DODDS Europe has just completed it first season of high school baseball, and crowned its champions. To top it off, they named 24 players to the 2009 All-Europe baseball team:
The 24 players selected for DODDS’ first All-Europe baseball team might well have left lasting marks in their sport.But it wasn't all just hitting or pitching:
Of the 12 selected for the first team, five batted .400 or better, four surpassed .500 and two, senior Jimmy Drago of SHAPE and junior Matt McDonald of Ramstein, hit safely better than 60 percent of the time — Drago hit .618 and McDonald, a pitcher, went 20-for-32 for a school-system best .625.
On the mound, eight of the 12 first-team selectees who pitched were just as productive.
Buffington, a catcher and third baseman when not anchoring the Vicenza staff with a 1.96 ERA, had just three errors or passed balls all season according to his coach, Mike Wilson. Drago booted just three chances during his stints at short and second base, reported SHAPE coach Kenneth Goff, while Tucker made just five errors in 66 chances at shortstop and catcher. His .974 fielding percentage cemented his leadership position with a young Bitburg club, according to coach Matt Lawhun.Pretty good defense for some high school kids. And there is will always be something special about this year's selections:
Even if their numbers are erased in future seasons, the 2009 All-Europeans will retain forever the distinction of being the first.The 2009 All-Europe baseball team:
"The first time for anything," Patch second-teamer Quinton Austin said, "is really special."
1.98 ERA, 51 K in 27.1 IP. .572 BA, .666 in tourney.
“Every coach we played against commented on his prowess.”
.419 BA, 2 HR.
“Captain, led team on and off field. Well-balanced defensive player with impressive BA.”
.618 BA, 10 doubles. 26 K, 2 BB, 5 saves in 12 IP.
“Team captain, astute leadership abilities. 3 errors all season.”
.468 BA, 10 RBI, 10 SB.
“Our spark plug. We went as he went – 13-4 season record.”
5-1, 1 save. .488 BA, 10 RBI, 2 HR, 15 SB.
“One of best pitchers in Europe. Beat Phelps. Held Ramstein to 1 hit.”
2-0 with 30 K in 13 innings. .625 BA, 3 HR, 13 doubles, 9 SB.
“Matt is the complete baseball player.”
3.13 ERA, 44 K, 14 BB in 31.1 innings, 1 no-hitter. .553 BA, 2 HR, 27 RBI.
“Led team in every offensive category.”
.493 BA, 8 RBI.
“Undeniably the best pitcher in Europe. Powerhouse of a team player.”
22 K in 15 IP, 8 H, 4 BB. .463 BA, 16 SB.
“Go-to guy in tourney. Fastest, smartest runner I’ve seen this year.”
3-1, 2 saves, 1.56 ERA, 58 K in 27 IP. .533 BA, 15 RBI.
“Could basically shut down any offense in DODDS-Europe.”
“Strong arm from 3B, very few errors. Second-leading batter on our team.”
3-3, 1.91 ERA, 60 K in 33 IP.
“Spellbinding performance in tourney. Fanned 29 of 55 batters faced. .416 BA.”
.313 BA, 26 RBI, 2 HR. 5-2, 40 K in 23.2 IP, 2.66 ERA.
“Def. Vilseck twice, shut down Lakenheath in tourney semi.”
.421 BA, 18 RBI, 7 SB. 4-1, 1 save.
“Ended season as our best individual player. 2-for-2 in tourney semifinal.”
.540 BA, 16 RBI, 10 SB. 4 wins, save.
“Best player on team. First time he’d played baseball in 8 years.”
.571 tourney BA. 2-0 as starter in tourney. Batted .444 vs. D-I pitching.
“Supportive of all players on field.”
4-0, 13 K, 5 BB in 13 IP. .333 BA.
“Always in control pitching. Long reach made saves at 1B. Always hustles.”
18 K in 14 IP. .288 BA, 8 RBI.
“Developed into closer as season progressed, dropping ERA from 9-plus to 4.36.”
.442 BA, 23 RBI. 3 wins, save, 3.10 ERA.
“.600 tourney BA, 2 HR, 10 RBI, game-winning 3-run HR in game for 3rd.”
.390 BA, 10 SB.
“Like a general on the field. Keeps ball in front of him, cat-like reactions, 3.8 30-yard dash.”
.352 BA, 15 RBI.
“Versatile player who can play any position well, a player that team cannot do without.”
73 K in 8 games, 2 1-hitters. .475 BA right-handed, .600 left-hander. 21 SB.
“Baseball IQ at a very high level.”
2 CG wins. .468 BA, 21 RBI, 5 HR, 2 grand slams.
“Can be played anywhere on the field and do well.”
6-for-9 to open season, 16 SB.
“Led team with 29 assists. His hands are as good as they come in the pivot.”
It's not important to know where all these places are, or even who the kids are, but it is important to know that they are getting the chance to play. Again, not to turn this political , but many of these kids have parents caught up in what's happening in an area covered by my first blog of the day.
My first school was the DODDS school in Vicenza, and I remember my older brother playing youth league baseball there in the '60's. It's taken 40 years since then for the kids to be able to play high school baseball, but it's there for them now. Congratulations to all of them and I wish them the best of luck in the future.
Link from The Stars & Stripes