PROVIDENCE, R.I. (NCBWA) – For the fifth straight year, the National
Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) has chosen its nine
Division I District Baseball Players of the Year.
From the ranks of these standouts will be the winner of the prestigious
Dick Howser Trophy, to be announced at 10:30 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, June
13, 2003, in the Old Lobby (second floor) of the Courtyard by Marriott,
101 South 10th Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska.
Pitcher Chris Lambert of Boston College is the first Eagle to cop NCBWA
District I Player of the Year. An All-Big East First Team selection for
the second straight season, he finished with an 8-2 record and was fourth
in the Big East with a 2.71 earned run average. The sophomore also had seven
complete games, 88 strikeouts and held opponents to a .216 average. Last
season, he was just the second freshman in Big East history (Charles Nagy,
Connecticut) to be named the league's Pitcher of the Year.
The District II honoree is Mike Rozema of St. John's. He led the Big
East with a .408 batting average, a total that ranks 27th nationally. Named
to the all-conference first team, the junior ranked in the top 10 in the
Big East in both hits (80) and on base percentage (.460). He also totaled
44 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, 13 stolen bases and 33 RBI during 2003.
In District III, outfielder Beau Hearod of Alabama garners accolades.
The senior started all 62 games for the Crimson Tide this season, leading
the team with 20 home runs and 82 RBI to go along with a .346 batting average.
An All-SEC First Team choice, he was also named the MVP of the SEC Championship.
Hearod is the second straight Alabama player to win in the district, following
catcher Jeremy Brown in 2002.
South Carolina pitcher David Marchbanks is the winner in District IV.
The junior was named the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year in
2003. He is tied for second in the nation in victories with a 14-2 record
and a 2.36 ERA. He leads the SEC in wins, innings pitched (126) and earned
run average. Marchbanks has 92 strikeouts this year, allowing just 19 walks.
He is 30-7 in three years as a Gamecock.
District V features pitcher Scott Lewis of Ohio State. The Big Ten Conference
Pitcher of the Year, Lewis leads the league in ERA (1.61), strikeouts (127),
batters struck out looking (33) and opponent batting average (.160). The
sophomore has been All-Big Ten First Team each of his first two seasons
and was the leading pitcher for the Buckeyes with a 9-1 record and 83.2
innings pitched. Earlier this year, he recorded 36 strikeouts in back-to-back
outings, when he fanned 20 versus Iowa and followed with 16 against Indiana.
From District VI the NCBWA selected a Nebraska standout for the fourth
straight year when first baseman Matt Hopper was named. The Big 12 Player
of the Year, Hopper led the Huskers in nearly every offensive category with
a .382 average, 89 hits, 74 runs, 22 home runs and 66 runs batted in. The
fifth-year senior also holds school and conference career marks in five
categories: hits (338); home runs (64); RBI (271); total bases (591) and
runs scored (246). NU's Jeff Leise won the honor in 2002, following former
Huskers Dan Johnson (2001) and Shane Komine (2000).
Two players share the organization's District VII choice – Tulane first
baseman Michael Aubrey and second baseman Rickie Weeks of Southern. Aubrey
was named the 2003 Conference USA Player of the Year, leading the league
with a .420 average, 102 hits and 79 RBI. The junior also had 18 home runs
and 20 doubles, plus a conference-best .505 on-base percentage. Aubrey is
the third straight player from Tulane (James Jurries; Jake Gautreau) to
win in the district award. Weeks was the No. 2 overall selection in this
week's MLB draft. The junior leads the nation in hitting with a .479 batting
average. He also ranks among the national leaders in home runs (16, 0.31
per game), triples (7, 0.14) and runs batted in (66, 1.29).
First baseman Billy Becher of New Mexico State is the District VIII Player
of the Year. The junior leads the NCAA in both home runs (32) and RBI (118)
and is the only player in the nation who has driven in more than 100 runs.
The Sun Belt Conference Player and Newcomer of the Year, he finished '03
with a .420 batting, a mark that is 13th nationally. He had 105 hits, 76
runs scored, 16 doubles and a .900 slugging percentage. Becher is the second
straight Aggie to win District VIII accolades, following outfielder Ryan
Kenning's recognition in 2002.
Finally, the District IX selection was Dustin Pedrioa of Arizona State.
A sophomore shortstop, he is No. 8 in the country with a .423 batting average.
He broke the Pac-10 record for doubles (34) and has a league-best 120 hits,
including 41 multi-hit games. He also had four separate hitting streaks
of 10 or more games en route to sharing the Pac-10 Player of the Year award.
The Tempe Regional Most Outstanding Performer, Pedrioa also tops his league
with 83 runs scored, 284 at-bats, 172 total bases and 41 extra-base hits.
The nine geographic areas of each District are broken down as follows:
I: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania
II: Connecticut, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, District
III: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida
IV: Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland
V: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
VI: Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
VII: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana
VIII: Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Montana
IX: California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Alaska