Koperniak, DeMartino named to All-NECBL first team
Two NECBL standouts from Berkshire County were both named to the All-NECBL first team on Monday.
Matt Koperniak of Adams, who played for the North Adams SteepleCats, and Drew DeMartino of Pittsfield, who played for the Sanford Mainers, were both named to the team. North Adams pitcher Nick Payero was named to the second team.
Koperniak and DeMartino were the lone first-team selections from their respective teams. In all, 10 NECBL teams have representatives on the first team, with Mystic and Upper Valley recording three each.
NECBL champion Keene had reliever Justin Willis and outfielder Randy Bednar both make the first team.
It's the first All-NECBL first-team selection for Koperniak. The rising senior at Trinity was in his second season in North Adams, and improved on everything.
Koperniak made the first team as the designated hitter, and all he did was hit. Koperniak had a .376 batting average with five home runs and 37 runs batted in. He was second in the NECBL in batting, and led the SteepleCats in each of those categories. He also struck out only 14 times, the fewest of any player in North Adams. His 31 runs scored were second on the team.
He went hitless in back-to-back games only twice, June 22-23 and July 12-13, and those were the longest hitless streaks of his season.
Koperniak did have a season-best, six-game hitting streak when he was 10 for 23, to close out the regular season.
Koperniak led the SteepleCats with a .442 on-base percentage, a .589 slugging percentage and a 1.030 OPS.
Last year in North Adams, he hit .318 with a home run and 24 RBI.
DeMartino led the Mainers in hitting with a .319 batting average, and led his team with a .392 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage and .949 OPS.
He was second on the team with six home runs and second with 31 RBI.
DeMartino had a seven-game hit streak from June 7-17, where he went 11 for 27.
DeMartino is a rising junior at the University of Hartford.
The third NECBL All-Star with local ties is second teamer Payero. The rising sophomore from Seton Hall finished the season with a 5-1 record, a 2.25 earned-run average, both leading the SteepleCats. He was second in the NECBL in wins and in ERA.
Payero pitched 36 innings, good for second on the SteepleCats. He was also second on the team with 34 strikeouts. His 10 walks were the fewest given up by a SteepleCat starter and he record a .205 opponents batting average.
He started the season with five consecutive victories, and had a no-decision before dropping a 3-2 decision to the Valley Blue Sox on the final night of the regular season.
Three times in his seven appearances, Payero did not give up a run.
All-NECBL First Team
Team listed first. College listed second.
C — Colton Bender, Newport, Quinnipiac; 1B — Terry Bowens, Mystic, Central Connecticut; 2B — Drew DeMartino, Sanford, Hartford; SS — Austin Gauthier, Vermont, Hofstra; 3B — Cole Frederick, Upper Valley, Jacksonville (Ala.) State.
OF — Randy Bednar, Keene, Maryland; Sam Cochrane, Winnipesaukee, Eckerd; Alan Burnsed, Martha's Vineyard, Florida Southern.
DH — Matt Koperniak, North Adams, Trinity
Starting pitchers — Jordan DiValerio, Upper Valley, St. Joseph's; Trey McLoughlin, Mystic, Fairfield; Ryan Murphy, Vermont, LeMoyne.
Relievers — Rob Griswold, Valley, LIU Brooklyn; Nick Robino, Mystic, Wagner; Justin Willis, Keene, UConn.
Closer — Aaron Haase, Upper Valley, Wichita State.
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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