Capping off an outstanding individual year, Princeton baseball’s Mike Ford made Ivy League history by earning both the Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. He is not only the first player to win both top honors in the same season, but also in a career. Ford headlined the Tigers’ all-league selections, picking up unanimous first team honors along with Alec Keller, while Alex Flink and Zak Hermans were tabbed honorable mention.
“The year that Mike had was just so amazing, that being named both Pitcher and Player of the Year turns it into a historic season,” said head coach Scott Bradley. “We’ve had a lot of great players come through Princeton, but to have somebody who had this type of year on the mound and as a position player is really is unprecedented. It is nice to see the other coaches in the league also agree with those thoughts.”
Ford was voted unanimous first team at both pitcher and first base, becoming only the second player in league history to receive two unanimous first team accolades in the same year since Harvard’s Trey Hendricks in 2004. He is the third dual first teamer overall, as Army’s Shannon Smith was the first All-Ivy/EIBL double first team selection in 1990.Ford is the first Princetonian to ever win Player of the Year and has made Ivy history as the only player to receive all three top awards in a career, as he was named Rookie of the Year in 2011. Winning Pitcher of the Year marks the second consecutive season and third time overall a Tiger has earned the honor, following Hermans’ selection in 2012.
At the plate, Ford hit .320 (47-for-147) for second-best on the team. He ranked in the top-10 in the Ivy League in 10 categories, including No. 1 in walks (31), No. 2 in home runs (6), No. 3 in RBI (38) and No. 4 in on-base percentage (.443).
On the mound, he went 6-0 with a league-leading 0.98 ERA, third-best in a season in program history. In nine starts, he tallied five complete games, all in Ivy play, and a shutout victory. Ford ranked first in earned runs allowed (7), opposing batting average (.191) and home runs allowed (0) to place in the top-10 in 10 statistical categories in the league.
Ford nearly won the triple crown in league play, with Ivy-bests in homers (5) and RBI (22), but finished second in batting average (.394) to Keller.
The owner of the top batting average in league (.395), Keller earned his second consecutive first team honor and the conference’s Blair Bat award. The junior is the first Tiger to boast the top average since Sal Iacono ’07 in 2007.
On the year Keller ranked in the top-10 in six categories, hitting .378 (54-for-143) and tallying 32 runs, 17 RBI, 14 walks, nine doubles, four homers and a triple. Impressively, in 143 at-bats he only struck out 10 times.
“For a year that was a little disappointing in which we didn’t reach our ultimate goal, we had some terrific performances individually capped off with Mike Ford and Alec Keller, who won the Blair Bat for the highest batting average in Ivy League games and was a unanimous First-Team All-Ivy,” commented Bradley.
Rounding out Princeton’s honorees is the senior tandem of honorable mention selections in Flink and Hermans. Third baseman Flink concludes his career earning his second conference honor. He went 31-for-127 (.244) in 39 appearances with 14 RBI, 13 runs, 12 walks and five doubles.
Hermans earns his second career All-Ivy honor, picking up first team accolades last season. This year he went 3-4 with a 2.40 ERA, 10th-best in the league, over nine appearances. He threw six complete games and a shutout spanning 56.1 innings. Hermans’ amassed 55 strikeouts, fourth-best in the league, and only gave up 15 earned runs and 12 walks.
“Zak Hermans who was last year’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Year had a very good year, just some of the results didn’t go his way. So for him to be honorable mention is well deserved. Alex Flink was steady and got some big hits for us throughout the year, so it was nice for him to be recognized as well,” concluded Bradley.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Mike Ford, Princeton (Jr., 1B/P – Belle Mead, N.J.)
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Mike Ford, Princeton (Jr., 1B/P – Belle Mead, N.J.)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Joe Purritano, Dartmouth (Fr., DH – Woodcliff Lake, N.J.)
FIRST-TEAM ALL-IVY (17)^
P – Mike Ford, Princeton (Jr., 1B/P – Belle Mead, N.J.)*
P – Michael Johnson, Dartmouth (Sr. – Georgetown, Mass.)
P – Dave Speer, Columbia (Jr. – Westport, Conn.)*
RP – Thomas Olson, Dartmouth (So. – Manhattan, Kan.)
C – Matt MacDowell, Dartmouth (So. – Falmouth, Maine)
C – Chris Piwinski, Yale (Sr. – Folsom, Calif.)
1B – Mike Ford, Princeton (Jr., 1B/P – Belle Mead, N.J.)*
2B – Matt Parisi, Dartmouth (So. – Clermont, Fla.)
SS – Aaron Silbar, Columbia (Jr. – Jacksonville, Fla.)*
3B – Nick Lombardi, Dartmouth (So. – Saugus, Calif.)
OF – Ennis Coble, Dartmouth (Sr. – Atlanta)
OF – Ryan Deitrich, Penn (Sr. – Collegeville, Pa.)
OF – Jeff Keller, Dartmouth (Jr. – Atherton, Calif.)*
OF – Alec Keller, Princeton (Jr. – Richmond, Va.)*
OF – Jordan Serena, Columbia (So. – Parker, Colo.)
UT – Rick Brebner, Penn (Jr. – Langhorne, Pa.)*
DH – Joe Purritano, Dartmouth (Fr. – Woodcliff Lake, N.J.)*
SECOND-TEAM ALL-IVY (13)
P – Joe Donino, Columbia (Jr. – Avon, Conn.)
P – David Hickey, Yale (Jr. – Darien, Conn.)
P – Kyle Hunter, Dartmouth (Sr. – Palm City, Fla.)
RP – Michael Byrne, Cornell (Fr. – Vienna, Va.)
C – Mike Fischer, Columbia (Jr. – Scotia, N.Y.)
1B – Alex Black, Columbia (Sr. – The Woodlands, Texas)
2B – Tanner Anderson, Harvard (So. – Tampa, Fla.)
SS – Mike Martin, Harvard (So. – Buffalo Grove, Ill.)
3B – Brent Lawson, Yale (Fr. – Newport Beach, Calif.)
OF – Brandon Kregel, Harvard (So. – Lilburn, Ga.)
OF – Will Marcal, Brown (So. – Lexington, Mass.)
OF – JD Whetsel, Cornell (So. – Liberty Twp., Ohio)
DH – Joey Falcone, Columbia (So. – Brooklyn, N.Y.)
HONORABLE MENTION (12)
P – Tim Giel, Columbia (Sr. – Gibsonia, Pa.)
P – Zak Hermans, Princeton (Sr. – Coppell, Texas)
P – Zach McCulley, Cornell (Jr. – Pensacola, Fla.)
P – Cole Sulser, Dartmouth (Sr. – Santa Ysabel, Calif.)
RP – John Beasley, Penn (Sr. – Virginia Beach, Va.)
RP – Cale Hanson, Yale (Jr. – Katy, Texas)
RP – Kevin Roy, Columbia (Fr. – Houston)
C – Austin Bossart, Penn (So. – O’Fallon, Ill.)
2B – Brenton Peters, Cornell (Sr. – Leesburg, Va.)
SS – Tom D’Alessandro, Cornell (Jr. – Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3B – Alex Flink, Princeton (Sr. – Dallas)
DH – Kevin Tatum, Cornell (So. – Woodbridge, Va.)
* Unanimous Selection
^ Due to ties in voting, the first team expanded to 17