Every year, the IMG Academy High School Wood Bat League recognizes the top players for their performance on the field. While these players shined on the field, their names were consistently brought up by the coaches as those who worked extremely hard to improve their game each and every day. While there were many players deserving of these awards, here are the winners for the 2012 IMG Academy High School Wood Bat League:
League MVP/Batting Champion - Ray Filiberti (Hurricanes)
While these two awards are usually reserved for two separate players, there was little doubt the Filiberti deserved both. The San Diego area native was a consistent force throughout the season, leading the league in virtually every category: batting average (.472), RBI (27), OPS (1.195) and slugging percentage (.679.). FIliberti occupied the Hurricanes' clean-up spot for a majority of the season, helping lead them to a championship. While the season ended great for Filiberti, it got off to a rocky start before IMG Academy coaches helped him with the mental side of his game. âI started the season going 1-8,â says Filiberti."I worked really hard on having a game plan every time I stepped up to the plate and started to figure out what pitch was going to be thrown and when.â It is safe to say that Filiberti's mental game was as sharp as anybody as he also led the league in quality at-bats. Filieberti's great season ended with the perfect cherry-on-top when the Hurricanes won the WBL title with a walk-off win on Friday. Immediately following the game, the usually stern-faced Filiberti cracked a smile and said, âThis is exciting, it was really a team effort and it's a great end to the season.â
Cy Young Award - Ben Suslavich (Hurricanes)
The right-hander got the ball for Friday's championship game and for good reason. Suslavich has been nearly unhittable for the majority of the season. Even when opposing hitters were able to reach base, it was a rarity for them to score. In 33.2 innings pitched this season, the Minnesota-native had no trouble adjusting to the heat allowing a grand total of 3 earned runs, making him tops in the league with a sparkling 0.62 ERA. Suslavich also led the league with a WHIP of 0.83 and finished the season with a flawless 3-0 record. When asked about his tremendous season on the mound, Suslavich wasted no time in attributing his success to his teammates. âIt was all my team,â he said. âI originally came in thinking I needed to strike everyone out, but when I realized how great my defense was, I learned to pitch to contact and had a lot of success with it.â As for his championship performance where he threw 8 solid innings allowing only 2 runs and striking out 6, Suslavich said he was definitely a little nervous. âIt was like a had a whole bunch of caffeine,â he said, âbut eventually I settled down and got in a good groove.â Just like Filiberti, Suslavich's great season was capped off in the perfect way, with a championship trophy.
Gold Glove Award - Mitchell Gallagher (Conquistadors)
Gallagher was nothing short of a human vacuum cleaner for the Conquistadors this season. With Gallagher patrolling the various positions in the infield, it was a rarity to see a ground ball reach the outfield grass. Gallagher not only showcased great range but finished the season with a flawless 1.000 fielding percentage. With quick feet and quicker hands, the infielder regularly flashed the leather, making several plays worthy of âESPN Top 10â recognition. While this played little part in his selection, it is also worth mentioning that Gallagher finished the season with a .375 batting average and 7 stolen bases.
Every coach in the IMG Academy High School Wood Bat League was tasked to name the player that WBL Commissioner Jason Elias described as âembodying the ideal player to coach which includes on-the-field performance, off-the-field work ethic and an overall positive attitude.â The players below were recognized by their coach on Friday:
IMG Lightning - Hunter Rose
IMG Marauders - Logan Allen
IMG Manatees - Jose âRickyâ Varela
IMG Conquistadors - Barrett Snyder
IMG SeaDogs - Joe Abramowitz
IMG Hurricanes - Doug Rovello
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