WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Since the inception of the award in 2004, senior centerfielder Alex Zachary (Enfield) has become the fifth Eastern Connecticut State University baseball player to be named as the ABCA/Rawlings New England Region Division III Player-of-the-Year, announced today.
A 2016 ABCA third-team All-America, Zachary repeated as a first-team All-New England selection this year and was joined for the second year on the all-region team by sophomore Alex Parkos (Meriden). Parkos was named at third base a year after being voted as the first-team designated hitter.
Zachary was one of three first-team outfielders and Parkos one of two second-team third basemen. The selections of Zachary and Parkos give the program 100 all-region selections since the formation of the New England region in 1991.
A total of 50 players were named to the team: 15 to the first team, 17 to the second team and 18 to the third team. First-teamers from each of the country’s eight regions will be eligible for All-America consideration. The All-America team will be announced Thursday.
Earlier this month, Zachary repeated first-team All-Little East Conference recognition, and was named the program’s sixth LEC Player-of-the-Year since 2000. Parkos joined him on the first team – his first All-LEC mention. Wednesday, he was chosen to compete in the 43rd Annual NEIBA College All-Star Game to be held Friday, June 2 at noon at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI. The game will feature a team of Division III seniors and Division II all-stars against a team of Division I all-stars.
A second-year transfer from the Division II level who started all 79 career games at Eastern in center field, Zachary led Eastern for second straight season in hitting (.404), batting third in the order in all but two games.
In addition to hitting, Zachary led Eastern for the second straight season in hits (61), runs (42), home runs (9), total bases (106), and stolen bases (25-of-29). For the second straight year, he committed only two errors and concluded his Eastern career with a .981 fielding average on 213 chances.
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, reaching base in all but one game.
In his two-hit career, Zachary 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.
This past year, Parkos started all 37 games as the No. 4 hitter in the order and was second on the team in average (.372), and with 55 hits, 22 extra-base hits, 40 RBI, and a .595 slugging average. 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 batting order.
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 straight contests during the season and was second to Zachary 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.
Like Zachary, Parkos has started all 79 games in his two-year career, batting .355 with 80 RBI and 181 total bases.
Eastern’s previous New England Region Player-of-the-Year selections were utility players Jim Schult (2011), Shawn Gilblair (2007 and 2009) and centerfielder Dwight Wildman (2004), the inaugural winner of the award. All four followed up the regional Player-of-the-Year award that season with first-team All-America honors.
Eastern won 21 and lost 16 this year, split 14 LEC regular-season games and won one of three games in the LEC tournament.