4th Annual Awards Luncheon Highlights Titans’ Exemplary Efforts during the 2023 Season

by Jim Stewart

The 4th Annual Titans Baseball Club’s Awards Luncheon was held at the Mandarin Restaurant in Newmarket on Sunday afternoon.  The event was co-hosted by Titans Staff members Lawrence Vera, Denis Bailey, Josh Gosselin, and Jim Stewart in the comfortable confines of a sun-drenched private dining room in the popular Newmarket eatery.  Titans’ Director of Baseball Operations Lawrence Vera was in a reflective mood as he surveyed the room of players, coaches, parents, siblings, and grandparents gathered at the luncheon:  “It’s always nice to look back on the last season and recognize the highlights.  Our players work hard during the season and to be able to recognize those that went above and beyond is always great.” 

Nineteen awards were presented to those that went above and beyond, including five Most Valuable Player Awards--given to the player that was the best overall player on the team, accrued impressive statistics, contributed to the winning culture of the ball club, and was the first star of many games.  Fulfilling this four-part performance criteria in 2023 were Nolan Keating (18U)—currently playing for the Southeastern Community College Blackhawks in West Burlington, Iowaas well as Lucas Seto (17U), Oliver Bent (16U), Nate Graham (15U), and Caiden Moncada (14U).

Also applauded were the organization’s top hurlers who earned the Pitcher of the Year Awards and fulfilled the performance criteria connected to this award: the best pitcher on this year’s staff who earned impressive statistics and had the best presence on the mound.  Six pitchers who earned the POY awards this year were Cameron Byers (18U)—currently pitching for the Glenville State University Pioneers in Glenville, West Virginia—as well as two 17U pitchers: Kai Hernandez (committed to the Rend Lake College Warriors in Ina, Illinois) and Noah Durance (committed to the WVU-Potomac State College Catamounts in Keyser, West Virginia). Luke Adams (16U), Adam Visram (15U), and Sammy Hess (14U) rounded out the top Titans pitchers of 2023

In addition to highlighting the organization’s best-performing pitchers, the Most Improved Player Awards were given to the Titans who demonstrated the best offensive and/or defensive improvement as well as overall development, improvement in mental toughness, and an impressive jump in numbers. The most improved Titans in 2023 were Ricardo Pontual (18U), Graham Marshall (17U), Ryan Da Silva (16U), Eric Gregato (15U), and Jack Carnegie (14U)

Rounding out the award presentations were three special individual awards given to Titans whose excellence manifested itself in ways other than via the conventions and criteria connected to the MVP, POY, or MIP awards.  

The “Charlie Hustle Award”—awarded annually to the player that best demonstrates excellence on the field, shows himself to be a gritty, self-starter, puts forth extra independent effort, and exhibits consistently excellent effort—was presented to Myles Hazen—a multiple annual award winner and Top Ten Titan who impresses the coaching staff with his consistent excellence. 

“The Student-Athlete Performance Award”—given to the Titan that earns Honor Roll status, shows commitment to practice, excellence on the field and in academics, and demonstrates exemplary effort throughout the season—was presented to distinguished Aurora High School graduate and 18U Titan Tyler Pridham

Finally, the “‘Team Over Me’ Leadership Award”—given to the Titan that demonstrated excellence of the field, exhibited a season of selflessness, made sacrifices for the team, and showed that he was a leader of men on and off the field—was presented to natural leader Mitchell Crowley who is currently playing for the University of Rio Grande Red Storm in Rio Grande, Ohio.