Chase Larsson Named Tino Martinez D2 Player Of The YearJune 6, 2011
OMAHA , NE – Cameron’s Chase Larsson was named the 2011 Tino Martinez D2 Player of the Year. The award is presented to the most outstanding player in DII college baseball, and is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan , United States Olympian, first round draft pick and MLB All-Star, Tino Martinez.
"Coming into this year, I felt like I’d have a good year, but I never thought about winning any player of the year awards and stuff like," said Cameron outfielder Chase Larsson. "That just shows me that hard work pays off. This is unreal … awesome."
Cameron Head Coach Todd Holland said Larsson was more than deserving of the award.
"He is probably the best baseball player I’ve seen as total tool guy," Holland said. "He is also one of best outfielders I’ve seen … the total package. On the field, he is unbelievable."
Larsson, a former 18th round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals out of High School, was notified of the honor by Martinez himself, who called the Vancouver native personally to congratulate him.
"I never thought he’d (Tino Martinez) be the one who called," Larsson said. "He said congratulations and asked about the draft. He wished me good luck and told me to keep working hard."
The Canadian Clipper led DII in home runs (29), RBI (84), slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (190), while finishing 11th overall in batting average (.432). Larsson also excelled defensively, starting in centerfield for the Aggies and completing the season with a .984 fielding percentage, with five outfield assists. He finished the season with only two errors and 115 put-outs.
Holland said rarely does a five-tool player like Larsson land in the Lone Star Conference.
"You’ll find kids close to him, but they are one dimensional," he said. "They can hit well or run really well, but you’ll never find a five-tool guy like Chase in our conference."
Throughout the season, Larsson said he never felt intimidated by the pitchers he faced.
"I never went through a game thinking, this pitcher is good, he can beat me," he said. "I always felt I had advantage when I was at bat."
That confidence showed all season. While Larsson said he had some weekends he was not happy with, his numbers never dipped during his record breaking year.
This season Larsson tied a school record with eight RBIs in a single game and matched a school and conference record when he belted three home runs in a single contest. His most dominant power surge came during a stretch in March, when Larsson established a new NCAA Division II record by smashing a homerun in nine consecutive games.
"In the past, I never had a break out year with that many home runs," Larsson explained. "I always considered myself a power hitter, but always been pretty even. So, I am proud of the home runs."
Larsson, who has tried out with the Angels, Cardinals and Yankees will now wait to hear his name called in the draft, which began today.
The winner of the Tino Martinez Award was chosen by a panel of DII baseball media and coaches from across the nation. Their votes narrowed down a list of 47 semifinalists to eight finalists.
A final ranking of the remaining student-athletes was then tallied to determine the winner. Fans and supporters were also given the opportunity to participate in the selection process as an online vote was also taken. Those results were combined with the panel to select the winner.
Mount Olive'sCarter Capps, the 2011 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's National Pitcher of the Year, finished in a close second. Matt Johnson of the Arkanas Tech Wonder Boys and Barry's Dean Green also fininshed near the top, placing third and fourth respectively. Dodson McPherson of Wingate was fifth, Ryan Thompson from Franklin Pierce was sixth and Ashland pitcher Ajay Meyer and Nathan Minnich from Sheperd rounded out the top eight.