The ace of the West Division champions, Nolan Sparks of the Batavia Muckdogs was elected the 2022 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) Pitcher of the Year.
In Batavia’s second year as a collegiate summer ball team, Sparks is the first Muckdog to win a major award from the PGCBL.
The Aurora, Colorado, native was nearly perfect across 41.2 innings of work for the Muckdogs. In nine regular-season appearances, which included eight starts, the right-handed hurler surrendered only one earned and led all qualified pitchers with a 0.22 earned-run average. It’s the first time a qualified pitcher finished with a sub-1.00 ERA since Amsterdam Mohawk Cameron Enck logged a 0.32 ERA during the summer of 2016.
Overall, the University of Rochester rising junior went 5-1 with one save and 45 strikeouts against only nine walks. Sparks compiled a paltry 0.67 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) with a .131 batting average against. Of the 19 hits off of the Batavia ace, only three went for extra bases and none left the yard. Five of his nine appearances were of the scoreless variety.
In his second start of the summer on June 9 at Geneva, Sparks twirled 6.0 hitless innings with a season-high-tying eight strikeouts, as the Muckdogs shut out the Red Wings, 8-0. He lasted a season-best 7.0 innings and fanned eight in a 6-1 win over Elmira on June 29, during which he allowed his only earned run of the regular season. In his lone relief outing, Sparks saved a 6-3 win over Auburn with a one-two-three ninth inning.
Sparks was just as good in his lone postseason start. In a 12-3 first-round win over Elmira, he struck out six while giving up two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings on the mound.
A First-Team All-Liberty League selection as a sophomore at the U of R this spring, Sparks toed the rubber for a Yellowjacket team that picked up 31 wins and hosted an NCAA Division III Regional. Alongside Batavia teammates Aidan Cooney and Josh Leadem, the righty went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA and 61 strikeouts, all career bests. He garnered All-Region accolades from both D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
The PGCBL Pitcher of the Year Award was voted on by the league’s head coaches.