Eight Yale baseball players earn All-Ivy honors; John Stuper named Ivy Coach of the Year

Photo: YaleBulldogs.com

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Two days after capturing the Ivy League Championship, the Yale baseball program earned eight all-Ivy selections, the Ivy League office announced Thursday. In addition, Yale head coach John Stuper was named Ivy League Coach of the Year.

Yale starting pitcher Scott Politz and designated hitter Benny Wanger were both first team All-Ivy honorees. Wanger was a unanimous selection.

Team captain and third baseman Richard Slenker along with outfielder Tim DeGraw, second baseman Simon Whiteman and outfielder Harrison White were named to the All-Ivy Second Team, while first baseman and team closer Griffin Dey joined Alex Stiegler as honorable mention All-Ivy picks.

“Extremely proud of all of my guys,” Stuper said. “We had so many have such great years. That’s how we won. In the championship series I ran six .300 hitters out there. A lineup with that length is hard to pitch to.”

Wanger drove in 35 runs in 20 Ivy League regular season games, and in conference play was among the top five in home runs (5), total bases (50) and slugging percentage (.694). He led the team with a .352 batting average for the entire season.

“Benny had what I think is one of the finest offensive seasons in our history,” Stuper added. “Ryan Lavarnway led the nation in batting average and slugging percentage as a sophomore. That’s the only year I rate better in my time here.”

Politz, a sophomore who earned first-team honors for the second straight year, spent the entire season among the nation’s leaders in victories. After winning the first game of the Ivy League championship series, Politz improved to 9-2 on the season and threw six complete games.

“Scott has had the best season of any pitcher during my tenure,” Stuper said. “He has a chance to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ron Darling if he continues to perform at this level, and that is saying something.”

Slenker hit .333 during the Ivy League regular season with 11 RBI, 11 walks, five doubles and a homer. He also had a .434 on-base percentage in conference play and hit .342 for the entire season with 54 hits in 158 at bats.

DeGraw, a sophomore, led the Ivy League in conference play with 24 runs scored. He also finished second in league play with six stolen bases, and ranked second on the team with 38 RBI for the season.

White, a senior, finished third in league play with a .479 on-base percentage and sixth in batting average (.377). He had at least six multi-hit games in Yale’s last 10 regular season games.

Whiteman, a sophomore, hit .316 in league play and tied for second on the team in both home runs (3) and RBI (14) in conference games. He also ranked second on the team with 10 stolen bases for the entire season.

Dey was an all-around force on the field. He led the team with 10 homers in all games and, in league play, had a 1.000 fielding percentage at first base and went 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA in six appearances while batters hit .108 against him.

“Lost in this, I think, is the fact that we led our league in defense for the second straight year,” Stuper said. “On a grass field while half of the teams in our league are turf. I believe [associate head coach] Tucker [Frawley] is one of the finest defensive instructors in the country. I really do. He consistently makes guys better. And that means pitchers get rewarded for throwing strikes.”

Stiegler hit .313 in Ivy League games with two home runs and, as a pitcher, went 2-1 against conference teams. For the entire season, Stiegler hit .310 in 36 games played and struck out 30 batters in 37 2/3 innings.

Stuper led the Bulldogs to a 30-16 mark this season and won the Red Rolfe Division with a 16-4 record. He is the all-time winningest coach in Yale baseball program history with 488 wins in 25 seasons at the university.

“As far as my coach of the year award, I have no illusions about that,” Stuper added. “I fully realize it is really a team/staff award. It’s going to be awarded to the head coach whose team wins. It’s really nice, but I understand it.”

View the full Ivy League award announcement here.

The Bulldogs will next play in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is set for May 29 at noon on ESPNU.

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity

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