Purcell top pitcher, Hogan top coach in OVC awards

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

On the heels of its first Ohio Valley Conference regular-season baseball championship, Southeast Missouri State University captured two of the league's four major postseason awards Tuesday night in Paducah, Ky.

Mark Hogan won Coach of the Year and Brad Purcell won Pitcher of the Year at the OVC honors reception on the eve of the conference tournament.

In addition, Southeast senior center fielder Vern Hatton and junior third baseman Denver Stuckey joined Purcell on the all-OVC first team while five other Indians made the second team. Voting was done by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

"It's a great accomplishment for all who received awards," Hogan said. "There may be some players who were disappointed, but that's to be expected every year."

Hogan, OVC Coach of the Year for the first time, deflected credit to his assistant coaches -- Jeremy Tyson, Scott Southard and Jeff Hilz -- and his players.

"It feels wonderful but I'm most proud of my coaches and players that made it possible for me," Hogan said. "It's a team award. It goes to an individual, but it's all about everybody that's in the organization.

"My coaches have done a wonderful job. But the ultimate compliment goes to the players. For me to win this award with this group is really special."

Purcell, a senior right-hander, was the OVC's dominant pitcher during the regular season as he went 10-2 with a 3.02 earned-run average. In 95 1/3 innings, he allowed 85 hits while striking out 81 and walking 31.

Purcell, who is tied with teammate Brandon Smith for league lead in wins and is second behind teammate Tim Alvarez for the lowest ERA, said he tried not to think too much about winning the award before Tuesday.

"You're always hoping but you never expect it," he said. "As soon as you expect, you're not going to get it. But it's a great honor."

Hatton leads the Indians in hitting (.378), runs batted in (51), doubles (16) and triples (8), and he is second in home runs (7). He ranks among the OVC's top 10 in eight of 12 statistical categories. In addition, he is arguably the league's premier defensive center fielder.

Stuckey, a Kelly High School product, is second on the Indians in hitting (.373) and leads in stolen bases (18 for 22). He also has 13 doubles, five homers and 33 RBIs and, like Hatton, is stellar defensively.

Making the second team were Smith, Alvarez, senior second baseman Clemente Bonilla, junior catcher Tristen McDonald and junior shortstop Zach Borowiak.

Smith (10-2, 4.15 ERA), a senior right-hander, and Alvarez (5-1, 2.88), a junior left-hander, teamed with Purcell to form by far the OVC's top starting rotation.

Bonilla (.317, 1 HR, 15 2B, 33 RBIs), the OVC's all-time walks leader, was the league's Player of the Year last season, when he earned All-American honors.

McDonald (.353, 8 HR, 13 2B, 42 RBIs) leads the Indians in homers and is second in RBIs.

Borowiak (.317, 4 HR, 14 2B, 29 RBIs) was, like Bonilla, a first-team selection last year.

Two Indians made honorable-mention: junior left fielder Brian Hopkins (.339, 6 HR, 29 RBIs) and senior right-handed pitcher Mark Frazier (3-5, 4 S, 5.36), who is tied for the OVC lead in saves.

Eastern Illinois' Pete Pirman, the OVC's leading hitter at .401, is the Player of the Year while Tennessee Tech's Cole Helms (.369) is Rookie of the Year.

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