America East since former member Delaware won five straight regular season crowns from 1994-98. Binghamton enters the America East Championship as the number one seed, finishing with a 13-7 conference record and a 26-20 overall mark. Sinicki’s squad won or split five of the six America East series this year en route to their regular season championship.

Duffy and Smith each earned spots of the All-Conference First Team, along with starting pitchers Mike Errigo (Bayside, N.Y./Benjamin F. Cardozo) from Stony Brook and Keith Rakus (West Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy) and Justin Albert (Hull, Mass./Hull) from Vermont, relief pitcher Sean Gregory (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) from Albany, catcher Ryan Gugel (Batavia, N.Y./Batavia/Genesee CC) from Albany, first baseman Rob Dyer (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) from Stony Brook, second baseman Brad Brainer (Chester, Mc./Kent Island/Chesapeake JC) from UMBC, third baseman Kyle Klee (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) from Binghamton, outfielders Corey Taylor (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) from Binghamton, Kevin McAvoy (Brewer, Maine/Brewer) from Maine and Brian Witkowski (Lindenhurst, N.Y./Lindenhurst) from Stony Brook, and designated hitter Nick Thode (Huntington Station, N.Y./Walt Whitman) from Stony Brook.

Ciocchi was named as the second-team first baseman. Joining him on the second team are starting pitchers Dave Kubiak (Southhold, N.Y./Southhold) and Zack Kraham (Ghent, N.Y./Chatham) from Albany, Kevin Scanlan (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) from Maine and Tyler Johnson (Chatsworth, Calif./Crespi Carmelite) from Stony Brook, relief pitcher Greg Lane (Binghamton, N.Y./Hofstra Univ.) from Binghamton, catcher Myckie Lugbauer (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) from Maine, second baseman Chad Marshall (Paris, Ontario, Canada/Paris District) from Stony Brook, shortstop Tony Patane (New Milford, Conn./New Milford) from Maine, third baseman Jarrett Lukas (Old Town, Maine/Old Town) from Maine, outfielders Billy Cather (Worcester, Mass./Worcester Academy) from Maine, Michael Tansey (Valley Stream, N.Y./Holy Trinity) from Stony Brook and Mark Micowski (Haddam, Conn./Xavier) from Vermont, and designated hitter Justin Milo (Edina, Minn./Edina/Cornell) from Vermont.

The nine-member All-Rookie team, regardless of position, is made up of Kraham from Albany, Ciocchi and Mike Augliera (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge) from Binghamton, Ian Leisenheimer (Middle Village, N.Y./Peter Stuyvesant) and AJ Bazdanes (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) from Maine, Pat Cantwell (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip), Johnson and Nick Tropeano (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip) from Stony Brook, and Mike McCarthy (Wallingford, Conn./Lyman Hall) from Vermont

Twenty-five of this year’s honorees will compete this week for the 2009 America East Baseball Championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Baseball Championship. This year’s tournament will be hosted by Binghamton at Peter Sylvester Field in Endicott, N.Y. Second-seeded Albany and third-seeded Stony Brook will throw the first pitch of the tournament Thursday, May 21 at 4 p.m., while Binghamton and fourth-seeded Vermont will play in the second game at 8 p.m. The four-team, double-elimination tournament will run through Saturday, May 23, or Sunday, May 24 if a game seven is necessary.

America East Baseball Championship Tickets are $7 for adults , $3 for youth under 14, and $2 for America East students with proper ID.