June 1, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's head baseball coach Fritz Hamburg was named the 2009 Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Coach of the Year, it was announced on Monday. Hamburg, in his first season as a head coach, was tabbed by his fellow coaches and the sports information directors at the five area Division I baseball-playing universities.
Hamburg led the Hawks to a 16-30-1 record in his first year at the helm and guided the Hawks to their best Atlantic 10 conference finish in six years. A native of Doylestown, Pa., he returned to the Philadelphia area after serving as an assistant coach for 17 seasons; most recently he was the associate head coach at the United States Military Academy, where he worked with the Army pitching staff for eight years.
Mower was 5-5 this season with a 4.80 earned run average. He moved into fifth place all-time on the SJU career innings pitched list and with his 15th victory on May 9, he sits in a fifth-place tie for the most career wins in the Crimson and Gray. Mower was named the Big 5 Pitcher of the Week on May 16, and this is the second consecutive season he was named to the All-Big 5 Team.
Oriente led the Big 5 and was third in the Atlantic 10 with a .403 batting average; he is the first hawk to finish with an average of .400 or better in at least 75 at bats since 2000. As the team's primary designated hitter, he led the squad with six home runs, 39 runs batted in and a .604 slugging percentage. He was also chosen as one of five players to make the Big 5 All-Academic Team as well.
Valesente earned the nod at second base after hitting .369 on the year with five home runs and 35 RBI, all good for second on the team. He led the Hawks in hits (65), runs scored (39), doubles (15) and on-base percentage (.459). He tied a pair of school records on March 11, notching three doubles and five hits in a win over SIU-Edwardsville, and currently sits 16th on SJU's all-time hit list with 160 career hits.