LaBeau, Mikell, Jurkiewicz Headline Six Spartans Honored by NAC

LaBeau, Mikell, Jurkiewicz Headline Six Spartans Honored by NAC

CASTLETON, Vt. – After earning its fourth straight North Atlantic Conference title and going 21-3 in conference play for the second consecutive year, six members of the Castleton baseball team have been honored by the NAC, as announced Thursday morning by the league office.

Michael LaBeau, Davis Mikell, and Steven Jurkiewicz headlined the Spartan honorees, as each player received a major award. LaBeau has earned NAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Conference honors, while Mikell was named Rookie of the Year and earned Second Team All-NAC honors. Jurkiewicz was recognized for his excellence both on and off the field, as he was named Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year. Dillon Benham and Devin Hayes earned First Team All-Conference honors, while Dylan Bailey was named to the All-NAC Second Team. 

LaBeau has set new career highs in wins, complete games, and strikeouts this season. The senior is 5-3 to go with one save and has posted a 1.74 ERA in 57 innings pitched. In 10 appearances on the season, LaBeau has tossed six complete games and struck out 53 batters, while allowing just 11 earned runs and 18 walks. LaBeau was dominant in conference play this season, as he allowed just three earned runs in five starts. LaBeau went a league-best 5-0 with a 0.75 ERA and recorded 30 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. He posted two complete-game shutouts against conference foes during the regular season, highlighted by an eight-inning shutout with seven strikeouts against UMaine-Farmington on the road. In a 7-0 win against Thomas, LaBeau tossed a two-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks over seven innings. In the conference tournament, LaBeau recorded the save in the title game for the second consecutive year. In the latest national statistics, LaBeau ranks seventh in complete games and 32nd in ERA.

Mikell has had a remarkable season both on the mound and at the plate to earn NAC Rookie of the Year honors. He has made seven starts as a pitcher, compiling six wins to go with one save. Mikell ranks first in the league with a 0.96 ERA and is tied for second with 63 strikeouts. The freshman threw two complete games in conference play this season, going 3-1 with a 0.75 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 24 innings against NAC opponents. In all of Division III, Mikell is ranked sixth in ERA, 11th in hits allowed per nine innings (5.55), and 16th in strikeouts per nine innings (12.06). At the plate, he is tied for the top of the league with Player of the Year, Evan Delaney, in home runs with nine and ranks second in slugging percentage (.623) and total bases (86). He is also top five in on-base percentage (.434), doubles (10), triples (2), and walks (24). In 74 at-bats against conference foes, Mikell batted .297 with 22 hits, six doubles, four home runs, and 15 RBI. The five-time NAC Rookie of the Week played in all 42 games of the regular season, tallying 45 hits, 33 runs, 32 RBI, eight stolen bases, and a .326 batting average.

Jurkiewicz is being recognized for excelling academically and athletically throughout his undergraduate experience, while serving as a role model in both the classroom and on the field. Jurkiewicz is studying History Honors and is the only student at Castleton in the program. He has made the Dean's List every semester, was inducted into the History Honors Society, and awarded two separate academic scholarships through the history department. The senior also spent the fall of 2016 semester abroad in Venezuela. He is a four-year mentor at a local elementary school, has been a three-year writing tutor in the academic support center and won the Plato Philosophy prize. On the field, Jurkiewicz compiled a 24-6 record on the mound. The southpaw made 36 appearances, 30 starts, and threw 11 complete games. In his 202 innings of work, he tallied 110 strikeouts (4.90/9 innings) and scattered 203 hits, allowing just 63 walks and accumulating a 3.48 career ERA. Jurkiewicz has pitched in pivotal moments for Castleton, earning the win on the mound in back-to-back conference championship games.

Benham has played in 41 games for the Spartans, compiling 46 hits, five doubles, a triple, three home runs, and a .315 batting average. His 36 RBI lead the team and rank tied for second in the NAC, while he has also scored 30 runs and stolen 13 bases. In 23 conference games, Benham tallied 25 hits with four doubles, a triple, 16 RBI, and a .325 batting average. Benham secured right field all season, recording eight assists with just three errors in 67 chances for a .955 fielding percentage.

Hayes is 7-1 on the season with 56 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched, while walking just nine and allowing nine earned runs. He ranks tied for first in the league in wins (7), second in ERA (1.40), and fourth in strikeouts (56). Hayes was dominant against conference foes this season, allowing just one earned run in 28 innings for a 0.32 ERA. He allowed just 10 hits, walked seven, and recorded 23 strikeouts. In four starts against NAC opponents, Hayes went 4-0 with four complete game victories. 

Bailey has been strong all season for Castleton, playing in all 42 games. He has recorded a .311 batting average with 41 hits, 12 doubles, one home run, 31 RBI, and 19 runs scored in 132 at-bats. Bailey helped turn 19 double plays in the field and made just 12 errors in 165 total chances for a .927 fielding percentage.

Deagan Poland was named to the Sportsmanship Team after batting .324 with a team-leading 28 stolen bases this season. The centerfielder played in all 42 games for the Spartans, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage in 63 chances.

Castleton Head Coach Ted Shipley was named Co-Coach of the Year, marking the seventh time he has received the honor in his career. At the helm, Shipley has led his team to three consecutive 30-win seasons for the first time in program history. The team's 34 wins this year is tied for the all-time program record in a single season. Shipley's squad is the league leader in several offensive categories, including home runs (24), stolen bases (96), batting average (.292), and slugging percentage (.417). Defensively, Castleton topped the league with a .961 fielding percentage to go along with a NAC-best 2.07 ERA, while giving up the fewest hits (264), runs (100), earned runs (74), walks (87) and home runs (6). Nationally, the Spartans lead all of Division III in ERA, shutouts (11), and WHIP (1.09), while also ranking second in hits allowed per 9 innings (7.40), fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.46), ninth in win-loss percentage (.810), and 10th in walks allowed per 9 innings (2.44).

New England College's Evan Delaney was named NAC Player of the Year, while Lyndon Head Coach Tom White earned Co-Coach of the Year honors. To view the full NAC All-Conference release, click here