Nine earn weekly conference awards

Current Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week Justin D'Amato pitching for the Newark Pilots last summer. (Photo courtesy Newark Pilots/Steve Plopper)
Nine players from teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League have earned weekly awards from their respective conferences for the period ending April 22. Seven different PGCBL clubs are represented in the weekly awards. Five of the nine played in the PGCBL last summer and a sixth will has signed to play in the league in 2012.

Great West Conference Player of the Week
Goose Kallunki (Cooperstown 2010), Utah Valley
*Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week

Ivy League Co-Pitcher of the Week
Kyle Hunter (Amsterdam 2010), Dartmouth

Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week
Luke Maile (Amsterdam 2010-11), Kentucky

Pacific West Conference Pitcher of the Week
Brady Wager (Oneonta 2011), Grand Canyon

Empire 8 Co-Player of the Week
Ben Bostick (Newark 2012), St. John Fisher

Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week
Justin D’Amato (Newark 2011), St. John Fisher

Ohio Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week
Mike Mahaffey (Elmira 2011), Marietta

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week
Tanner Barron (Albany 2011), Trinity (Texas)

The Sun Conference Player of the Week
Ricky Claudio (Glens Falls 2011), St. Thomas (Fla.)

Utah Valley University senior Goose Kallunki (Cooperstown 2010) slugged his way to the Great West Conference Player of the Week honor. In addition, he was tapped as one of Louisville Slugger’s National Players of the Week. Kallunki led Utah Valley to a four-game conference road sweep of UTPA. He batted .529 (9-for-17) with three home runs and 11 RBI. Kallunki scored six runs, ripped five doubles and posted a 1.353 slugging percentage. Eight of his nine hits were extra-base hits and he reeled off four multi-hit and multi-RBI games in a row. The senior drove scored at least one run and drove in two runs in each game of the series. He slammed two home runs in the series’ opener and then added a third belt in the third game of the four-game set. He finished the series with a three-hit game that included three doubles and three RBI. Utah Valley has won a school record 19-straight wins and Kallunki leads the conference with 10 home runs and 51 RBI.

Dartmouth College junior Kyle Hunter (Amsterdam 2010) has been selected as one of two Co-Pitchers of the Week by the Ivy League. Hunter shared the award with Cornell’s Connor Kaufmann. Hunter threw a complete game three-hit shutout as Dartmouth blanked Yale 2-0 on Apr. 21 in Hanover. Hunter scattered three singles, walked none and struck out three in the seven-inning contest. He sat down the first 10 Eli batters and faced just one hitter over the minimum. No Yale runners safely advanced past second base and Hunter induced two double play groundouts. The Palm City, Fla., native has thrown three complete games in Ancient Eight play this spring.

For the second time this season, University of Kentucky junior Luke Maile (Amsterdam 2010-2011) has earned recognition from the Southeastern Conference. The SEC chose Maile as one of two Co-Players of the Week. He shared the honor with Alex Yarbrough of Ole Miss. The junior backstop guided the ‘Cats to a 3-1 week that included two victories over first nationally-ranked Louisiana State. Maile batted .400 (6-for-13) with two home runs and five RBI. He scored three runs, doubled once, walked once and compiled a 1.000 slugging percentage. Half of his six hits were extra-base hits and Luke had at least one hit in all four UK games. Against Cincinnati, Maile drilled a home run in his first at-bat, totaled two hits and backstopped the pitching staff to a four-hit shutout. The Crestview Hills, Ky., native had four hits in the LSU series. In the middle game, Maile launched a home run and drove in three as Kentucky rolled to an 8-1 victory.

The Pacific West Conference has chosen Grand Canyon University junior Brady Wager (Oneonta 2011) as its Pitcher of the Week. Wager fired a complete game two-hit shutout in a victory over the Academy of Art on Apr. 19 in Oakland, Calif. The junior scattered two singles, walked three and struck out nine. He retired the final 10 batters he faced and struck out the side in order in the eighth inning. Wager induced 13 groundouts. He did not allow an opposing runner to safely advance past second base. The Globe, Ariz., native leads the Antelopes with three complete games and 73 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.

St. John Fisher College junior Ben Bostick (Newark 2012) was selected by the Empire 8 as one of two Co-Players of the Week. He shared the award with Tom Phillips of Stevens. Bostick and the Cardinals swept a three-game conference series from rival Ithaca and went undefeated in four games overall last week. Bostick batted .400 (6-for-15) with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored. He had at least one hit in all four Fisher games. He capped off the series sweep of Ithaca with a 3-for-5 performance that included a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that erased a 4-3 Ithaca advantage. Bostick leads the Cardinals with 31 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 30 games.

St. John Fisher College sophomore Justin D’Amato (Newark 2011) hurled his way to the Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week prize. D’Amato tossed a complete game five-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory over conference rival Ithaca on Apr. 20 in Pittsford. D’Amato scattered five hits (four singles), walked none and struck out four. He retired the first 14 Ithaca batters he opposed and did not allow a hit until a two-out single in the fifth. The sophomore stranded five Bomber runners on base and faced just five men over the minimum. Through nine starts, D’Amato has been nearly untouchable for Fisher. He is 8-0 with a 1.82 earned run average and 71 strikeouts in 54.1 innings pitched. The 2011 PGCBL all-star has thrown two complete game shutouts this spring.

Marietta College senior Mike Mahaffey (Elmira 2011) has been tapped as the Pitcher of the Week by the Ohio Athletic Conference. Mahaffey went unbeaten in two appearances for the nationally-ranked Pioneers and did not allow a run. Against conference foe Otterbein on Apr. 17, Mahaffey threw a three-hit shutout over six innings and struck out seven in a 5-0 victory. He scattered three singles and walked one. Between the second and sixth innings, he retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced. The senior returned to the mound five days later in relief against John Carroll and he seated four of the six batters he opposed in 1.1 scoreless innings. Mahaffey stands 5-1 with a 2.60 earned run average through nine overall appearances.

The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference has selected Trinity University (Texas) junior Tanner Barron (Albany 2011) as its Pitcher of the Week. Barron pitched the Tigers to two victories last week and he did not give up an earned run. For the week, Barron went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11.0 innings pitched. The junior struck out eight batters over five frames and allowed two unearned runs on five hits in a victory over Schreiner on Apr. 17. In the Trinity (Texas) regular season finale, Barron strung together a six-hit shutout over six innings against Austin College. He scattered six singles, walked one and struck out three. Barron finished the regular season for the nationally-ranked Tigers with a 3-0 mark and 36 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched.

St. Thomas (Fla.) University junior Ricky Claudio (Glens Falls 2011) was selected as the Player of the Week by The Sun Conference. Claudio and the Bobcats were undefeated in four games last week and that included a conference sweep of Florida Memorial. The junior batted .471 (8-for-17) with two home runs, three RBI, three doubles, six runs scored and a 1.000 slugging percentage. He had at least one hit in all four games and collected three multiple-hit games. Against Florida Memorial, Claudio pounded out seven hits including four that went for extra bases. His best performance came in the second game of the series. Claudio went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two runs scored. Through 44 games, the Hialeah, Fla., native is batting .353 with 54 hits and 37 runs scored.

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