STANDISH, ME – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) has released its baseball postseason awards Saint Joseph's College, the 2012 GNAC Champion, is well-represented on the list.
Eight St. Joe's players have received honors with two collecting top yearly accolades. Junior pitcher Chad Rafferty (Keene, N.H./Keene) has claimed First Team All-GNAC and Pitcher of the Year honors, senior shortstop Dan Achorn (Bow, N.H./Bow), junior second baseman Brandon Chase (Naples, Maine/Lake Region), and freshman Joe Coyne (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) have earned First Team mention, and freshman catcher Nic Lops (South Portland, Maine/Cheverus) is the 2012 GNAC Rookie of the Year and a Second Team honoree.
Sophomore Lincoln Sanborn (Standish, Maine/Bonny Eagle) is listed on the Second Team twice – as a pitcher as well as a utility player – and junior first baseman Mike Pratt (Dartmouth, Mass./Bishop Stang) has also collected Second Team accolades. Sophomore right fielder Alex Lorenc (Nanuet, N.Y./Clarkstown South) is a Third Team selection.
Rafferty is the third Saint Joseph's hurler in the last four seasons – with Pat Moran '10 (2009) and current teammate Sam Murray (Walpole, Mass.) (2010) being the others – to claim the GNAC Pitcher of the Year honor. The righthander is currently 8-0 with a 2.28 ERA and a team-high 55 strikeouts in 51.1 innings and leads the GNAC in wins and ranks second in the conference in K's and third in ERA.
Rafferty is quietly making his way up the rankings in several SJC career pitching categories. With an unbelievable 19-1 record over three seasons, he is tied with Moran for third in victories and is currently tied for eighth in ERA (3.14). Rafferty, a 2011 Third Team All-GNAC choice and Second Team All-New England (NEIBA) selection, also ranks ninth in career strikeouts (163).
Achorn has emerged as one of the elite table-setters in the GNAC while hitting second in the St. Joe's lineup as a senior. A slick fielder and fine on-field leader, Achorn has stepped up his game with the bat by posting career-high offensive numbers this spring as he ranks second on the team in batting average (.361), runs (33) and hits (48) and is third on the club in doubles (10).
Chase has been a force in the Monks' lineup all season long and leads the conference in home runs (7), triples (6), RBI (38) and slugging percentage (.669) as a first-year starter. A well-rounded hitter who can jack balls over the fence or drop down bunts for hits, Chase is currently hitting .347 (41-118) with 24 runs and five doubles and leads the team with seven stolen bases in as many attempts.
Coyne, the first SJC freshman to garner First Team All-Conference accolades since Charlie Furbush earned the same honor in 2005, is currently leading the team in hits (50) and ranks second in doubles (11) and third in batting average (.350). One of the top young players in New England, Coyne has started 23 games at designated hitter and 18 behind the plate and has batted third in 38 games for the nationally-ranked Monks.
Lops is just the fourth Saint Joseph's player – joining Jesse LaCasse '03 (2000), Wade Oliver '09 (2006) and Ian Lee '11 (2008) – since the 2000 campaign to garner conference top-rookie honors. He currently leads the GNAC with a .420 (47-112) batting average and has tallied 21 runs, five doubles and 25 RBI in 35 contests and claimed the GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player award after hitting .364 (4-11) with a double and two RBI in three tourney victories. In a thrilling come-from-behind win over Suffolk in the championship game, Lops came through in the clutch with the game-winning hit, a two-run single that capped a five-run ninth inning.
Sanborn, a first-year player who transferred in from NCAA DI St. John's University, has served as a two-way contributor for the Monks this spring. As a starting pitcher, Sanborn is 6-0 with a 3.45 ERA and 50 K's – against just 12 walks - in 44.1 innings. As a third baseman, he is hitting .289 (24-83) with 20 runs, five doubles and 14 RBI.
Pratt, a 2011 First Team All-GNAC and Second Team All-Region (NEIBA) honoree, is currently hitting .305 (43-141) with 30 runs, a team-high 13 doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI. The first baseman has started and batted cleanup in all 41 games and ranks second on the squad in homers, RBI and slugging percentage (.525).
Lorenc, a Second Team choice last spring, is hitting .339 (43-127) with 30 runs, five doubles, five home runs, 27 RBI and a .433 on-base percentage. He leads the team in productive plate appearances (91), a stat tracked by the Monks to recognize unselfish at bats that yield positive results for the team.
Saint Joseph's, 36-5 overall and 14-2 in GNAC games under the guidance of 20th-year Head Coach Will Sanborn '86 this spring, captured the conference crown with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Suffolk in the GNAC tourney championship game on Sunday. St. Joe's has won seven conference titles in the last eight years and is set to make the program's sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last seven seasons later this month.