2016 USA Baseball Award Winners Announced
Ricky Tyler Thomas named Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced the recipients of its annual organizational awards on Tuesday, recognizing the top athletes, coaches and performances from the 2016 USA Baseball national teams. Collegiate National Team member Ricky Tyler Thomas was named the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner, given annually to USA Baseball's top player in honor of the organization's founding Executive Director and CEO. Thomas is the 11th Collegiate National Team member to earn athlete of the year honors.
USA Baseball also honored the Collegiate National Team with the Team of the Year award and named its manager, George Horton, the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year.
Women's National Team member Tamara Holmes was named the USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year and 18U National Team pitcher Hans Crouse earned the International Performance of the Year award after his stellar outing in the gold medal game of the COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships.
"USA Baseball is proud to honor these outstanding performances from 2016," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO. "In addition to representing their respective teams at an exceptional level, they were outstanding global ambassadors for the game of baseball and represented our organization and our country with class and dignity on the world stage."
In partnership with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Baseball also named Glenn Cecchini (18U National Team) and Skip Schumaker (14U National Team Development Program) the Developmental and Volunteer Coach of the Year award recipients, respectively.
Ricky Tyler Thomas (Fresno State) was given the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award following his performance as a relief pitcher with the 2016 Collegiate National Team. Thomas entered the rubber match of the five-game international friendship series against Cuba with the scored tied 1-1 in the fourth inning and allowed just two hits over the final 5.1 innings; earning the series-clinching win for the red, white and blue.
The lefty finished the summer tour with a miniscule 0.95 ERA, was third on the team in innings pitched (19) and was tied for the team-lead with 21 strikeouts.
The Collegiate National Team was named USA Baseball's Team of the Year after winning the first ever series on Cuban soil behind Thomas' pitching and Keston Hiura's (UC Irvine) heroics. Hiura hit a pinch-hit solo home run in in the eighth inning to give the U.S. a 2-1 win in game five of the series on July 27 in Pinar del Río, Cuba. 2016 was the first time a visiting team has ever won the international friendship series between Cuba and the U.S. The team traveled over 20,000 miles during the course of its summer tour, participating in friendship series in Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba. The team finished with an 11-7-1 record and its success led to its manager, George Horton (Oregon), being named the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year.
"George Horton is very deserving of being named the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year," said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball's General Manager of National Teams. "His ability to handle the unique challenges of the summer tour while creating positive developmental and personal interactions with the players was first-class; and leading that group of young men to a series win in Cuba for the first time in our history was remarkable."
Horton will be honored at the Golden Spikes Award and Rod Dedeaux Award Dinner, which is expected to be held June 29 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
Tamara Holmes of the Women's National Team was named the Sportswoman of the Year for the second time in her career (2012) following her outstanding performance at the 2016 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's World Cup in Gijang, South Korea, where she was crowned the batting champion and named to the All-World team. A seven-time USA Baseball alum, Holmes finished the tournament with a .765 batting average, starting in all seven games of the tournament. She slugged 1.235 with three doubles, one triple and a home run for the red, white and blue, and finished with 13 RBIs. Holmes retired from international baseball following the tournament.
"Tamara has been a mainstay with the Women's National Team for years and the impact she has had on our program has been tremendous," said Ashley Bratcher, Senior Director of Baseball Operations. "We are thankful for her contributions to our organization and are thrilled for her to be honored with this award after her outstanding performance at the Women's Baseball World Cup."
USA Baseball's International Performance of the Year belongs to 18U National Team pitcher Hans Crouse (Dana Hills High School; Dana Point, Calif.) following his dominance in the gold medal game of the 2016 COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. Crouse was given the start on the mound in the championship game against the Cuban National Team and did not disappoint. Crouse pitched 4.2 innings of perfect baseball before surrendering a walk and a hit in the fifth inning. He finished the game with 11 strikeouts in seven innings of one-hit baseball and led the 18U National Team to its sixth consecutive gold medal in international competition.
18U National Team Manager Glenn Cecchini (Barbe High School; Lake Charles, La.) was named the Developmental Coach of the Year after leading the 18U team to a gold medal for the second straight summer. Cecchini led his team to a 7-1 record in the COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships, defeating Cuba, 7-1, in the gold medal game. Under his tutelage the team outscored its opponents 68-14 and finished the tournament hitting .341 with 32 extra-base hits. The team also maintained a 1.14 ERA and held its opponents to a .178 batting average.
Skip Schumaker was named the USA Baseball Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as the assistant coach for the Stripes team at the 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Schumaker, a USA Baseball alum (2006 USA Baseball Olympic Qualifying team) and two-time World Series champion, provided inspired and unrivaled expertise to the participants. In addition to his high-level instruction with the NTDP program, he also produced weekly video content for the Sport Development department at USA Baseball, providing athletes in depth analysis of common baseball plays in order to elevate their overall baseball acumen.
The USOC annually honors one Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year based on nominations from its National Governing Bodies. USA Baseball's Dick Case Player of the Year, Sportswoman of the Year and Team of the Year honorees also serve as the organization's nominees in their respective categories with the USOC.
USA Baseball Richard W. "Dick" Case Award: Ricky Tyler Thomas (Fresno State)
USA Baseball Team of the Year: 2016 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year: George Horton (Oregon)
USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year: Tamara Holmes
USA Baseball International Performance of the Year: Hans Crouse (Dana Hill High School)
USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year: Glenn Cecchini (Barbe High School)
USA Baseball Volunteer Coach of the Year: Skip Schumaker