Four Lakers receive preseason honors

The 2013 Mercyhurst University baseball team’s season is just around the corner.

During the offseason, the American Baseball Coaches Association’s released their Preseason All-American list. Four Lakers were named to that list: senior Ben Rawding, sophomores Dan Altavilla, Kolin McMillen and Ryan Siegel.

Rawding has been a part of a lot of the Lakers’ success these past four seasons. Last year, Rawding finished the season with a 9-0 record, 2.78 ERA and struck out 79 batters in 77 and two-thirds innings pitched.

Last season, Rawding won ECAC Pitcher of the Year, ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-American, Honorable Mention All-American by the NCBWA and ABCA/Rawlings Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year.

Rawding recognizes his teammates’ significance in his All-American ranking.

“It’s an honor, and I wouldn’t have gotten the recognition without my teammates,” Rawding said.

Altavilla and McMillen made a huge splash as freshmen last season. First year jitters did not seem to show with these two.

Last season, Altavilla represented the ABCA/Rawlings Atlantic Region First Team, NCBWA Atlantic Region First Team, PSAC West First Team selection and the Daktronics Atlantic Region Second Team.

Altavilla sees his preseason ranking of All-American as powerful motivation.

“It’s great being recognized and sets the pace not only individually but as a team for the season,” Altavilla said.

McMillen finished last season with a .380 batting average, led the team with 27 walks and a .457 on-base percentage. McMillen received many post-season accolades; as part of the ABCA/Rawlings Atlantic Region Second Team, NCBWA Honorable Mention selection, and was named to the All-PSAC West First Team.
McMillen is humble about his All-American preseason ranking.

“It’s a nice honor, but with it comes responsibilities. Individual honors are nice, but we need to continue to push each other to make each other better,” McMillen said.
Siegel was a transfer from Coastal Carolina University last season. He also made a huge splash on the team until he broke his wrist late in the season when hit by a pitch. Siegel led the Lakers in batting average with a .389 average, second on the team in slugging percentage and steals.

Siegel is appreciative of the preseason All-American ranking, but won’t let it get to his head.

“It’s an honor to be on a list with such talented players. However, baseball is a team game played on the field, not on paper,” Siegel said.

The committee also releases players to watch and newcomer to watch. Senior Zak Blair is on the “Player to Watch” list and Junior Braedon Pennington is on the “Newcomer to Watch” list. The Lakers will open the 2013 campaign with a weekend series against Chowan University Feb. 9 and 10 in Murfreesboro, N.C.