May 11, 2010
CENTER VALLEY, Pa.
- Navy baseball outfielders Michael Speciale
(Sr./Pearland, Texas) and Alex Azor
(So./Miami, Fla.) both earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors to highlight a group of four Mids named to the all-league teams, it was announced by the league office on Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to Speciale and Azor, right-handed starting pitcher Ben Nelson (Fr./Winter Springs, Fla.) and second baseman Matthew Curley (Sr./Boston, Mass.) were both named Second-Team All-Patriot League.
Speciale produced a strong senior season that resulted in him etching his name into the program's career record books. A starter in all-50 games in 2010, the power-hitting outfielder leads the team with a .374 (70-for-187) batting average, to go along with a team-best 12 doubles, eight home runs, 43 RBIs, 112 total bases, .599 slugging percentage and a .450 on-base percentage. With those figures, he set Navy career records in at bats (739), hits (239) and total bases (372), while also ranking among the program's top-five career players in runs (152), doubles (44), home runs (23), games played (195), games started (193), RBIs (138) and hit by pitches (21).
The first-team all-league honors are the second for Speciale in his career, as he first claimed that distinction following a sensational sophomore campaign in 2008.
Azor bounced back from an injury-plagued freshman season to find himself as the only sophomore selected first-team all-league. His .361 (66-for-183) batting average ranks second on the team, behind only Speciale, in addition to 10 doubles, three triples, 33 RBIs and five stolen bases. The Navy sophomore has only struck out six times in 212 plate appearances this spring, which ranks him as one of the top-10 toughest batters to strike out in the nation. In addition to his exploits with the bat, Azor made countless plays defensively to take away several sure base hits.
Nelson stepped up and made a significant, immediate contribution on the mound en route to second-team all-league kudos. After making his first-seven appearances of the year out of the bullpen, the right-hander started his final-six outings and was impressive, posting quality starts in all of those performances. He is 4-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched with only 50 hits and 14 walks allowed, in addition to 34 strikeouts. In Patriot League play, the rookie went 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 33.0 innings with 27 hits and seven walks allowed, to go along with 21 strikeouts and a .235 opposition batting average.
The native of Winter Springs, Fla., became the first player in Patriot League history to claim league rookie-of-the-week honors in three-consecutive weeks. His four Patriot League Rookie-of-the-Week awards were tied for the most ever awarded to one player in league history.
Curley continued to show improvement during his career, which manifested into second-team all-league recognition for the first time during his senior campaign. A starter in all-50 games, the Navy second baseman owns a .342 (66-for-193) batting average with 41 runs, five doubles, one triple, one home run, 33 RBIs, 22 walks and seven stolen bases. In Patriot League action, he hit at a .368 (28-for-76) with 15 runs, two doubles, a home run and nine RBIs. With the glove, he owns an impressive .977 fielding percentage and has helped turn 40 of the team's 48 double plays this spring.
The Midshipmen (29-21) will conclude their season this Wednesday at 4 p.m., when they play host to Delaware State (12-30). Admission is free of charge and live stats will be available via GameTracker on www.NavySports.com(.)
2010 First-Team All-Patriot League
SP Matt Fouch, Army (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
SP Andrew Berger, Lehigh (Sr.)
RP Kevin McKague, Army (Jr.) (unanimous first team)
C B.J. LaRosa, Bucknell (Sr.)
1B Doug Shribman, Bucknell (Jr.)
2B Ben Yoder, Bucknell (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
SS Clint Moore, Army (Jr.)
3B Matt Perry, Holy Cross (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
OF Alex Azor, Navy (So.)
OF Andrew Brouse, Bucknell (Sr.) (unanimous first team)
OF Ben Koenigsfeld, Army (Jr.)
OF Jack Laurendeau, Holy Cross (Jr.)
OF Michael Speciale, Navy (Sr.)
DH Matt Fenster, Lafayette (Jr.)
2010 Second-Team All-Patriot League
SP Nate Koneski, Holy Cross (So.)
SP Ben Nelson, Navy (Fr.)
SP Dylan Seeley, Bucknell (Jr.)
RP Cory Kent, Lehigh (So.)
C Stephen Wadsworth, Holy Cross (Fr.)
1B Kevin Mihalik, Lehigh (Jr.)
2B Matthew Curley, Navy (Sr.)
SS Ben Allen, Bucknell (Sr.)
3B Jim McConlogue, Lehigh (Jr.)
OF Nick Ciardiello, Holy Cross (Jr.)
DH Steve Tkowski, Holy Cross (So.)
Player of the Year: Andrew Brouse, Bucknell
Pitcher of the Year: Matt Fouch, Army (unanimous selection)
Rookie of the Year: Stephen Wadsworth, Holy Cross
Coach of the Year: Sean Leary, Lehigh
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Ben Koenigsfeld, Army