Coach, players win top Mac honors

Tyler Sworden and Tyler Sworden

Last week the MAC handed out its awards for the 2009 season. A talented Falcon team produced four All-MAC First Teamers and two Second Teamers. Danny Schmitz was also named conference coach of the year.

This spring Schmitz became only the fifth coach in league history to reach the 500 win plateau. He has been at the helm for the orange and brown for 19 seasons having also won the award in 1994 and 1995.

‘You’re only as good as the people around you,’ Schmitz said. ‘I am blessed to work with the coaches we have and the players we have.’

Schmitz is the first one to tell you that the coaching honor is really a testament to the entire team. ‘It all boils down to the players buying into the philosophies and we have a good thing going here.’

Sophomore Brennan Smith headlines the list of Falcons on the all-conference team having been named pitcher of the year. He is only the third Falcon pitcher to earn the honor.

Smith emerged as the number one starter this season after the team was left scrambling for consistent pitching. All three projected starters were lost, one to signing professionally and the other two had season ending surgery.

‘Last summer I worked hard because I really wanted in the rotation,’ Smith said.

The hard throwing righty finished the season 8-4 and’ a 4.41 ERA, best in the MAC. Smith also was second in the league in strikeouts and perhaps more importantly for the season the opposition only hit .234 against him, the lowest average for any pitcher in the conference.

‘My name is on the trophy but really this is a team award,’ Smith said. ‘I had a lot of run support and guys stepping up in the field that helped me out along the way.’

Joining Smith on the first team were junior Logan Meisler, senior Ryan Shay and sophomore pitcher Matt Malewitz.

Shay was fifth in the county averaging 1.46 runs per game while at the same time ranking in the top ten league leaders in ten different categories.

‘Ryan Shay was born to be a baseball player and hopefully he will have an opportunity to play professionally,’ Schmitz said.

Meisler ended the season red hot hitting in 8 of the last 9 games while batting over .500. The second baseman is one of many bright spots to look forward to next season.

Like Smith, Malewitz helped fill a void in the starting rotation this year as the number two starter. It was his first year with the Falcons after transferring from Grand Rapids Community College.

Junior catch Tyler Elkins and junior third baseman Derek Spencer earned sports on the second team. Elkins was second in the MAC hitting .406 for the year. Spencer was one of the top conference run producers having 57 RBIs, good for fourth in the MAC.

‘Everybody we got has done a good job to get BG back to a top MAC contender,’ Shay said. ‘Hopefully they can continue their winning ways.’