May 6, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The four teams who made the 2014 Patriot League Baseball Tournament combined to take 22 of the 26 spots on the sport's All-Patriot League Team announced on Tuesday, while two squads who will meet in a semifinal series this weekend grabbed all of the major awards.
Navy will travel to Bucknell in a semifinal series that will feature each Patriot League major award winner. Senior Kash Manzelli became Navy's first Patriot League Player of the Year since 1998, while junior Anthony Parenti earned the school's first Pitcher of the Year honor since 2006. Bucknell freshman outfielder Brett Smith claimed the Rookie of the Year award, while Scott Heather was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in his second season for the Bison.
Regular-season co-champions Bucknell and Army led the way with six All-Patriot League selections, with five for the Bison coming on the first team. Navy and Lehigh each had five All-Patriot League picks, with the Mids placing four on the first team. Holy Cross and Lafayette each notched a pair of All-Patriot League selections.
The major awards and All-Patriot League honors were voted on by Patriot League head coaches, who could not select their own student-athletes or themselves.
Manzelli batted .302 for the season and led the Patriot League with 37 RBIs while standing in the top five on the League leaderboard in doubles (11) and home runs (3). He was even better in League action, placing third in batting average (.357), fifth in on-base percentage (.425), second in slugging (.500), first in RBIs (18), third in hits (25) and first in total bases (35).
Manzelli earned the Patriot League Player of the Week award on April 14 after going 11-for-23 with two home runs and six RBIs in six games. He also received All-Patriot League recognition for the second year in a row. Manzelli is Navy's first Patriot League Player of the Year since Toph Lake in 1998.
In a season dominated by pitching, Parenti had one of the best years not only in the Patriot League but in the entire country. The junior southpaw leads the Patriot League and stands third in the nation with a 0.93 ERA for the season, and also ranks 13th in the nation with a 0.86 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). Parenti is in line to break the Patriot League single-season ERA record of 1.21 set by Army's Nick Hill in 2005, and has an 8-2 record for the year with 71 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched. He only gave up six extra-base hits for the season, all doubles, and leads the Patriot League with a .188 batting average against. Parenti tossed a pair of shutouts in Patriot League games and went 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA in League action. He was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week three times. Parenti is Navy's first Patriot League Pitcher of the Year since Mitch Harris in 2006.
Smith had a strong rookie campaign for the Bison, leading all Patriot League freshmen and placing eighth in the League overall with a .313 batting average. He was fifth in the Patriot League with a .414 on-base percentage, second with 35 runs scored and tied for second with 20 walks. Smith cranked his game up in Patriot League play, finishing second in batting average (.366), third in on-base percentage (.444), tied for first in runs scored (16) and second in hits (26) during League play to help the Bison finish with a 15-5 record. Smith is the second straight Bison to claim the award after teammate Andrew Andreychik was named Rookie of the Year last season, and fourth in the 13-year history of the honor.
Heather was promoted from his assistant position to replace the legendary Gene Depew before the 2013 season, and in his second year as the manager led Bucknell to tie its best record in Patriot League play. Bucknell went 15-5 for the third time in school history, joining the teams from 1999 and 2003, and earned at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season title for the first time since 2009 and seventh overall. The Bison led the way in team batting average (.266) and ERA (2.29) during Patriot League action, and saw their top three starting pitchers combine to go 12-2 with eight complete games and three shutouts in League play. Bucknell opened the year at 7-0 in the Patriot League, and won four of its five League series while splitting the other at Army. Heather claims Bucknell's first Patriot League Coach of the Year award since 2009 and fifth overall after Depew won the honor four times in his career.
Fifteen players made the first-team All-Patriot League squad because of ties in the voting, and it was fitting in a year of strong pitching that each of the four starting pitchers on the list made the top team. Bucknell's Dan Weigel went 5-0 in Patriot League play and led all players with a 1.10 ERA in League action, while Army's Gunnar Carroll (4-1, 1.85 ERA) and Nick Dignacco (3-1, 2.16 ERA) were each outstanding in League games to help the Black Knights claim a share of the regular-season title. Carroll (2.09) and Dignacco (2.32) each have overall season ERAs that could put them in the Patriot League top 10 all-time. Lafayette's Cory Spera earned the first-team relief pitcher spot after going 3-1 overall with a 1.52 ERA and pitching to a 1.32 ERA in League action.
The first-team infield, led by Manzelli, features a pair of second basemen in Bucknell's Joe Ogren (.315 BA, 25 runs, 20 RBIs) and Lehigh's Mike Garzillo (.319 BA, 24 runs, 30 RBIs). Navy's Travis Blue (.284 BA, 26 runs, 26 RBIs) became the only freshman on the first-team squad as he took the shortstop position, while teammate Drew Hayes (.269 BA, 16 runs, 19 RBIs) was named the first-team third baseman. Bucknell's Jon Mayer completed the first-team infield at catcher after batting .259 with 16 runs scored and 18 RBIs, with most of that production coming in Patriot League games.
The first-team outfielder and designated hitter spots featured players who were strong throughout the season and in League action. Bucknell's Anthony Gingerelli batted .319 overall with five home runs and 26 RBIs, with three of his long balls coming in League play. Lehigh's Justin Pacchioli led all players in Patriot League games with a .386 batting average, .482 on-base percentage, 27 hits and 11 steals, while Holy Cross' Evan Ocello finished third for the season with a .329 batting average and in the top five for the year in slugging percentage (.462), runs (34), hits (57), total bases (80) and steals (24). Bucknell's Corey Furman earned the first-team designated hitter nod for the second straight season after leading all players in batting average (.388) and slugging percentage (.560) and placing second in on-base percentage (.422) for the year.
With all of the starters on the first-team, the second-team All-Patriot League pitching staff consists only of Lehigh reliever Nick Cassell, who went 4-3 with a 3.34 ERA and led the League with seven saves for the season. Lehigh's Connor Faust (.256 BA, 16 runs, 19 RBIs) and Lafayette's Alex Woinski (.326 BA, 1 HR, 20 RBIs, 12 runs) shared the second-team first base spot, with Army's Alex Jensen (3 HR, 29 RBIs, 22 runs) at shortstop and Harold Earls (27 runs, 25 RBIs, 24 SB) at third base. Lehigh's Tim McKay (.301 BA, 14 runs, 12 RBIs) earned the second-team spot at catcher.
A strong second-team outfield consisted of four players, with Navy's Robert Currie leading the Patriot League in on-base percentage (.426), runs (38), hits (65), total bases (84) and steals (25) for the season while also standing second in batting average (.349). Holy Cross' Brandon Cipolla (.301 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBis, 29 runs) and Army's Jon Crucitti (.297 BA, 32 runs, 20 RBIs) also made the outfield along with Smith, while Army's Mark McCants (1 HR, 17 RBIs, 28 runs) was the second-team designated hitter.
McCants and Cipolla each made the All-Patriot League Team for the third year in a row, while Furman and Ocello repeated as first-team selections and Manzelli, Pacchioli and Jensen each made the team for the second straight year. The other 19 selections all earned their first All-Patriot League nod.
The 2014 Patriot League Baseball Tournament begins with the semifinal round this weekend. In best-of-three series, No. 4 Navy visits No. 1 Bucknell and No. 3 Lehigh is at No. 2 Army. Each series features a doubleheader on Saturday and decisive third game, if necessary, on Sunday and can be seen on Patriot League Network. The winners will move on to the Patriot League Baseball Championship series at the site of the highest remaining seed.
2014 Baseball All-Patriot League Team
Player of the Year: Kash Manzelli, Navy (Sr., 1B)
Pitcher of the Year: Anthony Parenti, Navy (Jr., SP)
Rookie of the Year: Brett Smith, Bucknell (Fr., OF)*
Coach of the Year: Scott Heather, Bucknell*
First-Team All-Patriot League%
SP: Gunnar Carroll, Army (Sr.)
SP: Nick Dignacco, Army (Sr.)
SP: Anthony Parenti, Navy (Jr.)@
SP: Dan Weigel, Bucknell (Sr.)
RP: Cory Spera, Lafayette (Jr.)
C: Jon Mayer, Bucknell (So.)@
1B: Kash Manzelli, Navy (Sr.)@
2B: Mike Garzillo, Lehigh (So.)
2B: Joe Ogren, Bucknell (So.)
SS: Travis Blue, Navy (Fr.)
3B: Drew Hayes, Navy (So.)
OF: Anthony Gingerelli, Bucknell (Jr.)
OF: Evan Ocello, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF: Justin Pacchioli, Lehigh (Jr.)
DH: Corey Furman, Bucknell (Sr.)@
Second-Team All-Patriot League$
RP: Nick Cassell, Lehigh (Sr.)
C: Tim McKay, Lehigh (Jr.)
1B: Connor Faust, Lehigh (Jr.)
1B: Alex Woinski, Lafayette (Fr.)
SS: Alex Jensen, Army (Jr.)
3B: Harold Earls, Army (Jr.)
OF: Brandon Cipolla, Holy Cross (Sr.)
OF: Jon Crucitti, Army (Sr.)
OF: Robert Currie, Navy (So.)
OF: Brett Smith, Bucknell (Fr.)
DH: Mark McCants, Army (Jr.)
% - 15 players due to tie in voting
$ - 11 players due to tie in voting
*- Unanimous selection
@ - Unanimous first-team selection