May 7, 2008
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The Navy baseball landed six of its own, five of which were first team, on this year's All-Patriot League teams, it was announced by the league office on Tuesday morning. The five first-team selections were most in the league and tied for the most by a Navy team in school history, as the 1996 Midshipmen also had five first-team picks.
Three of the five First-Team All-Patriot League infield positions were filled by the Midshipmen - first baseman Thomas Hamilton (Sr./Houston, Texas), second baseman Mike Guadagnini (Fr./Virginia Beach, Va.) and third baseman Kendall Bolt (So./Stockton, Calif.). Relief pitcher JD Melton (So./Myrtle Beach, S.C.) was named a first-team all-league member, as was outfielder Michael Speciale (So./Pearland, Texas). Fellow Navy outfielder Renaldo Hollins (Sr./Virginia Beach, Va.) earned Second-Team All-Patriot League kudos.
Hamilton, Navy's team captain, earned first-team all-league honors for the second-consecutive season at first base. He ranks second in the Patriot League with a .388 batting average and leads the league in hits (78) and RBIs (45). His 78 base knocks shattered the previous school record of 71 hits by Andy Loferski in 1983, while his 45 RBIs are tied for 10th most in program history. The Navy senior has totaled 221 hits during his career, five shy of matching the school record held by Toph Lake (1995-98).
In Patriot League play this spring, Hamilton hit .358 (29-for-81) with two doubles, three home runs and 17 RBIs. The 29 base knocks were tied for the league lead, while his 17 RBIs landed him second among league hitters. The Navy first baseman also cleanly fielded all 190 chances in league action.
Guadagnini is just the second Navy freshman in school history to be recognized as a First-Team All-Patriot League selection, joining Tony Mauro (1996) on the elite list. The Navy second baseman enters the weekend hitting .342 (50-for-146) with seven doubles, five home runs, 21 RBIs and four stolen bases. His five round-trippers are tied for the most by a Navy freshman in school history, alongside Marcus Lee (1991) and Terry Cook (1974). Guadagnini had been named the league's player of the week and rookie of the week on separate occasions this spring. With the glove, he owns a .972 fielding percentage and has helped turn 18 double plays.
Bolt rounds out the Navy contingent on the infield, as he earns all-league recognition for the first time in his career. The Navy sophomore turned it on over the last-third of the regular season, hitting .372 (29-for-78) with five doubles and three home runs over the final-20 games. During that span, he strung together an eight-game hitting streak and tallied nine multi-hit performances. For the year, he is batting .304 (59-for-194) with a team-best 13 doubles, three triples, four long balls and 29 RBIs. In Patriot League play, he hit at a .333 (25-for-75) clip with seven doubles and seven RBIs. His seven two-baggers in league action were tied for the highest total among league hitters.
Melton, a mid-season candidate for this year's NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, earned first-team distinction this season after being named to the second team one year ago. In 17 visits out of the bullpen this spring, Melton is 2-1 with seven saves and a 1.93 ERA over 23.1 innings. His seven saves are the most in the Patriot League and ranks third in program history. The Navy right-hander has allowed just 22 hits and seven walks to go along with 15 strikeouts. He has already totaled 16 saves in his two seasons with the Midshipmen, the most by any pitcher in program history. In Patriot League ballgames, Melton is 1-0 with two saves and a miniscule 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
Speciale produced some big power numbers for the Midshipmen this spring to complete Navy's cast of first-team all-league performers. Starting in all 53 games in 2008, Speciale is hitting .346 (74-for-214) with 52 runs scored, 13 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 43 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. His 74 base knocks are second most in school history, just four shy of teammate Hamilton's total. Meanwhile, his 126 total bases are tops in school history and ranks among the top-five single-season marks in program history in runs (third), home runs (third) and triples (fourth). In Patriot League contests, he led Navy with a .372 (29-for-78) batting average with 19 runs scored, seven doubles, four triples, three home runs and 13 RBIs. In a win over Bucknell on April 19, Speciale tied the school record for runs in a game with five, as he went 4-for-4 with two walks in the ballgame.
Hollins captured Second-Team All-Patriot League honors for the first time in his career by hitting well over the final-month of the regular season and flashing the leather. The Navy outfielder hit .345 (30-for-87) during the last-27 games to head into the weekend with a .291 (48-for-165) batting average. He has hit five doubles, five triples and leads the team with 13 stolen bases. The program's career stolen base leader with 63, Hollins batted .324 (24-for-74) with two doubles and three triples in Patriot League action. This season and throughout the course of his four-year career, he has taken away countless base hits with his ability to play gap-to-gap in center.
Navy (30-22-1, 11-9 Patriot League), the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, will play host to third-seeded Holy Cross (20-26, 11-9 Patriot League) in a best-of-three semifinal series this weekend in Annapolis. The two teams will play a pair of nine-inning contest on Saturday, starting at 12 noon, and will play a single nine-inning game on Sunday at 12 noon, if necessary. The Midshipmen went 3-1 against the Crusaders two weeks ago in Annapolis.
Live audio for this each game of this weekend's series will be available through Navy All-Access, with Joe Miller calling Saturday's twinbill and Pete Medhurst delivering the call on Sunday. The subscription price for Navy All-Access is $6.95 per month, $49.95 for a 12-month package and $99.95 for CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) All-Access XXL, which will provide you access to every CBS College Sports Network.com school. For the best results, you should have broadband and high-speed cable access to the internet. To sign in or subscribe to Navy All-Access, log onto www.NavySports.com and click on the All-Access button on the right side of the page.
Also, live stats for all of Navy's home games are available for free via GameTracker on www.NavySports.com(.)
FIRST-TEAM ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE
SP - Matt Fouch, So., Army
SP - Matt Shapiro, So., Holy Cross
RP - JD Melton, So., Navy
C - Brendan Akashian, Sr., Holy Cross
1B - Thomas Hamilton, Sr., Navy
2B - Mike Guadagnini, Fr., Navy
SS - Clint Moore, Fr., Army
3B - Kendall Bolt, So., Navy
OF - Jason Buursma, Sr., Bucknell
OF - Joe Ercolano, Sr., Lehigh
OF - Michael Speciale, So., Navy
OF - Cole White, Sr., Army
DH - John Avanzino, So., Bucknell
SECOND-TEAM ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE
SP - Ben Koenigsfeld, Fr., Army
SP - Mathew Wilson, Sr., Bucknell
RP - Andrew Grim, Sr., Lehigh
C - Chris Simmons, Sr., Army
1B - Mark Angelo, Sr., Bucknell
1B - Kevin McKague, Fr., Army
2B - Ben Yoder, So., Bucknell
SS - Ben Allen, So., Bucknell
SS - Dan Bierce, Jr., Lafayette
3B - J.P. Polchinski, Jr., Army
OF - Andy Ernesto, Jr., Army
OF - Gil Gomez, Sr., Holy Cross
OF - Dane Grandizio, Jr., Bucknell
OF - Renaldo Hollins, Sr., Navy
DH - Logan Marshall, Fr., Lehigh