Baseball Lands Seven on Worcester Area All-Star Team; Callahan Named COY

Baseball Lands Seven on Worcester Area All-Star Team; Callahan Named COY

WORCESTER – WPI skipper Mike Callahan was named Coach of the Year and seven student-athletes were honored as part of the seventh annual Worcester Area Baseball All-Star Team, as recently announced in the Telegram & Gazette.

Sophomore Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI), senior Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) and sophomore Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) were voted to the first team while junior Matt Howard (Worcester, MA), graduate student Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA), sophomore Doug Rives (Bethany, CT) and senior Mike Duclos (Greenfield, MA) collected second team honors.

Gallagher, a second teamer a year ago and an All-NEWMAC first team member this season, is nationally-ranked  in RBI per game (7th – 1.41), home runs per game (22nd – 0.27), RBI (23rd – 52), home runs (23rd – 10) and sacrifice flies (26th - 6) as of May 22. The sophomore also posted a .345 batting average, 50 hits, nine doubles, 44 runs and 22 walks, as well as a .426 on-base and .628 slugging percentage which were all up from his initial campaign. The RBI and sacrifice fly totals lead the conference while he is third in home runs, fourth in runs. He had an eight-game hitting streak from April 8th until April 18th that featured a pair of 2-for-3 outings with 11 RBI and six runs scored in the twinbill at Coast Guard which led to NEWMAC and weekly honors.

Comei, another All-NEWMAC first teamer, batted a career-best .390, which ranked 159th out of  200 Division III student-athletes, to go with career highs of 28 walks, 36 singles, 12 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 18 stolen bases, 39 RBI, 43 runs, a .497 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage. The co-captain is second in stolen bases and OBP, fifth in runs, RBI and slugging percentage, sixth in assists (108) and total bases (94) and ninth in hits among NEWMAC student-athletes. He earned NEWMAC and weekly accolades following a five-game multi-hit streak down in Florida. Comei was honored again by the conference two weeks later for his play during the early part of the home slate. He later went on a 10-game hitting streak April 8 to April 18.

Tropeano, a NEWMAC All-Conference first team member, paced the league in runs, runs per game, hits, stolen bases, stolen bases per game and batting average. Nationally he is seventh in runs per game (1.51), eighth in stolen bases per game (0.81), ninth in runs (56), 11th in stolen bases (30), and 26th in batting average (.430). At the conference level, the sophomore is also ranked third in triples (4) and on-base percentage (.492). He ended the season on a 15-game hitting streak that featured 11 games with two or more hits after enjoying an eight-gamer to begin the campaign and a 10-game streak from March 11th to April 3rd.

Howard, a .388 hitter with 23 extra base hits, 19 walks, 48 RBI and 32 runs scored in 37 games played, led the conference with 162 chances and 154 putouts and was second with 13 double plays and was fourth on the list in home runs (6) and RBI (22) in just NEWMAC games. Overall he only trailed Gallaher with 48 RBI. Howard was also third with 15 doubles, fourth in slugging percentage (.653) and fifth in total bases (96). He went on an 11 game hitting streak from March 6 until March 24 which featured seven multi-hit contests, seven doubles and a home run. Howard registered a hit in 30 contests, including 20 with two or more.

Capuano, an All-NEWMAC second teamer, is 41st with nine home runs and 34th with 0.25 runs per game on the national scrolls. After snapping a 3-3 stalemate with a 2-RBI double in the season finale triumph versus Johnson & Wales, the co-captain hit .333 with career bests of 46 hits, nine home runs, 33 RBI, 33 runs and a .616 slugging percentage. Capuano is third with five sacrifice flies and fourth in home runs overall and fifth in both home runs (5) and total bases (49) in NEWMAC contests. He registered a hit in 10 of the first 11 games, including seven in-a-row, to begin the New England slate before a six-game multi-hit streak from April 13 to 18. He then closed out the season with a five gamer that featured home runs in the last two.

Rives (6-2, save, 3.92 ERA, 43 Ks, nine appearances, seven starts, 41.1 innings) tied for the league lead in wins and ranked fourth in strikeouts per game overall (9.36) and versus NEWMAC batters (10.38). In the conference portion of the schedule Rives ranked fifth in wins (3) and strikeouts (25). He won three of four NEWMAC starts with victories over Emerson, Clark and Coast Guard. Out of conference Rives collected early wins versus Muskingum (OH), Ohio Northern and Mass. Maritime. He struck out a career-best nine at home against Emerson en route to NEWMAC Pitcher of the Week honors.

Duclos posted a 1.56 ERA with six saves and 16 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched over 17 appearances. His save total ranked second and his three in NEWMAC play ranked third. The righty struck out the side in his first save of the season versus Gordon. He went on to record a save in both Emerson games and one each versus Coast Guard, Becker and Johnson & Wales.

Callahan, who shared the honor in 2015, became only the second head coach to earn NEWMAC Baseball Coach of the Year recognition in back-to-back years. This season he guided the Engineers to their third consecutive NEWMAC West Division title and a share of the overall NEWMAC Regular Season for the first time since 2009. The club went 25-12 with a three-game sweep of Coast Guard, as well as both versus Emerson, MIT and Babson in divisional crossover games. It is also the fourth consecutive winning season, and eighth out of 12, for Callahan.

Assumption junior Andrew Jaehnig was tabbed as Player of the Year and Clark sophomore Cal Slepkow took home Pitcher of the Year accolades. Worcester State's Ben Palatino and Holy Cross' Austin Masel shared Rookie of the Year status.

The Worcester Area Baseball All-Star Team, originated by Becker Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Matt Tittle, is one of five awards currently voted on by sports information directors in Worcester County, including Division I Holy Cross and Division II Assumption. The inaugural Worcester Area Softball All-Star Team, initiated by Becker Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Michael Rupp, was released last week. The group also selects the Worcester Area Football Association Steve "Merc" Morris All-Star Team, founded by its namesake from Assumption 26 years ago, and the recently-revived All-Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WABCA) Teams, spearheaded by WPI Assistant Sports Information Director and WACBA Director of Communications Mark Therrien.