WHITINGHAM, Vt. --- Five Thomas College baseball players have been named to the All-North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Baseball Teams for the 2016 season, the conference office announced Thursday afternoon. Seniors Nik Beeson (Manchester, N.H. / Trinity) and Anree Benitez (Orlando, Fla. / University) were named to the first team, while senior Derek Kane (Natick, Mass. / Natick), junior Dominic Esposito (Portland, Maine / Deering) and freshman Zach Mathieu (Oakland, Maine / Messalonskee) were named to the second team.
Regular-season champion Castleton captured the bulk of the major awards as senior shortstop Nick Swim was named the NAC Player of the Year, fellow senior Sam Spencer was tabbed Pitcher of the Year and teammate Charles Stapleford earned Rookie of the Year. Lyndon's Reece Tanguay was voted the Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year and Colby-Sawyer head coach Jim Broughton was chosen as the Coach of the Year.
Beeson, who earned his third straight first-team honor, is the team's top hitter with a .403 average (50-of-124), nine doubles, two triples, 25 RBIs, 20 runs scored and two stolen bases. He leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage (.441), slugging percentage (.508), hits, doubles and RBIs. Among NAC players, he ranks second in hits, batting average and total bases (63), fourth in doubles and slugging percentage, fifth in triples and seventh in on-base percentage.
Against North Atlantic Conference competition, Beeson hit an astounding .447 (34-of-76) in 24 games with nine doubles, a triple, 19 RBIs, two stolen bases, 15 runs scored and drew seven walks while also compiling a .506 on-base percentage and a .592 slugging percentage.
Beeson has also made seven appearances on the mound for the Terriers, starting four games. He has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.33 earned-run average, two saves, two complete games and 24 strikeouts in 27 innings. Beeson was 3-0 with two complete games in three league appearances, posting a 2.37 ERA and striking out 17 in 19 innings. He was selected as a catcher for the second time in three years after being named to the team as a shortstop last season.
Benitez earned his third all-league honor overall and his second first-team selection. The Terriers' leadoff hitter, Benitez is hitting .321 (42-of-131) through 37 games with five doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs and a team-leading 30 runs scored. He is also a NAC-best 25-of-28 on stolen-base attempts and has been hit by a pitch a league-high nine times. Starting all 24 NAC games in center field, Benitez hit .284 (13-of-81) with three doubles, a triple and six RBIs, while stealing 15 bases and scoring 18 runs. He was also hit by a pitch seven times.
In addition to leading the league in stolen bases and hit-by-pitch, he currently ranks fourth among all NAC players in at-bats and runs scored and seventh in hits.
Kane was named to the second team for the second consecutive year, this time at first base after earning the honor as a utility player last season. He currently carries a .339 (40-of-118) average with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs, 20 RBIs, four stolen bases and 29 runs scored, while drawing a team-best 17 walks. Kane ranks second among NAC players in triples, fifth in total bases (59) and slugging percentage (.500), sixth in runs scored, seventh in walks, eighth in on-base percentage (.432) and is one of eight NAC players to hit multiple home runs this season.
Kane has also made six starts on the mound, going 1-3 with a 6.94 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings and made just three errors in 228 chances in the field for a .987 fielding percentage.
Kane hit .346 (27-of-78) in 24 league games with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, 11 RBIs, four steals, while drawing a team-high 11 walks and scoring a team-leading 22 runs. In league play, he made four starts, going 1-2 with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Esposito has appeared in a team-high 17 games on the mound for the Terriers entering this weekend's NAC Tournament, compiling a 4-1 record overall, a 2.02 earned-run average, four saves and 28 strikeouts in 49 innings. Although primarily used out of the bullpen, he has made four starts and thrown three complete games. Esposito is tied for the team lead in strikeouts and is second in innings pitched. He leads all NAC pitchers (or shares the lead) in appearances and saves and ranks second in ERA and fifth in strikeouts.
Esposito made appearances in half of Thomas' 24 NAC games, compiling a 4-0 record with a league-low 1.13 ERA, three saves and 17 strikeouts in 32 innings. He also started two NAC games, throwing complete games in both.
Mathieu has had a strong rookie season, currently ranking fourth on the team with a .311 battng average. Entering the NAC Tournament, he is 37-of-119 at the plate with four doubles, one triple, one home run, 12 RBIs, 18 runs scored and 10 walks. Mathieu has also posted a .378 on-base percentage and a .387 slugging percentage. In league play, he ranked second on the team with a .351 batting average (27-of-77).
NAC All-Conference selections are determined by a vote of the conference coaches.
New to the conference this season is the selection of a Sportsmanship Team which is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The honorees are individuals who have positively affected the baseball culture and game environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity that go beyond the playing rules and etiquette. Kane was Thomas' selection to the team.
2016 NAC Baseball All-Conference Teams
To view a PDF list of the All-Conference team click HERE.
C - Nik Beeson, Senior, Thomas
1B - JT Whitten, Senior, Husson
2B - Doug Avellino, Sophomore, Colby-Sawyer
SS - Nick Swim, Senior, Castleton
3B - Ryan Rebar, Junior, Husson
UT - Zach Bahan, Junior, Castleton
OF - Anree Benitez, Senior, Thomas
OF - Sean Cabaniss, Senior, UMaine-Farmington
OF - Dan Errico, Senior, Castleton
P - Sam Spencer, Senior, Castleton
P - Charles Stapleford, Freshman, Castleton
C - Jordan Croteau, Junior, UMaine-Farmington
1B - Derek Kane, Senior, Thomas
2B - Reece Tanguay, Senior, Lyndon
SS - Ryan Cordeiro, Sophomore, Lyndon
3B - Vincent Backert, Junior, New England College
UT - Jimmy Neal, Senior, UMaine-Farmington
OF - Nathan Frongillo, Junior, Colby-Sawyer
OF - Zach Mathieu, Freshman, Thomas
OF - Jackson Musco, Junior, Colby-Sawyer
P - Dominic Esposito, Junior, Thomas
P - Ben Walls, Junior, Husson
Player of the Year
Nick Swim, Senior, Castleton
Pitcher of the Year
Sam Spencer, Senior, Castleton
Rookie of the Year
Charles Stapleford, Freshman, Castleton
Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year
Reece Tanguay, Senior, Lyndon
Coach of the Year
Jim Broughton, 22nd Season, Colby-Sawyer
Jim Buckley, Junior, Castleton
Andrew Carbone, Sophomore, Colby-Sawyer
Derek Kane, Senior, Thomas
Zachary Nolan, Senior, New England College
Kyle Peterson, Senior, UMaine-Farmington
Mike Raimondi, Senior, Lyndon
Dan Whitney, Senior, Husson