Jake Swank had a key role in his Laurel Auto Group team’s completing a stunning run to the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League playoff championship series on Tuesday night.
The next day, Swank took home two of the JCBL’s major awards prior to Laurel Auto’s opening game against regular-season champion Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
The Portage High School graduate and Juniata College player took the JCBL regular-season batting crown with a .443 average (35-for-79) and was voted the league’s MVP by managers and coaches. A fourth-year player, Swank had two home runs, 22 runs and 26 RBIs playing second base for the third-seeded team.
Defensively, Swank had a .946 fielding percentage on 112 total chances during the regular season as a middle infielder. He was part of 12 double plays.
On Tuesday, Swank beat out a close play in the top of the 10th inning, avoiding a potential inning-ending double play. Instead, the eventual game-winning run scored as third-seeded LAG upset second-seeded Martella’s Pharmacy, 5-4, snapping the defending playoff champions’ 11-year streak of reaching the league final series.
Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors left-hander Nate Davis was named the Pete Vuckovich Award winner as the league’s top regular-season pitcher. Davis posted a 5-0 record with a 0.80 earned run average in 17 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-2 Indiana (Pa.) player struck out 31 batters and walked 10.
Davis had two mound wins apiece against Laurel Auto Group and Smith Transport and one victory over Martella’s Pharmacy during the regular season.
Paul Carpenter’s left-hander Hayden Ford earned the Bill Jenkins Award as the top first-year pitcher. Ford went 5-1 with a 0.76 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. His five wins tied Davis for the league lead. A Frostburg State University player, Ford was second in the JCBL with 42 strikeouts and he allowed 17 walks.
Paul Carpenter catcher Josh Spiegel and Martella’s Pharmacy shortstop Grant Norris shared the Ken Horoho Award recognizing the top rookie position player.
Spiegel, who played two NCAA Division I seasons at Oklahoma State and earlier this season indicated he might transfer to Penn State University, batted .395 with six home runs, 36 runs and 23 RBIs during the regular season. Spiegel caught 107 1/3 innings and threw out four runners attempting to steal.
Somerset’s Norris, a Duke University infielder, batted .373 with a league-high 10 regular-season homers and 11 overall including five playoff games. He scored 30 runs and drove in 34 during the regular season. Norris had a .914 fielding percentage on 105 total chances.