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Goshen native Mike Odenwaelder named NESCAC Player of the Year for 2nd straight season. The press release from Amherst.

POSTED May 18, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

AMHERST, Mass. – For the second consecutive season, Mike Odenwaelder '16 of the Amherst College baseball team earned highest praise by the conference coaches as he was named the 2015 NESCAC Baseball Player of the Year, as announced Wednesday. Amherst has now claimed four of the past five Player of the Year honors, as Odenwaelder once again joined Bob Cook '13 (2012) and Mike Samela '12 (2011) as the third Jeff to win the award.

In addition, Odenwaelder also joined Yanni Thanopoulos '17 on the All-NESCAC First Team, while Andrew Vandini '16 was named a second team selection.

In his third year donning the Purple & White, Odenwaelder has racked up an impressive resume which as featured two-Player of the Year awards and a 2013 NESCAC Rookie of the Year honor. He is the first player in league history to repeat as Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons, and is just the second player in conference history to win both Player and Rookie of the Year awards during the course of a career.

The 6-5 junior from Goshen, Conn. continues to be a force at the plate. He leads the league in hits (57) and total bases (91), while ranking among the conference leaders with seven home runs (T-3rd), 38 runs scored (4th), 15 stolen bases (5th), a .373 batting average (6th) and a .595 slugging percentage (8th). Odenwaelder opened the season on an 18-game hitting streak, including a six-game stretch in which he totaled 18 hits in 32 at-bats. He recorded 15 multi-hit games, and hit safely in 33 of the team's 39 games.

Defensively, he recorded 113 putouts and five assists without committing an error. He has been instrumental to the team's success this season, and helped the Jeffs to the NESCAC Championship game for the second time in three years, as well a trip to their third-straight NCAA Championship appearance. It's the first time in program history that Amherst has reached the national tournament in three consecutive years.

Thanopoulos has enjoyed a stellar 2015 campaign in his second year with the program. His all-conference selection is the first of his career, after leading the league in RBI (49) and triples (4). His 47 hits are sixth most in the conference and his 71 total bases are eighth most. He owns a .362 batting average as of May 13, with a .424 on-base percentage and .546 slugging percentage. He also hit for seven doubles and three home runs, while stealing 11 bases.

Vandini was named a Second Team All-NESCAC selection after a breakout season in which he ranks among the league leaders in several categories. Vandini is second in RBI (46), fifth in walks (22), seventh in sacrifice flies (3), home runs (5) and total bases (73), eighth in hits (46) and doubles (10), and ninth in runs (32). He has a .305 batting average, a .393 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging percentage. He was named NESCAC Player of the Week on two occasions, and was an honorable mention for NCBWA National Player of the Week once.

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