Odenwaelder Named NESCAC Player of the Year
Contact: Mike O'Brien
HADLEY, Mass. – Mike Odenwaelder ’16 of the Amherst College baseball team made history today when he was named the 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year, becoming the first player ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. Joining him on the all-conference first team were Taiki Kasuga ’14 and John Cook ’15, as selected by the conference coaches.
Odenwaelder is also the second player in league history to win both awards during the course of their career and becomes the third Jeff to win Player of the Year accolades in the past four seasons, joining Bob Cook ’13 (2012) and Mike Samela ’12 (2011). In two seasons donning the Purple & White, the designated hitter from Goshen, Conn. has earned two first team honorees to go along with his Rookie and Player of the Year awards.
The sophomore leads the NESCAC in batting average and slugging percentage with marks of .406 and .633, respectively. His 52 hits and six home runs are second most in the league, while also ranking within the top-10 in the NESCAC in runs scored (33), RBI (30) and on-base percentage (.447). Odenwaelder has also made seven appearances on the mound (two starts) and is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 21 of the 65 batters he’s faced.
Kasuga, a senior co-captain, earned first team recognition for the first time in his career after garnering second team laurels a year ago. The 2013 NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year ranks second in the league with 113 assists and has a .949 fielding percentage in 177 chances. He’s turned 10 double plays this season and has been terrific at the plate as well, ranking third in the league in hits (51), sixth in batting average (.359) and seventh in runs (30).
Cook earned his first all-conference award of his career and has been tremendous on the mound for Amherst. The junior southpaw has the fourth lowest ERA in the league (2.10) and the fourth most strikeouts (62). He has walked just five batters all season.
Amherst earned the No. 2 seed from the West Division in the 2014 NESCAC Championships with a 9-3 conference mark, claiming its fourth consecutive postseason appearance. With a program record 28 wins, the team’s seasons continues today with NCAA Division III Baseball Regional action beginning at 4:30 p.m. against Stevens Institute of Technology.