On Saturday evening, the Georgetown baseball team held its First Pitch Dinner in O’Donovan Hall to recognize last season’s seniors, give out awards for last season and celebrate the beginning of the upcoming season. New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson highlighted the event as the featured guest speaker.
Head Coach Pete Wilk, who is entering his 16th season as head coach, began the evening by acknowledging last year’s seniors’ contributions to the program. Although they never made a Big East tournament in their four years at Georgetown, they still made a tremendous impact on the program.
“It was a special group of kids both on and off the field,” Wilk said. “They left a nice legacy that can be found in today’s team without question. … You’ll see tonight that we’ve got a bunch of guys that built this place before the current team and they still care about the place and still care about the program.”
The first award Wilk announced was last season’s Rookie of the Year honor, which went to sophomore outfielder Beau Hall. Hall started 32 games last season and hit .248 with six doubles, nine runs batted in and eight stolen bases.
“Being rookie of the year is a great honor and I’m very glad I was able to win the award voted by my teammates,” Hall said. “What it means to me is that my teammates trusted in me whenever I was up to bat or when I was in the field. They trusted that I would get the job done, as the same I did with them.”
While Hall is looking to become one of the leaders of the team this season, the winner of last season’s Pitcher of the Year award, junior pitcher Matt Smith, will look to continue leading the team every weekend. Smith was pushed into the role of staff ace when senior Jack Vander Linden was injured, and he excelled in that role.
Pitching every Friday night, Smith went 5-5 in 13 starts with a 3.21 ERA and a team-leading 55 strikeouts. He frequently went deep into ball games, routinely pitching into the 7th and 8th innings by the end of the season.
“[This award] means a lot given that most of the guys on the pitching staff are competing year-round — not necessarily striving for that award in particular, but just trying to be the best that they can possibly be,” Smith said. “As a pitcher on this staff among great teammates and great friends, it’s an honor.”
The last two awards, Team MVP and Teammate of the Year, were both awarded to the same player — senior first baseman Steve Anderson. In his senior year at Georgetown, Anderson finished second on the team with a .344 batting average and led the team in home runs and runs batted in with five and 47, respectively.
“I think being at a university like Georgetown, you pick up values along the way and one of the values I picked up was being able to represent my teammates,” Anderson said. “It definitely wasn’t an award honoring me, but it was more so about the teammates that supported me along the way, my great family and my great coaches along the way.”
After awards were handed out, Alderson took the stage to speak to the Hoyas in the room. He spoke about what being part of a baseball team meant and the great opportunities it provides.
“I’ve always respected Georgetown,” Alderson said. “It’s a great university and I’m pleased to be here. It’s an opportunity for me to talk about the game but also what it means to play Division I baseball and represent a great university like Georgetown.”
While he was sad to see last year’s seniors go, Wilk believes this year’s team has its own chance to be special.
“It’s a family and we lost part of the family last year when they graduated, but we have more freshmen coming in and the cycle continues,” Wilk said.