The New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) have announced the members of the 2016 All-NECBL First and Second Teams, as well as the league’s annual End-of-Year Awards, as announced by Commissioner Sean McGrath on Tuesday.

Comprised of a position player at each spot on the diamond, a designated hitter, three starting pitchers and a closer on each side, the league honored 26 student-athletes on their outstanding summers in the New England League, as 2016 champion Mystic led the league with five all-league selections, including a league-best three first-team picks. Both New Bedford and Newport ranked second with four all-league selections – with two coming on each team – while North Adams boasted three All-NECBL picks.

2016 NECBL Annual End-Of-Year Awards

Top Pro Prospect/Robin Roberts Top Starting Pitcher – Tommy Doyle (Keene/Virginia)
In six appearances (five starts), Keene right-hander Tommy Doyle made as much of an impact as anyone this summer, and his dominance on the mound helped him claim both Top Pro Prospect and Top Starting Pitcher honors. An NECBL All-Star, Doyle tossed 33-1/3 innings and struck out 40 opponents while walking only seven. Even more impressively, the rising junior at Virginia limited opponents to a .123 batting average while his .630 WHIP was among the best in the league. He finished with a 1.62 ERA and only gave up 14 hits over that span.

Rick Ligi League MVP/Batting Champion – Troy Dixon (Newport/St. John’s)
The 2016 NECBL Batting Champion, Newport catcher Troy Dixon batted a league-best .371 over 34 games this summer. His 15 doubles were tied for most in the league, while his on-base percentage of .432 was the fifth-best mark. He also scored 25 runs, totaled 49 hits, homered twice and drove in 18 more runs while posting an OPS of 0.962 to help lead the Gulls to the NECBL South Division Finals.

Christopher Ashmos 10th Player Award – Kyle Mottice (Valley/Cincinnati)
In 36 games, Valley infielder Kyle Mottice posted solid numbers at the plate and was a key member on a team that won its first postseason series in five years. A rising junior at Cincinnati, Mottice batted .319 for the summer with 38 hits and 23 runs scored. He finished with four doubles and eight RBIs while drawing 16 walks. He also posted a slash line of .319/.414/.353, and his final OPS for the season was .767.

Defensive Player of the Year – Connor Kaiser (Newport/Vanderbilt)
Arguably the best defensive shortstop in the NECBL this summer, Kaiser committed only two errors in 139 chances for the Gulls, posting an astounding fielding percentage of .981. He led the league in put outs by a shortstop (63), as well. Offensively, he finished with 24 hits, four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs and came alive during the postseason, during which he batted .267 with an .856 OPS.

Top Relief Pitcher – Darrien Ragins (New Bedford/Delaware State)
The South Division’s All-Star closer, Ragins takes home the honor of the NECBL’s top relief arm after a sensational summer with the Bay Sox. He let up only TWO earned runs over the entire summer – and both of those came in just one game! – while the remainder of his pitching resume is equally stunning: a 0.69 ERA over 26 innings and 16 appearances with nine saves, 39 strikeouts, 11 hits allowed, a .125 batting average against and a 1.000 WHIP. He tossed a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game and then started for the Bay Sox in a win over Mystic in the South Division Semifinals.

Rookie of the Year – Stephen Scott (Newport/Vanderbilt)
Another Southern Division All-Star, Scott was a fan favorite for the Gulls and certainly had some big hits down the stretch to account for a memorable first year in the New England League. His power numbers were what stood out most; he ranked tied for second in the league with 10 home runs and third with 42 RBIs; he also ranked fifth in runs scored (29), third in total bases (86), second in extra-base hits (22) and fifth in slugging percentage (.570). In the playoffs, he posted two homers and five RBIs to help the Gulls reach the Southern Division Finals for the fifth straight season.

Most Improved Player – Richard Slenker (Mystic/Yale)
When you post the numbers that Slenker did in 2015 (.325 average, 17 RBIs, 38 hits, 14 runs scored), one would consider that quite a successful season in the NECBL. However, he topped every single one of those numbers and was one of the top players for the best team in the league this summer. A rising senior at Yale, Slenker ranked sixth in the league with a .338 batting average and fourth in RBIs (31) while totaling 51 hits, 13 doubles, two triples and three homers. While his OPS of .920 in the regular season was already spectacular, he was even better in the postseason when he batted .375 (9-24) in seven games with nine hits and five RBIs and an OPS of 1.026. Slenker also played both corner infield spots and some second base as an invaluable part of the league champion Schooners.

Sportsman of the Year – Michael Landestoy (Sanford/TCU)
Landestoy contributed throughout the summer for the North Division champion Mainers. The utility player did a bit of everything for Sanford, playing 11 games at first base, nine more at second and one at short stop, as well, and made three errors all summer long. Offensively, he batted .289 during the regular season with 24 hits, 12 runs scored, 13 driven in and seven doubles while posting a .434 on-base percentage. In only eight playoff games, he had half as many hits (12) as he did in 23 regular season games on the way to batting .364 with nine RBIs.

Joel Cooney Manager of the Year – Chris Morris (Sanford)
Morris assured that the Mainers didn’t lose a beat after longtime manager Aaron Izaryk took over the role of General Manager for Sanford in the offseason. Morris, who served as Pitching Coach for the Mainers last summer, guided the Mainers to 26 wins and the Northern Division regular season title this summer en route to the team’s second appearance in the NECBL Championship Series over the last three years (2014, 2016).

Umpire of the Year – Jeff Mertzel (Winthrop, Maine/CBUAO)

For a full list of award winners and All-NECBL honorees, scroll down


1st Team All-NECBL2nd Team All-NECBL
CTroy Dixon, Newport (St. Johns)Andrew Penner, New Bedford (Los Angeles CC)
1BMikael Mogues, Vermont (Seton Hall)Austin Upshaw, Ocean State (Kennesaw)
2BNick Mascelli, Mystic (Wagner)Cole Fabio, Newport (Bryant)
SSMichael Osinski, Vermont (Longwood)Grant Williams, Ocean State (Kennesaw)
3BRich Slenker, Mystic (Yale)Chad Lunceford, Mystic (Louisiana Tech)
OFJoseph Denison, Upper Valley (Troy)Daniel Holst, North Adams (Southeast Missiouri)
OFMartin Figueroa, Mystic (URI)Toby Handley, Mystic (Stoneybrook)
OFKeivan Berges, Winnipesaukee (Northwood)Stephen Scott, Newport (Vanderbilt)
DHRyan Wolfsburg, New Bedford (Hamilton)Hezekiah Randolph, Valley (New Orleans)
PHunter Schryver, Newport (Villanova)Sam Nepiarsky, New Bedford (UConn)
PRyan Testaini, Danbury (Seton Hall)Tommy Doyle, Keene (Virginia)
PBraxton Wilks, North Adams (Abilene Christian)Nick Jones, Upper Valley (Kansas St.)
CloserDarrien Rigins, New Bedford (Delaware St.)Tanner Bird, North Adams (Franklin Pierce)

Top Pro ProspectTommy Doyle, Keene (Virginia)
Rick Ligi Most Valuable PlayerTroy Dixon, Newport (St. Johns)
Christopher Ashmos 10th PlayerKyle Mottice, Valley (Cincinnati)
Robin Roberts Best Starting PitcherTommy Doyle, Keene (Virginia)
Best Defensive PlayerConnor Kaiser, Newport (Vanderbilt)
Top Relief PitcherDarrien Ragins, New Bedford (Delaware St.)
Rookie of the YearStephen Scott, Newport (Vanderbilt)
Batting ChampionTroy Dixon, Newport (St. Johns)
Most ImprovedRichard Slenker, Mystic (Yale)
Sportsman of the YearMichael Landestoy, Sanford (TCU)
Joel Cooney Manager of the YearChris Morris, Sanford
Umpire of the YearJeff Mertzel, Winthrop, ME (CBUAO)

The New England Collegiate Baseball League is a wooden bat college summer league that fields teams in all six New England states. Partially funded by Major League Baseball, the NECBL started play in 1994 and has sent over 100 alumni to the Major Leagues. For continuing coverage of the NECBL, visit NECBL.com and follow the league on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.