Shoreham-Wading River senior Brian Morrell, who led the Wildcats to the Class A county championship in May, became only the second player to ever win the coveted Carl Yastrzemski Award more than once. Morrell was awarded the trophy for most outstanding baseball player in Suffolk County Tuesday night at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook to cap the annual all-county dinner.
“Wow,” Morrell said as he accepted the award. “This is truly an honor to be a recipient two years in a row. Winning this award has always been a dream of mine and to get it twice is truly an honor.”
Morrell, who is committed to play for the University of Notre Dame, will now wait to hear if his name is called in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, which began Monday with the first two rounds. Rounds 3-10 were Tuesday and while some teams expressed interest, his name was not called. The final 30 rounds are Wednesday.
The right-handed pitcher/shortstop finished his five-year varsity career with a season for the ages this spring. He batted .500 and posted a .900 slugging percentage. He hit 7 home runs and drove in 39 RBIs. On the mound, where he clocked a 90-91 mph fastball that topped out at 95, he threw 67.1 innings. He compiled a 10-1 record, losing for the first time in the Long Island Championship game against Wantagh. He posted a 1.24 ERA, struck out 93 and limited opposing hitters to a .124 batting average.
“He outdid every offensive category from last year, except for the home runs,” said Shoreham coach Kevin Willi.
At every game Morrell pitched, beginning with scrimmages in late March, at least five MLB scouts watched with radar guns.
Morrell finished his career with six no-hitters, three of which came this season. He leaves Shoreham as the program’s all-time leader for career runs, hits, home runs and RBIs, among other categories. On Monday night, he was announced as the winner of Newsday’s Long Island Player of the Year.
In the county championship clinching victory over Bayport-Blue Point, Morrell hit a grand slam and pitched a complete game, giving up one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts.
The Wildcats’ 24 wins this year were a program record for a single season. The team lost only twice.
It’s the fourth time a local player has won the award since 2012. Shoreham’s Michael O’Reilly won in 2012, Riverhead’s Matt Crohan won in 2013 and now Morrell in consecutive years. Shoreham has had four Yastrzemski winners, beginning with former Major Leaguer Keith Osik in 1987.
Ron Witmeyer of East Islip is the only other player to have won the award twice. He won in 1984 and 1985. He was a seventh round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 1988 and played in 11 games at the major league level. The Yastrzemski Award has been given out since 1968. Other notable winners in recent years have been Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008 and Steven Matz of the New York Mets in 2009.
Photo caption: Shoreham senior Brian Morrell, left, with coach Kevin Willi. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)