Central Islip, N.Y. – Senior catcher Mike Russo (Boca Raton, Fla.) of St. Thomas Aquinas has been named the 2013 ECC Baseball Player of the Year, while junior Tyler Badamo (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) of Dowling College has been named the Pitcher of the Year as voted on by the conference's coaches. Freshman pitchers, Robert Naughton (Levittown, N.Y.) of St. Thomas Aquinas and Shea Spitzbarth (Staten Island, N.Y.) of Molloy College, shared the Rookie of the Year honor and St. Thomas Aquinas head coach, Scott Muscat, was named the Coach of the Year.
A season after winning the conference's Triple Crown (led the ECC in batting average, homeruns, and RBI), Russo put together another amazing year in his senior campaign. The senior catcher nearly duplicated the Triple Crown feat by leading the conference in homeruns (10) and RBI (57). In addition, Russo led the conference with 106 totals bases and a .671 slugging percentage. His offensive prowess doesn't stop there however, as Russo also finished in the top-10 in the ECC in nearly every offensive category. Among his other impressive numbers are a .348 batting average, 55 hits, 15 doubles, 3 triples, 43 runs, 22 walks, 5 sacrifice flies, and a .427 on-base percentage.
Badamo made the conference's coaches look prophetic in becoming the league's top hurler after being picked in the preseason to win the award. In 12 appearances and 11 starts, the junior right hander posted a 7-3 record with 89 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. His win and strikeout totals were good for tops in the ECC. His dominance on the hill included a 2.08 earned run average and hitters only batted .180 against him. Badamo also shows up on the NCAA leaderboards, ranking 30th in Division II in strikeouts per nine innings (10.3) and 16th in hits allowed per nine innings (6.0).
Two pitchers tied for the conference's top rookie honor. Robert Naughton of St. Thomas Aquinas helped the Spartans to the ECC Regular Season Championship by posting a perfect 5-0 record in 10 appearances and seven starts on the season. In 49.2 innings, the two-time ECC Rookie of the Week allowed only 38 hits to hold opposing hitters to a .216 batting average against. Naughton's 1.63 earned run average was also good for second in the conference.
The other half of the Co-Rookie of the Year tandem is Molloy's Spitzbarth. Spitzbarth was a four-time ECC Rookie of the Week selection after accumulating a 3-3 record and a 3.32 earned run average in 14 appearance and 11 starts. The freshman right hander was a strikeout machine, totaling 75 (good for fourth in the conference) in only 57.0 innings of work. Those totals led to a 12.33 strikeouts per nine innings number which ranks sixth in Division II.
St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Scott Muscat was named the Coach of the Year by his peers for the second year in a row. Muscat guided the Spartans to a program record win total and the East Coast Conference Regular Season title for the second consecutive season. Currently, the Spartans are ranked No. 3 in the East Region and earlier this week cracked the national rankings in both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls for the first time in program history.
Joining Russo and Badamo as All-Conference First Team selections are Mike Olszyk (Sr., 1B, Bridgeport), Effrain Bautista (Sr., 2B, St. Thomas Aquinas), Stanley Susana (So., 3B, St. Thomas Aquinas), John Ascenzia (Jr., SS, Bridgeport), Rich Baerga (So., OF, St. Thomas Aquinas), Carlos Guzman (Jr., OF, Molloy), Nick Barbalato (Sr., OF, St. Thomas Aquinas), Nick Zieniuk (Fr., DH, Bridgeport), Joe Salanitri (Jr., UTL, Queens), Bo Budkevics (Sr., SP, LIU Post), Robert Frank (Jr., SP, St. Thomas Aquinas), and C.J. Ferrigi (Jr., RP, St. Thomas Aquinas).
Second Team honorees include Tim Bickford (So., C, Bridgeport), Ray McCourt (Sr., C, Molloy), Kenny Kirshner (Jr., 1B, St. Thomas Aquinas), John Galanoudis (So., 2B, Molloy), JC Brandmaier (Jr., 3B, Dowling), Frank Salerno (Sr., SS, St. Thomas Aquinas), John Eyerman (So., OF, Queens), Derek Hirsch (So., OF, St. Thomas Aquinas), Greg Walsh (Sr., OF, Molloy), Stephen Sunday (Jr., DH, St. Thomas Aquinas), Kevin Chenicek (Sr., UTL, LIU Post), Adam Brown (Sr., SP, Dowling), Mike Eckerle (So., SP, LIU Post), Shaun Hancock (Sr., SP, Bridgeport), and Matthew Metz (Sr., RP, Molloy).
St. Thomas Aquinas led the way with 11 selections. Molloy was next with five selections and Bridgeport added four.
2013 ECC Baseball All-Conference
C; Mike Russo, St. Thomas Aquinas
1B: Mike Olszyk, Bridgeport
2B: Effrain Bautista, St. Thomas Aquinas
3B: Stanley Susana, St. Thomas Aquinas
SS: John Ascenzia, Bridgeport
OF: Rich Baerga, St. Thomas Aquinas
OF: Carlos Guzman, Molloy
OF: Nick Barbalato, St. Thomas Aquinas
DH: Nick Zieniuk, Bridgeport
UTL: Joe Salanitri, Queens
SP: Tyler Badamo, Dowling
SP: Bo Budkevics, LIU Post
SP: Robert Frank, St. Thomas Aquinas
RP: CJ Ferrigi, St. Thomas Aquinas
C: Tim Bickford, Bridgeport
C: Ray McCourt, Molloy
1B: Kenny Kirshner, St. Thomas Aquinas
2B: John Galanoudis, Molloy
3B: JC Brandmaier, Dowling
SS: Frank Salerno, St. Thomas Aquinas
OF: John Eyerman, Queens
OF: Derek Hirsch, St. Thomas Aquinas
OF: Greg Walsh, Molloy
DH: Stephen Sunday, St. Thomas Aquinas
UTL: Kevin Chenicek, LIU Post
SP: Adam Brown, Dowling
SP: Mike Eckerle, LIU Post
SP: Shaun Hancock, Bridgeport
RP: Matthew Metz, Molloy
Player of the Year: Mike Russo, Sr., C, St. Thomas Aquinas
Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Badamo, Jr., Dowling
Co-Rookies of the Year: Rob Naughton, Fr., SP, St. Thomas Aquinas and Shea Spitzbarth, Fr., SP, Molloy
Coach of the Year: Scott Muscat, St. Thomas Aquinas