VOTE NOW: TINY.CC/TINO
The finalists for the 2012 Tino Martinez Award have been revealed. 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.
The six finalists are Anthony Boza of the Lynn Fighting Knights, Tim Flight of the Southern New Hampshire Penmen, Bryan Lippincott of the Concordia (St. Paul) Golden Bears, Nathan Minnich of the Shepherd Rams, Rene Solis of the St. Mary's (TX) Rattlers and Grady Wood of the Western Oregon Wolves. Each of the remaining players helped their teams reach the NCAA postseason and Flight and Solis were each substantial contributors in leading their teams to this year's DII Baseball Championship held in Cary, North Carolina.
Initial nominations for the award were made by baseball sports information contacts and media members. A panel of media, coaches and sports information officers narrowed down the The six finalist were narrowed down from a list of fifty-five semi-finalists.
"In my 28 years of coaching college baseball, including six at the Division II level, Tino Martinez was the most dominant player I have ever coached against. He had an aura about him that allowed him to stand out and made you realize he was destined for greatness. Although you hated to coach against him because he made his team so hard to beat, you also realized you were witnessing something special in this extraordinary ballplayer. I have always had great admiration for him as a ballplayer, and as I got to know him later in life, I came to realize he also was an outstanding person."
Paul Mainieri, Head Baseball Coach
Louisiana State University
The group will once again vote to determine the winner, with a fan Internet vote also contributing to the crowning of the winner. The Internet fan vote to slated to begin on Wednesday, May 23rd.
The winner will be announced after the conclusion of the DII Baseball Championship.
Look for more information on each of the finalists later this week.
Chase Larsson of the Cameron Aggies was the recipient of the 2011 Tino Martinez DII Player of the Year Award. Larsson 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. Larsson also incredibly established a new NCAA Division II record when he mashed a homerun in nine consecutive games during one stretch. Mount Olive's Carter Capps, the 2011 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's National Pitcher of the Year, finished in a close second.
Erskine's Bryan Fogle of won the first edition of the award in 2010 after batting .430 and leading DII with 28 home runs, 103 RBI (the second most in NCAA history) and 203 total bases. The Flying Fleet star 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.