May 22, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - The Atlantic 10 Conference announced today that Saint Joseph's sophomore outfielder Ben Wendle was named Second Team All-Conference in voting conducted by the league's head coaches. It was also announced today that freshman catcher Drew Smith and freshman infielder David Valesente were named to the conference's All-Rookie team.
Wendle was the top performer for the Hawks at the plate this season. He spent most of the season leading all everyday players in batting average before settling in at .324, third among the regulars. He led the team in hits (58), runs scored (31), doubles (17), home runs (seven), RBIs (39), and slugging percentage (.536). He was also one of three Hawks to have 16 multi-hit games, and led the squad with eight multi-RBI games. His 17 doubles tied him for sixth on the program's all-time single-season list. Wendle also had two five-RBI games on the season, both coming in key Atlantic 10 matchups. For his efforts, he was named the Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Player of the Week twice during the season. Wendle also received the team's Leahy Award for loyalty and dedication, as well as its Hitter of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors.
Smith came on strong later in the season as his playing time increased. He ended the year with a .363 batting average, tops on the squad, in 32 games played. His 10 extra-base hits were tied for second on the team. He also hit a home run in a game at Georgetown, and finished the year with 13 RBIs. His .505 slugging percentage ranked him second behind Wendle, and his .430 on-base percentage was the highest on the team.
Valesente appeared in 41 of SJU's 49 games as a freshman, starting 36 of them at second base, third base, and designated hitter. He finished the year as one of the Hawks' most productive hitters, ranking third on the team with 47 hits and 18 RBIs. He also had a team-best nine-game hitting streak from April 25 to May 11, recording at least two hits in the final six games of that streak, during which he hit .432 (16-for-37). Valesente was named the Atlantic 10's Co-Rookie of the Week on May 7.