Coaches Association Names Four Landmark Players All-Region
MADISON, N.J. - Four Landmark Conference baseball players have been honored with selections to the 2012 American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region Teams. In addition, two players were named to the Regional Gold Glove Team.
Moravian College senior Dave Zubia earned first-team honors from the Mid-Atlantic region, while his teammate senior Brendan Close was a second-team selection. United States Merchant Marine Academy senior Andy Martin was chosen for the third-team in the New York region, and Juniata College junior Ben Mersky was a third-team honoree in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition the Moravian duo of sophomore outfielder Joseph Connell and senior catcher Blake Shortall both earned 2012 ABCA/Rawlings Mid-Atlantic Region Gold Glove First Team honors for their defense.
Zubia, who was honored as the 2012 Landmark Conference Player of the Year, on the All-Conference First Team and on the D3baseball.com All-Mid-Atlantic Region First Team, hit .432 from the plate with a season record of 67 hits. He lead the team with a .613 slugging percentage, .536 on-base percentage, 54 runs scored, 22 walks and 20 stolen bases to go with his 39 RBIs, 13 doubles, three triples and three home runs. Zubia was also named to the Landmark All-Conference Second Team in 2010.
Close, who was a 2011 D3baseball.com and ABCA First Team All-American, went 8-1 on the year with a 2.18 ERA in 66 innings. He had 53 strikeouts while allowing six walks and holding his opponents to a .247 batting average. Close, the 2012 Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Year and All-Conference First Team selection, also had eight complete games and one shutout. Close was named Landmark Pitcher of the Year in 2011 as well, and he was a four-time All-Conference selection with First Team honors in 2011, 2009 and Second Team honors in 2010. This is the second straight year that Close has earned ABCA All-Region honors after being on the First Team last season.
Martin led the Mariners in wins posting a 7-1 record. His 3.13 earned run average, 46 strikeouts, five complete games and 69 innings pitched were all team highs. "Andy's been a leader and invaluable asset to our program for the past four years," said Head Coach Mike Notebaert. Martin has been named team MVP twice and has played every position in his four years at USMMA except centerfield and shortstop. His career batting average is well over .400 and he has set numerous pitching records which include games saved in a season, games won in a season, and appearances in a game as a pitcher.
Mersky has also been named to D3baseball.com's All-Mid-Atlantic Region third team as well as being Juniata's lone representative on the All-Landmark Conference team. Mersky, led the team in hits (56), doubles (12), runs batted in (35) and batting average (.452). His impressive batting average earned him sixth on Juniata's single-season batting average leaders, along with a fifth place slot for single-season hits. On a national level, Mersky's batting average ranks eighth in all of Division III and sits atop all statistical leaders in the Landmark Conference.
Connell had a 1.000 fielding percentage this season while being the only Moravian player to start all 44 games this spring. From his centerfield position, Connell had 102 putouts and six assists in 108 chances with no errors. At the plate, Connell hit .327 (52-for-159) to go with 39 runs scored, 13 doubles, two triples, 18 RBIs, a .343 slugging percentage, nine walks, nine hit by pitch, a .395 on-base percentage, two sacrifice bunts and 13 stolen bases.
Shortall, who was also honored on the Landmark All-Conference First Team, had a .996 fielding percentage this year behind the plate with 213 putouts, 33 assists and just one error in 247 chances. He allowed ten passed balls but threw out 15 of 49 base runners and also picked two runners off of base. At the plate, Shortall had the best season of his career, hitting .350 (42-for-120) with 23 runs, five doubles, a triple, one homer, 31 RBIs, a .433 slugging percentage, eight walks, 14 hit-by pitch, a .448 on-base percentage, nine sacrifice hits and three stolen bases. In his career, Shortall had a .989 fielding percentage with 629 putouts, 96 assists and just eight errors in 733 chances, and he threw out 26 percent (43 of 165) of the stolen base attempts against him.
This marks the second-straight year the Landmark has earned four All-Region selections from the ABCA.
Story provided by Juniata, Moravian & USMMA Sports Information