PBA Baseball Reels In Eight Honorees by the ICAA

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Communications

TIFFIN, Ohio- After a successful conclusion to their regular season schedule the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team had seven players honored for their good play with a postseason award from the Independents Collegiate Athletic Association (ICAA). The Sailfish swept the individual awards while head coach Kent Bottenfield was also honored as the ICAA Coach of the Year.

The ICAA is composed of NCAA Division II schools that are not in a conference. Baseball members are Oakland City University, Palm Beach Atlantic, Salem International University and the University of Virginia-Wise.

All awards were selected by ICAA Director, Mike Bond.

The ICAA Player of the Year went to PBA junior Joel Buchko. The Lancaster, Pa. native had a solid debut for the Sailfish in his first season by leading the team with a .389 batting average and 15 doubles. He also added in four homeruns, scored 31 runs and drove in 32 runs.

ICAA Pitcher of the Year honors went the PBA senior Nic Kovacs. A dominant right-hander throughout most of the 2013 season, Kovacs served the Fish as their Friday night starting pitcher while collecting a 7-4 record with an impressive 2.03 earned-run average.

The Clermont, Fla. righty added in 54 strikeouts with just 10 walks over 97.2 innings of work this season.

Finishing out the sweep for PBA was Sean Visconti who earned ICAA Freshman of the Year accolades. The Wilmette, Ill. product earned the award thanks to his .358 batting average, good for second on the team, to go along with 34 runs scored, 26 runs batted in and 11 stolen bases. The Sailfish starting shortstop also turned in numerous run-saving defensive plays throughout the campaign.

Bottenfield earned the ICAA Coach of the Year honor after leading the Sailfish to a 27-21 regular season mark, a program-record for wins in a season since becoming a NCAA Division II member.

Other All-ICAA selections for the Fish included junior infielders Ryan Gerber and A.J. Steimel as well as pitchers Jonathan Kies and Matt Niedzwiecki.

Gerber was a table-setter all season long for PBA as the team’s leadoff hitter and starting third-baseman. In his first season following a transfer from his home state of Arizona, Gerber flashed the leather all season long in the field while posting a solid .321 batting average with a team-best 32 walks.

Steimel provided the Fish with another Arizona product, from Scottsdale, Ariz., as he led the team with 41 runs batted in while playing a solid first-base. Steimel played in 46 games while finishing with a .301 batting average, four homeruns and 11 doubles.

On the pitching side, Kovacs was joined by fellow weekend rotation mate’ Jon Kies. The reliable left-hander from nearby Highlands Christian produced a solid 7-1 record to close out his PBA career while finishing with a 4.15 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 60.2 innings of work.

Niedzwiecki has provided the Fish with a reliable arm from the bullpen all season long, leading the team with 17 appearances. He posted a team-high three saves while striking out 33 batters in 36.2 innings of time on the hill.

PBA will look ahead to the NCCAA South Region tournament to begin on Tuesday, May 7 at 3 pm for their next contest.

Coach of the Year – Kent Bottenfield – Palm Beach Atlantic
Player of the Year – Joel Buchko – Palm Beach Atlantic
Pitcher of the Year – Nic Kovacs - Palm Beach Atlantic
Freshman of the Year – Sean Visconti - Palm Beach Atlantic


 Joel Buchko C Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
 Chaz Ferguson INF Oakland City So. Santa Claus, Indiana
 Ryan Gerber INF Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. Tucson, Arizona
 Brett Hylton OF Virginia Wise Sr. Danville, Virginia
 Tommy Meier C Virginia Wise Sr. Ashburn, Virginia
 Scott Schlapinski INF Salem International So. St. Petersburg, Florida
 A.J. Steimel INF Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. Scottsdale, Arizona
 Sean Visconti INF Palm Beach Atlantic Fr. Wilmette, Illinois
 Jonathan Kies P Palm Beach Atlantic Sr. Coral Springs, Florida
 Nic Kovacs P Palm Beach Atlantic Sr. Clermont, Florida

 Chance Sharp P Salem International Fr. Yuma, Arizona
 Matt Niedzwiecki RP Palm Beach Atlantic Jr. Bristol, Connecticut

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