Ben Heath Cracks ABCA/Rawlings All-Mideast Region First Team
June 30, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Former Penn State catcher Ben Heath (Huntersville, N.C.) received yet another postseason honor on Tuesday, this time cracking the ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) All-Mideast Region First Team. The Houston Astros farmhand enjoyed a sensational junior season, highlighted by a school-record 19 home runs. He garnered three different All-America honors while being named both a Dick Howser Trophy and Johnny Bench Award semifinalist. Heath becomes the first Penn State player to earn First Team All-Region laurels since 2000.
The postseason honors have been endless for Heath, who was previously named a Louisville Slugger and PING!Baseball Second Team All-American and a Pro-Line Athletic NCBWA Third Team All-American to go along with his First Team All-Big Ten laurels. He was also named both a Howser and Bench semifinalist awarded to the top player and catcher in the nation, respectively. Only 25 players were named a Howser semifinalist while 16 cracked the Bench List.
Selected by the Houston Astros in the fifth round of this month's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Heath became the Nittany Lions' highest position player chosen since 1976 and the highest for an underclassman in school history.
He has impressed early in his professional career, leading his Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) with two home runs and a .932 OPS (on-base plus slugging). His first long ball came in dramatic fashion on Friday when he tied the score with two outs and none on in the bottom of the ninth against Vermont.
Heath led the Nittany Lions in most every statistical category in 2010: average (.369), home runs (19), RBI (57), runs scored (53), doubles (16), extra-base hits (36), total bases (148) and slugging percentage (.747).
On May 14, he hit his 18th home run of the season off Minnesota ace and San Francisco Giants' fourth round pick Seth Rosin to break the 32-year Penn State single-season mark held by Dave Simononis, this coming in his first at-bat at the historic Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Overall, Heath homered against three Big Ten aces, all who were selected in last week's Major League Baseball Draft. Along with Rosin, Alan Oaks (Michigan) was an eighth round pick by the Florida Marlins while Matt Bischoff (Purdue) went in the 20th round to the Seattle Mariners.
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