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6

Feb, 2019

Six former PONY players garner preseason college baseball accolades

Baseball is back! The 2019 college baseball season gets underway next week around the country. Before teams head out to the diamond for another exciting season, PONY would like to recognize six former players who have received preseason accolades, most notably, as All-Americans.

First Team

Kevin Abel (Oregon State) Soph. Starting Pitcher (San Diego, California – North City Youth Baseball)
First Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and the NCBWA

Fans will remember Abel from Oregon State’s national championship-winning run at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska last summer in which Abel was the team’s catalyst on the mound. He was masterful for the Beavers when it mattered most, allowing just two runs over 21 innings on seven hits, seven walks and 23 strikeouts, including his Game 3 complete game victory against Arkansas in the finals. He finished the season as the Freshman Player of the Year and a Freshman All-American, after logging an 8-1 regular season record with a 2.88 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 81.1 innings pitched. OSU comes into the season ranked within the top-10, according to Baseball America, but will face stout competition in the Pac-12 North from rival Stanford. The Beavers will hope to ride Abel once again to the postseason, and fans will see if he can pick up where he left off in 2018.

Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s) Jr. Utility (Brentwood, California – Brentwood PONY Baseball)
First Team by the NCBWA

Milam was relied on heavily by his St. Mary’s squad in 2018, after breaking out as a freshman in 2017. The Gaels battled in the West Coast Conference, but settled for a fifth place finish without a postseason birth. Milam posted a 6-4 record in 13 starts with a 3.68 ERA and 81 strikeouts, while going 85.2 innings on the mound. He also held opponents to a .245 batting average. At the plate, Milam finished the season hitting .302, five home runs, 29 RBI and recording a .455 slugging percentage. He was named to the West Coast Conference’s Second Team. Milam is primed once again to lead St. Mary’s, as the strives for the postseason and Milam seeks to take his game to the next level.    

Bryce Fehmel (Oregon State) Sr. Starting Pitcher (Agoura Hills, California – Agoura PONY Baseball)
First Team by the NCBWA and Second Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper

Fehmel had a bounce back year in 2018 and earned a spot on the Pac-12’s First Team because of it. He won 10 games, while tossing a career-high 113 innings in 20 starts and posting a solid 3.19 ERA. Fehmel also was pitched in wins against Washington and Mississippi State, en route to the team’s national title. As the one-two punch with Abel, Fehmel will be largely counted on in weekend series for the Beavers this spring, and will be greatly needed if they are to repeat.

Second Team

Casey Legumina (Gonzaga) Jr. Relief Pitcher (Chandler, Arizona – Chandler Youth Baseball)
Second Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and the NCBWA

Legumina recorded a school record 13 saves for Gonzaga, as the Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference Tournament. He was a member of the conference’s First Team, while also being named the National College Baseball Writers Association’s Stopper of the Year. With a 2.77 ERA, in 48.2 innings pitched, he struck out 52 batters, while allowing just seven free passes. With a veteran team, battle hardened from postseason experience last year, Gonzaga will be counting on Legumina once again to shut the door down against opponents as the team’s closer.

Alek Manoah (West Virginia) Jr. Starting Pitcher (Miami, Florida – Tamiami Youth Baseball and Mustang World Series Champion)
Second Team by Baseball America

Manoah broke onto the scene for the Mountaineers in 2017, when he made the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Last year, West Virginia worked him into the starting rotation, while also using him out of the bullpen, and he showed he had impressive stuff on the mound. Manoah struck out 60 batters (second on the team) in 54 innings and finished the season with a respectable 4.00 ERA. Time will tell how head coach Randy Mazey wants to use Manoah this season, but with the Mountaineers still searching to fill out a consistent three-man weekend rotation, expect Manoah to start and be a relied on veteran leader when the season kicks off. With five teams ahead of West Virginia in the preseason Big 12 poll and all of them ranked in the national top-25, WVU will need Manoah to be the best that he’s been in three years with the program, if the Mountaineers want to get back to a Regional, like they did in 2017.

Third Team

Brendan Beck (Stanford) Soph. Starting Pitcher (Corona, California – Corona PONY Baseball)
Third Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and the NCBWA

During his first year in Palo Alto, Beck posted a perfect 8-0 record in 17 appearances, including 12 starts with a 2.43 ERA in 66.2 innings. For his efforts, Beck garnered multiple accolades as a Freshman All-American, while finishing the season as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Undoubtedly, Beck will be called upon more and in higher leveraged situations this year, as Stanford seeks for back-to-back Pac-12 Tournament titles and hopes to advance farther into the national playoffs.

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