BASEBALL: ACBL MVP award shared Center Moriches Battlecats catcher Joe Solomeno (Pace) and Shelter Island Bucks infielder Thomas Roulis (Dartmouth) were named co-winners of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Most Valuable Player Award. Solomeno also collected the league’s Hitting Award, awarded to the player with the highest batting average. Staten Island catcher Gabby Molina (Keystone) earned the slugging award with a .726 slugging percentage.
Southampton lefthander Paul Paez (Rio Hondo Junior College) reeled in the Most Valuable Pitcher Award after leading the league in wins and strikeouts.
Voting was done by a panel of the 17 field managers in the ACBL. The co-MVP honors were the first since 2009 when Jersey’s Ken Gregory and Riverhead’s Peter Greskoff split the award.
Solomeno had one of the best years in the league’s history, leading all hitters in average (.421), hits (61), doubles (14), runs batted in (53) and total bases (96). His year included a five-hit effort on opening night, a 10-9 triumph over Westhampton, and a stretch of 11 straight games in which he had at least one RBI. He was the starting catcher for the Hampton Division All-Star Team on July 19 at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
All Roulis did in his summer on Shelter Island was lead the league in runs scored (41) and stolen bases (24) while hitting at a .399 clip and finishing second behind Solomeno in hits with 59. He sparked a Bucks offense that led the league in runs scored with 281, leading the first-year squad to the Hampton Division regular-season crown. Roulis enjoyed a mid-season stretch in which he had a hit in 14 consecutive games.
Paez, an 18th-round pick of the New York Mets this year, dominated from day one in Southampton, striking out 12 over five innings in his debut against Shelter Island on June 4. He fanned a season-best 13 in Southampton’s victory over Riverhead on July 14, and Paez tied former Riverhead right-hander Nick Tropeano for single-season wins by recording his seventh in the Breakers’ 9-4 triumph over Center Moriches on July 22.
He finished his season with 82 strikeouts, breaking Tropeano’s Hamptons mark of 77 in 2009. It also put Paez just outside the top five in ACBL history. Paez, who was named the starting pitcher for the Hampton Division All-Stars, limited hitters to 35 hits in 60 regular-season innings.
Molina was a mainstay behind the plate for Staten Island, but he also wielded a mighty bat. Of the senior’s 27 hits this season, 16 went for extra bases, including 11 doubles and five home runs.