NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference office announced its 2008 Little East Baseball All-Conference teams and end of the season awards this afternoon after a vote by the eight head coaches. University of Southern Maine junior shortstop Chris Burleson (Portland, Maine) earned Player of the Year honors, while UMass Boston senior Nick Conway (Methuen, Mass.) was selected Pitcher of the Year. The Huskies' freshman catcher Jordan Berthiaume (Berlin, Conn.) and Keene State College freshman outfielder Bobby Doyon (Keene, N.H.) shared Rookie of the Year recognition, while Owls' skipper Ken Howe was tabbed Coach of the Year.
Burleson is the fifth University of Southern Maine student-athlete in the program's history to be honored as the top player in the conference circuit, and first since Ryan Bourque was selected last spring. The Portland, Maine product led the Little East Conference in batting average (.424), on-base percentage (.531), runs scored (59) and slugging percentage (.722), while ranking second in hits (67), total bases (114) and triples (5). A consistent hitter, Burleson registered at least one hit in 33 of his 41 games, including 20 contests with multiple base knocks. On April 16, he went 3-for-4 from the dish with a season-best five RBI at Colby College. Burleson was also named to the all-conference first team as a shortstop.
Conway has been selected the top pitcher in the conference for the second time in the past three seasons, and is also making his second career appearance on the all-conference first team. The native of Methuen, Mass. ranked second in the Little East Conference in strikeouts (65), third in opposing batting average (.222), and fourth in earned run average (3.05). In eight starts, Conway sported a 3-4 overall record, allowing 48 hits in 56 innings of work. He reached double figures in strikeouts in two appearances this campaign, including a season-best 15 against Plymouth State on April 26. Conway tossed at least seven innings in six of his eight starts.
Berthiaume is the third Huskies' player to earn at least a share
of the annual rookie of the year award. The Berlin, Conn. product
began his career with a season-high eight-game hit streak,
including a 3-for-5 performance against MIT on March 24. Berthiaume
continued his steady hitting by reaching safely in 32 of his 42
starts, including registering at least two hits 15 times. He drove
in a season-high four runs twice, most recently at Salem State on
April 10. Berthiaume is also a first-team honoree as a catcher.
Doyon is the second Keene State College student-athlete in the program's history to earn the top rookie award. The Keene, N.H. native held a share of the conference lead in runs batted in (55), while ranking third in batting average (.416) and fourth in total bases (99). Doyon hit safely in 16 consecutive games, while recording multiple hits in 23 games. The All-Conference first team outfielder enjoyed his best showing from the plate against UMass Boston on April 19, collecting a hit in each of his four appearances and driving in three runs.
Howe led No. 13 Keene State College to the program's first regular season and tournament championships to earn his second straight Little East Conference Coach of the Year award. The Owls established a new program record for single-season wins (34), putting an additional victory between the previous high-water mark set last spring. Keene State College captured the regular season championship with a 12-2 record for the first time in the program's history, earning the right to host the annual conference championship tournament. Howe and his charges did not disappoint the home crowd, winning three straight games to hoist the championship trophy and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Owls are making their second consecutive appearance in the national tournament.
Eastern Connecticut State University and Keene State College
each placed seven student-athletes on the all-conference teams,
while the University of Southern Maine earned five selections.
Rhode Island College was one off the Huskies pace, while Western
Connecticut State University and UMass Boston were represented with
two and one honoree, respectively.
Initially formed in 1986 as a six-team men's and women's basketball conference, the Little East Conference has since grown to its present eight-school membership, sponsoring championship play in 19 intercollegiate athletics: baseball; men's and women's basketball; men's and women's cross country; field hockey; men's and women's lacrosse; men's and women's soccer; softball; women's swimming; men's and women's tennis; men's and women's indoor track; men's and women's outdoor track and women's volleyball.
2008 Little East All-Conference Teams
|Shawn Gilblair||Junior||Designated Hitter||Eastern Connecticut|
|Jordan Berthiaume||Freshman||Catcher||University of Southern Maine|
|Beau Darak||Sophomore||First Base||Keene State College|
|Jamie Chevalier||Junior||Second Base||Keene State College|
|Joe Rosseau||Senior||Third Base||Keene State College|
|Chris Burleson||Junior||Shortstop||University of Southern Maine|
|Anthony D'Alfonso||Junior||Outfield||University of Southern Maine|
|Bobby Doyon||Freshman||Outfield||Keene State College|
|Greg Ford||Senior||Outfield||Keene State College|
|Chris O'Connors||Junior||Outfield||Rhode Island College|
|Nick Conway||Senior||Pitcher||UMass Boston|
|Joe Esposito||Senior||Pitcher||Eastern Connecticut|
|Eric Fama||Junior||Relief Pitcher||Rhode Island College|
|Andrew Stacy||Junior||Designated Hitter||University of Southern Maine|
|Matt Gardiner||Senior||Catcher||Western Connecticut|
|Andrew Dewing||Freshman||First Base||Eastern Connecticut|
|Peter Olson||Senior||Second Base||Rhode Island College|
|Ryan Gaffney||Junior||Third Base||University of Southern Maine|
|Melvin Castillo||Sophomore||Shortstop||Eastern Connecticut|
|John Parke||Sophomore||Outfield||Eastern Connecticut|
|Jeff Perkins||Junior||Outfield||Keene State College|
|Nick Ross||Junior||Outfield||Western Connecticut|
|Jimmy Jagodzinski||Senior||Pitcher||Eastern Connecticut|
|Jamie Morin||Senior||Pitcher||Keene State College|
|Eric Thibault||Senior||Pitcher||Rhode Island College|
|Chris Wojick||Sophomore||Relief Pitcher||Eastern Connecticut|