Two Franciscan University baseball players were listed in a national baseball magazine’s “Players to Watch” for 2022, according to a release by Franciscan’s athletics page.
Written by Mitch Morelli, Franciscan’s sports information director, the release said the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper listed senior second baseman Patrick Wallace and junior pitcher Jacob Watson in its “Top NCAA Division III Baseball Players Spotlighted” article.
Also honored in Collegiate Baseball’s article was senior third baseman Joshua Costello, who chose not to play with the baseball team this season. Junior outfielder Kyle Ferrance and junior pitcher Brendan Burke were also nominated but were ultimately not selected.
The Franciscan players were among some 400 other players picked from a national pool of Division III nominees. Coaches can nominate up to five players each year.
Collegiate Baseball is a national publication serving baseball articles to coaches. The article itself was published in Collegiate Baseball’s Jan. 7 issue and was received in its physical release by Rick Carver, head baseball coach.
Carver said he was notified of the players’ recognition about a week before New Year’s Day. On Dec. 29, Carver personally reached out to Wallace and Watson to notify and congratulate them a few days before emailing the entire team about the players’ acknowledgment.
“I was excited and honored to have received this national recognition,” Wallace said, recalling the first time he heard about his recognition, “especially since there are so many athletes that could have been chosen for this recognition.”
Wallace said, “Getting this type of national recognition just keeps me motivated to continue to get better every day and (to) work hard on and off the field. I just want to be able to play up to my fullest potential this season and have a successful season with my teammates.”
Regarding the 2021 season, Franciscan’s release said Wallace “led the team with 56 hits and 39 runs scored this year. Wallace only went hitless in a game twice this season. The second baseman had nine doubles, a triple and drove in 21 runs in his first full season at Franciscan.”
Also recalling the first time he heard of his recognition, Watson said, “I was excited for myself, but I was also extremely humble about it. I know that (being recognized) isn’t exactly the end goal.”
Watson said, “It’s good to get some personal recognition, but it doesn’t (only) take me to win games and to win a … championship. It takes all of the guys around us. (The recognition) is a cool thing to have, but it doesn’t mean anything if we can’t do anything about it in the long run.”
Franciscan’s release said Watson “earned (Presidents’ Athletic Conference) Pitcher of the Week honors once this season for his complete-game shutout against Geneva. He struck out a season-high seven that night under the lights at Vaccaro Field. Watson walked zero runners in his nine-inning complete game against Waynesburg.”
Carver said of his nominees, “(Wallace’s) honors (are) attributed to consistency and just coming out and being his best every single day. (Watson) is a testament … of hard work for a guy who’s just determined to give it his very, very best.”
Carver said Wallace and Watson have been exemplary on the field, in their statistics and in their academics. For that reason, he said, he believes they are deserving of the recognition.
Franciscan’s baseball team is set to begin its season March 4 at 6 p.m. by traveling to Front Royal, Virginia, for a match against Christendom College.