Wildcats Sweep Major A-10 Baseball Honors
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Having secured the program’s first outright regular-season league title, the Davidson Wildcats have also swept the major Atlantic 10 Conference baseball awards, the league announced Tuesday morning.
Catcher Michael Carico is A-10 Player of the Year, while right-hander Blake Hely is Pitcher of Year. Pitcher Ryan Feczko is Rookie of the Year, and Rucker Taylor is Coach of the Year. All are program-firsts.
In all, 10 Wildcats earned postseason recognition. Along with Carico and Hely, A-10 First Team honors went to outfielders Trevor Candelaria and Parker Nolan and pitchers Nolan DeVos and Bennett Flynn. Feczko was named to the All-Rookie team and also joined first baseman Ryan Wilson and shortstop Jacob Hinderleider on the Second Team.
The postseason honors are the second for Candelaria and DeVos, who were First Team picks last year.
“These honors are well-earned individual recognition for guys that had a lot of success this season,” said Taylor. “It seems team success frequently goes hand-in-hand with postseason awards. I think each of these guys have put their focus on the team and competing each day, and that consistency has produced tremendous individual success.”
A sophomore from Kernersville, Carico has been the catalyst all season and leads the A-10 across the board, including in average (.411), home runs (19), runs (68), hit-by-pitches (25), on-base percentage (.561), slugging percentage (.838) and OPS (1.399). He’s already set Davidson single-season marks in home runs, runs, HBPs and extra-base hits (40).
“Mike has had an incredible year,” said Taylor. “He’s battled and competed every game. He’s been great defensively, and his offensive numbers are video game stuff.”
Hely, from Coral Springs, Fla., has excelled in his third year as a weekend starter, going 9-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 79.1 innings. In A-10 play alone, he’s held hitters to a .170 average.
“Blake has been a consistent competitor all year and has had a lot of success in his career,” said Taylor. “He’s pushed us in a lot of ways this year, and his success has been huge for our season.”
Redshirt-freshman Feczko, a left-hander from Wexford, Pa., has thrived this year after an injury derailed his 2021 season. The team’s Sunday starter, he’s 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 68.1 innings.
“Fez has been wonderful this season,” said Taylor. “He had some tough luck last season. Him being able to play and perform this season has been tremendously impactful for our team.”
Seniors Candelaria and Nolan — linked together in the outfield for most of their careers and as back-to-back home run hitters in the lineup — join one another on the First Team. Candelaria, the right fielder, leads the A-10 with 78 hits and is tied for second with 60 RBIs, while hitting .351 with 19 doubles, 12 home runs and 12 steals.
Nolan, who plays center, is the A-10 triples leader (5) and has hit 15 home runs to go with 11 doubles, 49 RBIs and 10 steals. He’s hitting .315.
“Parker and Trevor have been leaders all season long,” said Taylor. “Offensively and defensively, they have been great. Their impact is maybe even bigger off the field, and their leadership for this program is tough to put into words.”
DeVos, a junior right-hander, has set the tone on weekends as the Friday starter after leading the league with eight saves a year ago. He’s the A-10 leader with a 2.60 ERA and 99 strikeouts and is 8-2 in 72.2 innings.
“Nolan made a jump from being an exceptional bullpen weapon for us last season to setting the tone for us on Fridays this year,” said Taylor. “He made that transition to help the team, and he’s grown as a pitcher and person in that new role. He brings a lot of life and energy to this team, and his success has been crucial for us.”
Flynn, also a junior right-hander, is 3-1 with a team-best 1.27 ERA and 55 strikeouts in just 35.1 innings.
“Bennett has been a security blanket for us this season,” said Taylor. “We have used him in a few different ways, and he consistently produces. He’s continued to develop and has been instrumental in our success.”
Wilson, a sophomore, leads the A-10 with 43 walks and ranks second with a .520 on-base percentage and third with 18 steals. He’s hitting .379 with a 1.104 OPS, 60 runs, 18 doubles and seven home runs.
Hinderleider, a junior, is hitting .335 with a 1.054 OPS, 14 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 54 RBIs.
“Hindy and Ryan have had great seasons,” said Taylor. “Hindy has taken his game to a new level this season, and Ryan continues to do so many things well. Both have become great defensive players, and that has been a huge key to our success.”
The coaching honor is the first for Taylor, who is in his fourth year as Davidson’s head coach after serving six seasons as a Wildcat assistant. With this year’s 42-11 regular-season and 20-4 A-10 records, Taylor’s Wildcat teams are 111-60 and 45-23 in the league.