The College of Wooster's Jarrod Mancine was voted the North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year and he was joined by five teammates on the All-NCAC First Team, and four other Fighting Scots were also recognized when the league office announced its 2014 baseball award winners on Tuesday.
In addition to Mancine, the 12th different Wooster player to be named NCAC Player of the Year in the 30-year history of the conference, pitcher Steve Hagen, catcher Bryan Miller, outfielder Eddie Reese, and corner infielders Cal Thomay and Frank Vance earned first-team honors. Second baseman Craig Day and pitcher Matt Felvey were selected second-team, while DH Brendan Taylor and pitcher Jon Rothman each received honorable mention.
Mancine, a senior who played centerfield, led the team's high-scoring offense all season, finishing with a .432 batting average, 50 runs scored, 15 doubles, four home runs, and 35 RBI. The three-time all-NCAC pick (also first-team as a junior, honorable mention as a sophomore) leads the league in average, runs, hits (73), and on-base percentage (.517), and is second in walks (27), third in slugging percentage (.604), fourth in doubles, and tied for eighth in RBI. He successfully reached base in 43 of Wooster's 44 games, including each of the last 24.
Hagen was the ace of the pitching staff, compiling a 6-5 record, 3.98 ERA, and 65 strikeouts during 83.2 innings against a challenging schedule as six of his 12 starts came against teams that are currently in the NCAA Div. III Baseball Championship field. Within the conference statistics, the senior right-hander leads the way in innings pitched and ranks second in strikeouts, tied for second in games started, and tied for third in wins. This spring, Hagen became just the 10th in program history to reach both 25 career wins (25) and 250 innings (268.1).
Miller, the conference's first-team catcher for the second consecutive year, was one of the Scots' most effective offensive players as well as a standout defensively. He hit .362 – the 14th-highest average in the NCAC – and worked his way on base via 20 walks, part of a .439 on-base percentage, en route to scoring 37 runs. On defense, Miller threw out 16 of 33 base stealers and was credited with just four errors and two passed balls while logging more than 300 innings behind the plate.
Reese, now a three-time first-team all-league honoree, was the NCAC's top power hitter in 2014 as he produced 25 extra-base hits – nine doubles, three triples, and 11 homers – while batting .307 overall and driving in 58 runs. The senior who transitioned from second base to left field, where he posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, tops the conference in home runs, RBI, and walks (32), and also is tied for second in runs scored (47) and fourth in slugging percentage (.601).
Thomay, a senior who played first base before making a late-season switch to third base, is another repeat selection on the All-NCAC Team (honorable mention as a junior). He registered career highs in most every category, highlighted by being the league's sixth-leading hitter and run producer with a .379 batting average and 38 RBI. He also scored 37 runs, doubled 11 times, and drew 18 walks, good for a .457 on-base percentage, which was ninth-best in the NCAC.
Vance had a breakthrough junior season offensively, especially late in the year when he produced hits in 27 of his last 43 at bats (.628). That boosted his season average to .417 – third-highest in the conference – and the smooth-swinging lefty also piled up 39 runs, 11 doubles, four home runs, and 39 RBI, six coming via sacrifice flies. The third baseman who transitioned to first late in the spring has the second-most hits (65) in the league and rates tied for fourth in RBI, sixth in slugging percentage (.590), tied for seventh in runs scored, and eighth in on-base percentage (.461).
Day caps his career with a second all-NCAC award after also being a second-team choice as a freshman. The four-year starter batted over .300 (.301) with 37 runs, eight doubles, five homers, and 32 RBI, and provided steady defense at second base, making just five errors out of 201 chances for a .975 fielding percentage. The five homers tied for the third-most in the conference.
Felvey turned out to be a two-time all-conference standout on the mound after beginning his career as a middle infielder. The 6-6 lanky right-hander was Wooster's No. 2 starter this season and team leader in ERA, registering a 3.67 mark to go with an 8-3 record and 38 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. Felvey sits atop the league in wins, while also ranking fifth in innings, tied for fifth in starts (10), tied for seventh in appearances (15), and eighth in ERA.
Taylor excelled in his first year as a full-time starter, earning the DH position when he hit .396 with five doubles, two triples, and 11 RBI during Wooster's challenging 12-game spring break trip. The 6-3, 215-pound right-hander went on to a .378 average, 12 doubles, four triples, two homers, and 31 RBI over 42 games played. He is the seventh-leading hitter in the NCAC, as well as tied for second in triples and tied for sixth in hits (54).
Rothman was a key part of the Scots' pitching staff for the second season in a row. In fact, he will likely finish as the league leader in appearances again, currently with 23 (22 last spring). The closer put together a solid stat line, consisting of a 2-1 record, five saves, which is tied for the conference lead, and a 2.27 ERA during 31.2 innings pitched. He struck out 20 while walking just six batters.
Wooster went 29-15 in 2014, with 12 of its 44 games being against teams that are now in the NCAA tourney, and it settled for a second-place conference finish after being upended by DePauw University twice on the last day of the NCAC Tournament, 8-5 and 4-2.