NECBL notebook: North Adams' Jackson Coutts picks up another honor
The hits just keep on coming for Jackson Coutts.
Coutts, who played first base for the North Adams SteepleCats in 2018, was named to the NECBL All-Star first team earlier in the week. On Thursday, the rising sophomore at the University of Rhode Island was named the league's rookie of the year.
According to the final NECBL statistics, Coutts was third in the league with a .376 batting average. He had six home runs in 133 at-bats, driving in 28 and scoring 16. In 133 at-bats, he struck out only 13 times.
Coutts had a slugging percentage of .504, an on-base percentage of .423, and an OPS of .927, good for fourth in the league.
The North Adams first baseman had a 1.000 fielding percentage, making no errors in 151 chances after playing 21 games at first base. He was the only first baseman in the NECBL to play more than 20 games and finish the season without an error.
In his other 15 games for the SteepleCats, Coutts was the designated hitter.
Brandon Smith of Keene, and Palm Beach Atlantic, hit .376 with 11 home runs and a league-best 49 runs batted in, and he was named the league's most valuable player.
The top pro prospect is Stanford's Tim Tawa, who played at Newport and finished the season with a .336 batting average and a .616 slugging percentage. The outfielder made one error and had five assists in 53 chances.
John Raiola of the Valley Blue Sox was named the manager of the year. He led the Sox to a second consecutive NECBL championship.
The other season-ending winners in the NECBL are as follows:
Mitchell Golden of Keene and Georgia Southern won the 10th player award; Endy Morales of Valley and Southern New Hampshire is the Robin Roberts Best Starting Pitcher; Eddie McCabe of Danbury and Georgetown is the league's Best Defensive Player; Nathan Wrigher of Newport and Bryant won the Joe Nathan Top Relief Pitcher award.
Cam Walsh of Plymouth and Northeastern hit .378 to win the batting title, beating Valley's Tyler Kapucinski by two points. C.J. Dandeneau of New Bedford and UConn was named the league's most improved player.
The Worcester Bravehearts shared the Futures League championship with the Martha's Vineyard Sharks. If the Bravehearts are to go back-to-back, they will do it without their manager.
J.P. Pyne has resigned as manager, as he was named this week as the head baseball coach at Amherst College.
"I think his personality works perfectly when you're talking about guiding a team of 18-22 year olds through either a spring or summer of baseball," Worcester general manager Dave Peterson said in a statement, "in our case, preparing them for the ultimate goal of playing professional baseball."
Pyne also stepped down as the head coach at Division III Clark University in Worcester, where he worked for three years.
Before going to Clark, Pyne had worked as the pitching coach at the University of Maine, as a head coach at Saint Anselm and Daniel Webster, and an assistant coaching spot at his alma mater Saint Joseph's (Maine). He also worked in the independent CanAm League, and once managed the NECBL's Keene Swamp Bats and the Futures League's Nashua Silver Knights.
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