Bonilla combines a big day with MVP award

Sunday, May 26, 2002

PADUCAH, Ky. -- Southeast's Clemente Bonilla sounded pleased to be voted the most valuable player of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.

But Bonilla said that honor couldn't compare to the bigger prizes he and the Indians claimed -- the tournament championship and automatic NCAA Tournament berth.

"It's awesome. It's by far the best tournament I've had in my four years here," the senior second baseman said Saturday after Southeast's 13-1 win over Tennessee Tech. "But I'm way more happy that we won the tournament and we'll be going to a regional. It's an awesome feeling."

Bonilla led the tournament in batting with a .600 average (9-for-15) while scoring six runs and driving in four. Bonilla, who had three doubles, compiled a .760 on-base percentage, thanks in large part to eight walks.

"I just always try to get on base any way I can," said Bonilla, the OVC's career and single-season record-holder in walks. "Anything to help the team."

Bonilla was just one of many Southeast players who had big tournaments. Four Indians joined Bonilla on the 13-player all-tournament team.

Other all-tournament selections from Southeast:

  • Junior catcher Tristen McDonald led the tournament in RBIs with 10 while batting .381.

  • Senior center fielder Vern Hatton batted .435 while leading the tournament in hits with 10 and runs scored with eight.

    --Junior shortstop Zach Borowiak hit .429 and tied for the second-most RBIs with six.

    --Senior right-hander Brad Purcell, the OVC Pitcher of the year who leads the league in victories with 12, went 2-0 in the tournament and he was the winner in Saturday's championship game.

    "A lot of people could have been MVP," Bonilla said. "Everybody contributed."

    The Indians received other strong performances from players who weren't all-tournament selections.

    Junior designated hitter Dave Lawson, who has come on in recent weeks, batted .350. Junior left fielder Brian Hopkins hit .263 and had five RBIs to trail only McDonald and Borowiak. Sophomore right fielder Brice Nicholas batted .364.

    As for pitching, in addition to Purcell, Brandon Smith worked into the ninth inning of Friday's win over Austin Peay, Donnie Fuller went all nine innings in Friday night's 9-2 victory over Tennessee Tech, Tim Alvarez had a solid starting performance in Southeast's lone tournament loss to Murray State, and Mark Frazier did not allow an earned run in seven relief innings spanning three appearances.

    "You can't just single out a few guys," Southeast coach Mark Hogan said. "This was truly a total team effort."

    Rounding out the all-tournament team were Tennessee Tech's Ryan Hay (first base), Jesse Johnson (outfield) and Doug Vincent (pitcher); Austin Peay's Michael Johnson (third base) and A.J. Ellis (at-large); and Eastern Illinois' Pete Pirman (outfield), Aaron Shelbourne (at-large) and Bret Pigniatello (designated hitter).

    Find out Monday

    The 64-team NCAA bracket will be unveiled at 11:30 a.m. Monday on ESPN2.

    The public is invited to join the Indians at 11:30 a.m. at the Drury Lodge as Southeast learns what regional it will be assigned to.

  • Respond to this story

    Posting a comment requires free registration: