May 26, 2010

Christenberry Named South Region Pitcher of the Year; Four Spartans Earn Post Season Honors

YORK, PA – The York College baseball squad received outstanding news on Tuesday as four Spartans received regional accolades from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).  Three Spartans earned the prestigious South Region accolades for the Green and White after the Spartans made their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and their third trip in the last four years.

Senior pitcher Jason Christenberry (Yoe, Pa./Dallastown) was named the ABCA South Region Pitcher-of-the-Year in addition to earning a first team selection. He is the first Spartan hurler to earn a regional Pitcher-of-the-Year award. Senior second baseman Rick Shumway (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg) was a second-team pick while senior outfielder Mike Connolly (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) was a third-team selection.

Christenberry, an All-Capital Athletic Conference first team selection, finished the season 9-3 with a stellar 2.57 ERA as he made 13 starts and 14 appearances for the year. In 91 innings, Christenberry held opponents to a .232 batting average as he struck out 78 and walked just 26 in his time on the hill. Christenberry led the CAC in ERA, wins, strikeouts, innings pitched while he was second in opponent's batting average.

For his career, Christenberry posted a record of 25-13 with a 3.41 ERA in his 56 career appearances. He finished tied for second in school history in career wins, third in appearances, second in innings pitched (309.0), and second in strikeouts (223).

“Jason had a tremendous year,” states Spartan head coach Paul Saikia. “He battles so hard and always keeps his cool. It's so important to the team to have a guy that all the pitchers can follow. I am glad to see him recognized for his performance, but his value certainly went beyond his numbers.”

Shumway transferred to the Spartan program and had a significant impact as a middle of the order hitter for the Spartans in 2010. Shumway hit .420 with 50 runs scored, 42 RBI, 13 doubles, two triples and six home runs. He had a .656 slugging percentage while his on-base percentage was .524.

Shumway, a first-team All-CAC selection in 2010, was second in the CAC in batting average, second in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, third in total bases, third in hit by pitch (12), fourth in runs scored, and tied for fourth in hits.

“Rick played great all year,” says the Spartan mentor. “In simple terms, I think the whole team felt positive every time he came to the plate. In addition, he made some awesome plays to go along with his solid every day play.”

Connolly closed out his stellar four-year career with his first all-region acknowledgement. He was a first-team All-CAC pick this season as he had another outstanding campaign. He hit .374 with 55 RBI, 32 runs scored, 14 doubles and four home runs. Connolly boasted a .534 slugging percentage and a .422 on-base percentage. He was second on the team to Shumway with 61 base hits. Connolly ranked third in the CAC in RBI and fifth in doubles.

For his career, Connolly hit .354 with 131 RBI, 124 runs scored, 221 hits, 42 doubles and 11 home runs in 172 games played.

“I am really proud of Mike. I challenged him last summer to transform himself from a good hitter into a dangerous one,” states Saikia. “I'd say he did just that. He committed himself to make some significant physical changes and it paid off defensively as well.”

In addition to the three Spartans that earned all-region accolades, senior catcher Jim Meehan (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor Central) was named to the 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove South Region team. Meehan was simply outstanding behind the dish for the Spartans in 2010. Meehan threw out 11 of 30 base runners this year, the top mark in the CAC. He committed just one error as he caught a vast majority of the Spartans' innings behind the plate. He also got the job done at the plate as he hit .380 with 33 RBI, 27 runs scored, 10 doubles, one triple and five home runs.

“I am really pleased Jimmy was recognized,” says Saikia. “It's easy to take such strong play behind the plate for granted when you see it every day. We gave up 20 stolen bases all year with Jimmy throwing out 11 of 30 runners – amazing. He made one error all year, that's amazing. Oh and by the way, he hit .380 for us.”

The Spartans finished the season 28-16 and was led by the seniors. The Spartans won 10 of their final 12 regular season games as they made a push to their second straight NCAA appearance. That wasn't by accident according to Saikia.

“After our early departure from the conference tournament, I remember sitting down with my seniors and asking them to take ownership for the remainder of the season so that we could make a run at the NCAA Tournament,” said Saikia. “They all did an incredible job, and I am really happy that some of them have been recognized for their fantastic performances.”

The Spartans must replace three of their top four hitters and two of their two four pitchers as the Green and White will look to make their third straight national tournament appearance in 2011.

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