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Torres named AMC Coach of the Year, Pioneers get four on All-AMC first team

May 11, 2011

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Head coach Loren Torres with Brian Grise in a game last year. File photo by Jack Megaw.

ALL-AMC TEAMS

PITTSBURGH – Point Park University second-year head coach Loren Torres has been named the American Mideast Conference Baseball Coach of the Year by his conference peers, and the native of Miami, Fla., headlines the Pioneers’ All-AMC awardees. Point Park (38-13, 14-6 AMC), rated #23 in the final NAIA Baseball Coaches Top 25 Poll, had four players earn All-AMC first team honors and had 10 players recognized in all.

Torres took over the Point Park program in 2010 and quickly took the Pioneers to the top of the AMC and to a national ranking. Point Park was 13-26 overall and in last place in the AMC in Torres’ first season. This year, the Pioneers won the AMC Regular Season Championship at 14-6 and earned their first Top 25 ranking since 1999. Point Park made it to the finals of the AMC Tournament. The Pioneers had a shot at receiving an at-large bid to the NAIA national tournament, but they were the first team left out of the at-large selections.

Point Park’s All-AMC first team selections include its No.3, 4 and 5 hitters Lee Bodnar (1B), Dave Angle (C) and Zach O’Neal (DH) as well as lead-off man Brian Grise (CF). Those four were a big reason why Point Park had the best offense in the AMC. The Pioneers ranked 14th in the NAIA with a team batting average of .331 and also led the AMC in batting average, runs, RBIs, home runs, stolen bases and walks.

The Pioneers had All-AMC second team selections Kyle Lucot (LF), Ryan Loutsenhizer (SP) and Mike Tullio (RP). Receiving All-AMC honorable mention honors were Frank Marko (3B), Derek Peluso (SP) and Bryce Pfeuffer (2B).

The AMC also named the top defensive player at each position with its AMC-Rawlings Gold Glove Team. Point Park had three of the nine players recognized in Pfeuffer (2B), Lucot (LF) and Grise (CF).

POINT PARK’S ALL-AMC HONOREES

AMC Coach of the Year – Loren Torres, second season

All-AMC First Team
Dave Angle, Sr., C, Pittsburgh, Pa., Pine-Richland HS
Lee Bodnar, Jr., 1B, Chartiers, Pa., Chartiers Valley HS
Brian Grise, Sr., CF, Munhall, Pa., Steel Valley HS
Zach O’Neal, Jr., DH, Greenfield, Ind., Greenfield-Central HS

All-AMC Second Team
Kyle Lucot, Sr., LF, South Park, Pa., South Park HS
Ryan Loutsenhizer, So., P, North Huntingdon, Pa., Norwin HS
Mike Tullio, Jr., P, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Palm Beach Gardens HS

All-AMC Honorable Mention
Bryce Pfeuffer, Sr. 2B, Robinson Twp., Pa., Montour HS
Derek Peluso, Jr., P, Zelienople, Pa., Seneca Valley HS
Frank Marko, Sr., 3B, Robinson Twp., Pa., Montour HS

Bodnar is a junior first baseman from Chartiers, Pa., and a graduate of Chartiers Valley High School. He was an All-AMC first team pick at third base last year, but he moved across the diamond this season. Bodnar hit .351 with six homers and a team-high 52 RBIs. He hit particularly well against AMC pitching with a .450 average in conference play.

Angle is a senior catcher from Pittsburgh, Pa., and a product of Pine-Richland High School. He earned All-AMC honors at designated hitter each of the last two seasons, but he became Point Park’s full-time catcher this year. The Pioneers’ cleanup hitter batted .324 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs. In his three years since transferring from Garrett (Md.) College, Angle batted .333 with 18 homers and 111 RBIs in 135 career games.

O’Neal is a native of Greenfield, Ind., who transferred this year from Kishwaukee (IL) JC. As the Point Park designated hitter, O’Neal batted a team-best .366 with three homers and 36 RBIs. His team-high 59 hits included 11 doubles. He was an NJCAA All-Region selection last year at Kishwaukee JC.

Grise is a native of Munhall, Pa., and a graduate of Steel Valley High School. He was a four-year starter in center field, and hit a career-high .320 as a senior. Point Park’s lead-off hitter led the AMC with 57 runs, was second in the league – trailing only teammate Kyle Lucot -- with 27 stolen bases and also collected 31 RBIs.

Lucot is an All-AMC second-team outfielder from South Park, Pa., and South Park High School. During his senior season, he registered career-highs in batting average (.335), runs (49), RBIs (20) and stolen bases (29). His stolen bases were first in the AMC and ranked 19th in the NAIA.

Grise and Lucot, Point Park’s No.1-2 hitters, helped Point Park lead the AMC with 100 stolen bases. The next closest team was Malone with 71.

LoutSenhizer, from North Huntingdon, Pa., and Norwin High School, is a sophomore pitcher. He earned All-AMC second team honors by going 7-3 with a 3.34 ERA. The 6-foot-4 right-hander started 10 games and turned in six complete games. Loutsenhizer tosses 59.1 innings, and opponents hit .272 off him.

Tullio, a junior pitcher from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., earn the spot as the All-AMC second team relief pitcher. The right-handed Tullio was 6-0 with a 0.98 ERA, and was Point Park’s top option out of the bullpen. Eleven of his appearances were in relief, and he totaled 46.0 innings and three saves.

Pfeuffer, a senior from Robinson Twp., Pa., earned All-AMC H.M. honors by hitting .315 and ranking fourth in the AMC with 37 RBIs. Pfeuffer led Point Park with 13 doubles. He made only four errors at second base to earned the AMC-Rawlings Gold Glove recognition there.

Peluso, a junior pitcher from Zelienople, Pa., and Seneca Valley High School, was 7-1 with a 3.41 ERA. As the leader of the Point Park staff, the right-hander tied for the team lead with 43 strikeouts in his team-best 60.2 innings.

Marko, a senior third baseman from Robinson Twp., Pa., became a starter for the first time and hit a career-best .333 with a career-high 21 RBIs. Marko hit .484 (15 for 31) the last two weeks of the season.

Torres has a record of 51-39 in his two seasons as Point Park head coach. In his seven years as a collegiate head coach, he is 158-143-2, which includes five years at NAIA Judson (IL) University near Chicago. Torres is no stranger to earning conference Coach of the Year honors in his second year at a school. He was named the Chicagoland Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 when he guided Judson to a then-school record 27 wins in his second season there.

Prior to Torres’ arrival, the Judson baseball program had a winning percentage of just over .300 for its first 36 years. In his five years there, Torres was 107-104-2 (.507).

Torres was born in Puerto Rico and was raised in Miami, Fla. He is 1992 graduate of Nova High School in Davie, Fla., where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2001. Torres went on to become a three-time all-region player at Trinity International-South Florida, and he graduated in 1996.