WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – In a span of 11 seasons through 2016, the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball program won a combined total of nine Little East Conference regular-season and tournament championships… without the individual ultimately voted upon as the conference’s Player-of-the-Year.
Tuesday, with the selection of senior All-America centerfielder Alex Zachary (Enfield). The LEC’s Player-of-the-Year comes from Eastern for the first time since 2005.
The first-team All-LEC repeater was joined on the All-LEC first team this year by sophomore third baseman Alex Parkos (Meriden), the 2016 LEC tournament MVP who was named to the team for the first time.
Zachary, who ranks among the top three in the LEC in hits, batting average, RBI, home runs, extra-base hits, total bases and stolen bases, was named the program’s sixth Player-of-the-Year, first since junior third baseman Zach Mehrbach in 2005.
The team’s No. 3 and No. 4 batters in the lineup, Zachary and Parkos topped the team in average at .404 and .372, respectively. Zachary led Eastern in hits (61), runs (42), extra-base hits (25), slugging (.702), on-base percentage (.477), RBI (42), and stolen bases (25). Defensively he had 95 putouts and a .980 fielding percentage.
Zachary, who was never voted Player-of-the-Week this season, shares the LEC lead in home runs (9), is second in slugging, tied for second in batting average and hits, and is third in RBI and stolen bases.
This year, Zachary broke the program record by hitting in 35 consecutive games (the last 20 last year and first 15 this year) and ended his career by reaching base in his last 20 games. He topped the team with 19 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games and reached base in all but one of 37 games.
In his two-hit career, Zachary started all 79 games in center field and batted .391 (eight-best all-time) with 19 home runs, a .685 slugging average (third-best all-time), 124 hits, 50 extra-base hits, 85 runs, 80 RBI and 36 stolen bases.
A two-time Player-of-the-Week this season, Parkos started all 37 games and was second on the team with 55 hits, 22 extra-base hits, 40 RBI, an a .595 slugging average. He ranks fourth in the LEC in RBI.
In addition to starting 21 games at third base, Parkos was the team’s starting DH 14 times and starting first baseman twice. He was the only player to start every game in the same position in the lineup. Parkos ended the season by reaching safely in the final 23 games – the longest streak on the team this year – and was second to Zachary by hitting safely in 12 contests during the team and in multi-hit games (17) and multi-RBI games (9).
In one three-game stretch late in the year, Parkos was 10-of-13 with five extra-bases hits, nine RBI and seven runs. Against Western Connecticut in the third of those three games, he hit for the cycle and drove in four runs and was named LEC Player-of-the-Week for the second time.
Eastern won 21 and lost 16 this year, split 14 LEC regular-season games and won one of three games in the LEC tournament.