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Loggers Gain Big Time Awards For 2012

The Northwoods League announced its 2012 Postseason All-Star Team and award winners on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the 30 players that were selected to the honorary team, Alexandria outfielder Ben Moore was named the Northwoods League Most Valuable Player while Wisconsin right-handed pitcher Jack Fischer was named Pitcher of the Year as voted by the League’s coaches and members of the media. Duluth led all teams with five players selected while La Crosse was second with four. The Loggers, the top team in this year’s regular season, also swept the coaching awards.

Alexandria Beetles outfielder Ben Moore (Alabama) caps off his record-breaking Northwoods League season with the MVP award. Moore, just a freshman, quietly emerged as the NWL’s top run-producer near the middle of the season before erupting with a three home run, eight RBI performance in a 15-5 home victory against Duluth on July 12. That game happened after mid-season all-star voting had ended and Moore was left off the North Division All-Star roster. But Moore continued to produce, raising his batting average nearly 50 points in the final month of the season and shattering the Northwoods League record for runs batted in for a season. Moore enters the final game of the regular season with a .331 batting average, 16 home runs and 84 RBIs. The 16 homers tie him for the league lead and for fourth in NWL history. The 84 RBIs eclipsed former Major Leaguer Jay Gibbons’ longstanding record of 68 set with Manitowoc in 1997. Moore’s 64 runs scored are second in the league this season and in league history. Willmar’s Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas) has 68 entering the final day of the season. Moore is a native of Cullman, Alabama.

Wisconsin Woodchucks right-handed pitcher Jack Fischer (Wake Forest) was named the Northwoods League’s Pitcher of the Year. Fischer, a sophomore, has pitched effectively the entire season but has been especially dominant in his last three starts for the playoff bound Woodchucks. Fischer hurled 20 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run dropping his ERA from 2.43 to a league best 1.76. He carries a 6-1 record in nine starts and has struck out 61 batters while walking just 14 in 56 1/3 innings pitched this season. Fischer, standing at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds hails from Hinsdale, Illinois.

Both Moore and Fischer are among the 30 players selected to the NWL’s Postseason All-Star team. The Duluth Huskies contingent of five all-stars include right-handed pitcher Joey Novak (Harvard) a second-time member of the honorary team. Huskies outfielder James Ramsay (South Florida) currently sits tied atop the chase for the NWL batting title. He and Alexandria Beetles second baseman Tanner Vavra (Valparaiso) each have a .381 batting average entering the final day of the regular season. Vavra’s younger brother third baseman Trey Vavra (Madison College) is another of the five Huskies on the postseason all-star team. Tanner’s Beetle teammate Anthony Bazzani (Eastern Kentucky) joins Novak as a fellow right-handed pitcher to make the NWL Postseason All-Star team in back-to-back seasons.

La Crosse’s fifth-year field manager Andy McKay is the 2012 Manager of the Year after leading the Loggers to the best record in the league, currently at 49-20. A 50th win on Sunday would tie this Loggers team with the 2006 Rochester Honkers for the most wins in Northwoods League history. McKay’s long-time assistant coach Joe Potulny earned the award for 2012 Coach of the Year in the Northwoods League.

In other awards, Lakeshore’s Kapco Park was voted as the field with the Best Playing Surface. The new stadium has an artificial surface and this vote by the managers in the NWL may show that it is ideal for the 70-game season.

Eau Claire Express and Rochester Honkers first-year broadcasters Doug Raftery and Michael Broskowski, respectively, were recognized by their peers as Co-Play-by-Play Announcers of the Year. Raftery studied at Hood College in Maryland while Broskowski is a current student at Western Illinois University.

The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. The 2012 NWL Playoffs begin on Monday.

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