MELVILLE, N.Y. – Myckie Lugbauer came into the 2007 baseball season expecting to earn at least some playing time behind the plate.
After the University of Maine’s starting catcher was dismissed from the team in March, the freshman stepped in and played well.
Lugbauer was honored as the America East Rookie of the Year during Wednesday night’s conference awards banquet here at the Holiday Inn.
Black Bears senior Matt McGraw earned all-conference, first-team recognition as an outfielder and was UMaine’s only first-team selection.
First baseman Joel Barrett of Brewer, lefthanded starting pitcher Brad Hertzler, third baseman Curt Smith and outfielder Billy Cather were named to the second team, while freshman Kevin Jackson joins Lugbauer on the AE All-Rookie Team.
Binghamton senior first baseman Brendon Hitchcock was honored as the player of the year while Stony Brook righthander Gary Novakowski was the pitcher of the year. Tim Sinicki, who led Binghamton to a 26-17 record (17-5 AE) and its first AE regular-season title, was tabbed coach of the year.
Lugbauer, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Mahopac, N.Y., became the fifth Bear named rookie of the year. Teammates Kevin McAvoy (2006) and Greg Norton (2003) also had won the honor.
The lefthanded-hitting Lugbauer finished third on the team in batting this season at .314. He slammed five home runs and knocked in 24 runs.
Lugbauer, who started 23 games at catcher and was the designated hitter 15 times, also played errorless defense.
McGraw garnered first-team recognition after being a second-team pick last season and an all-rookie choice in 2004. The versatile senior tri-captain started 31 games in left field, 18 behind the plate and one at second base.
McGraw posted a .300 batting average with four homers and 28 RBIs. He led UMaine with 42 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts. His six triples led America East.
Barrett, a senior tri-captain, was named to the All-AE second team for the second straight season. He topped the Bears at .364 and belted seven homers with 38 RBIs and a team-leading 17 doubles.
Hertzler, a junior, impressed league coaches while going 4-4 with a 3.38 earned run average and 66 strikeouts. His six pickoffs were best in the conference.
Smith earns his first league honors since gaining all-rookie accolades in 2005. The junior batted .342 with seven homers and a team-best 43 RBIs. He also stole eight bases.
Cather, a sophomore, broke into the starting lineup and hit .297 with three homers and 24 RBIs. He also went 16-for-18 in stolen bases.
Jackson made an impressive debut with the Bears, starting 29 games in the outfield. He batted .327 with 15 RBIs and stole six bases.