Logan Driscoll (George Mason) and Jacob Koos (Stetson) hold the championship trophy.
Seven Big Train players were recognized in this year's edition of the annual Big Train Awards, which honor the best offensive, defensive, and pitching performances of the season.
The recipients highlight the depth of the 2017 roster, one that went a league-best 31-9 in the regular season, and finished with an overall 35-10 record.
“It’s a team sport. I wish we could give everyone an award,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “These guys really stepped up when we needed them to. They were consistent all year long, came ready to play, and if you look at their numbers, they were well-deserved awards.”
The players representing the Big Train squad include James Outman (Sacramento State), who won the Most Valuable Player award for his unbelievable season, narrowly missing the Triple Crown. He led the league in home runs (9) and RBI (36), while finishing fifth in batting average (.341).
“James was a huge horse for us,” Colangelo said. “He had an amazing season.”
Ty Madrigal (St. Mary’s) received the Most Outstanding Pitcher Award after leading the league with a 0.55 ERA among qualified pitchers. He started six games and threw 32.2 innings, striking out more than a batter per inning (34).
“[Madrigal] was our leader,” Colangelo said. “He got the first ball of the playoffs. He was just unbelievable.”
Logan Driscoll (George Mason) got Most Outstanding Hitter honors after having an outstanding summer. The lineup mainstay – he appeared in 39 games for the Big Train – finished with a .323 average, tied for second in the league in homers (7) and was fifth in RBI (34).
“[Driscoll] was a workhorse,” Colangelo said. “He can hit to all sides. He has gap power. It didn’t matter who was throwing. He could hit anything.”
Most Outstanding Relief Pitcher went to Stephen Schoch (Maryland-Baltimore), who, as the Big Train closer, did not allow an earned run all season (30.1 innings pitched in the regular and postseason). He struck out 40 total batters and did not issue a single walk in the regular season.
“[Schoch was the] best pitcher in the league,” Colangelo said. “When the game was close in the end, he came in and did what he needed to do.”
Catcher Justin Morris (Maryland) won the Most Outstanding Fielder award. He had a 1.000 fielding percentage in the regular season to go with 64 putouts, two assists and no errors. In the League Championship Series, Morris’s outstanding defense behind the plate, while also hitting to a .500 average, earned him the LCS Most Outstanding Player honors.
“What [Morris] did behind the plate was outstanding,” Colangelo said. “Receiving, blocking, pitch selection, throwing runners out. He was the quarterback on our team. He kept us in every game.”
Jacob Koos (Stetson) received the Big Train Hustle Award for his overall contributions to the club.
“Koos was brilliant,” Colangelo said. “He did the little things, he ran, he did everything you needed him to do.”
The final award, that of Big Train Utility Man of the Year, went to Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s). The two-way star excelled both on the mound and at the plate for Bethesda, pitching to a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings and batting .340, good for sixth in the league. For his outstanding freshman campaign at St. Mary’s, where he also hit and pitched, Milam was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America and four other publications.
“[Milam] really stepped up,” Colangelo said. “He closed, he relieved, he started for us. When he wasn’t pitching he was hitting. He did everything for us. There’s a reason why he was a Freshman of the Year.”
With a team this talented, it is no wonder the Big Train won their second consecutive Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League title, and their sixth overall.
“It was a storybook, remarkable season,” Colangelo said.
Congratulations to the Big Train Awards recipients and all members of the 2017 squad for a job well done!
2017 Big Train Awards
· Most Valuable Player – James Outman (Sacramento State)
· Most Outstanding Pitcher – Ty Madrigal (St. Mary’s)
· Most Outstanding Hitter – Logan Driscoll (George Mason)
· Most Outstanding Relief Pitcher – Stephen Schoch (Maryland-Baltimore)
· Most Outstanding Fielder – Justin Morris (Marlyand)
· Big Train Hustle Award – Jacob Koos (Stetson)
· Big Train Utility Man of the Year – Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s)