Chase Larsson of the Cameron Aggies is the recipient of the 2011 Tino Martinez DII Player of the Year Award. The award is presented to the most outstanding player in DII college baseball. The annual honor is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan, United States Olympian, first round draft pick and MLB All-Star, Tino Martinez.
Larsson didn’t just have one of the most prolific offensive seasons of the year, he complied some of the most impressive numbers in DII history. The slugging 6’4” outfielder from Vancouver, BC, finished the season for the Aggies leading DII in home runs (29), RBI (84), slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (190). He also finished the regular season batting .432, good for 11th overall in the nation.
A former 18th round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals out of high school, Larsson was also named the Lone Star Conference Player of the Year and was awarded the South Central Region Player of the Year by Daktronics, the American Baseball Coaches Association and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Early in the season Larsson tied a school record with eight RBIs in a single game and matched a school and conference records when he belted three home runs in a single contest. Larsson also incredibly established a new NCAA Division II record when he mashed a homerun in nine consecutive games during a stretch in March.
The winner of the Tino Martinez Award was chosen by a panel of DII baseball media and coaches from across the nation. Their votes narrowed down a list of 47 semifinalists to eight finalists. A final ranking of the remaining student-athletes was then tallied to determine the winner. Fans and supporters were also given the opportunity to participate in the selection process as an online vote was also taken. Those results were combined with the panel to select the winner.
Mount Olive’s Carter Capps, the 2011 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s National Pitcher of the Year, finished in a close second. Matt Johnson of the Arkanas Tech Wonder Boys and Barry’s Dean Green also fininshed near the top, placing third and fourth respectively. Dodson McPherson of Wingate was fifth, Ryan Thompson from Franklin Pierce was sixth and Ashland pitcher Ajay Meyer and Nathan Minnich from Sheperd rounded out the top eight.
Bryan Fogle of Erskine won the first edition of the award after batting .430 and leading DII with 28 home runs, 103 RBI (the second most in NCAA history) and 203 total bases. Fogle was drafted by Tampa Bay following the season. Runner-up Hayden Simpson of Southern Arkansas was a first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs.