PAINESVILLE, OHIO – For the second straight year, junior shortstop Ryan Rua and senior outfielder Brandon James were honored and recognized by the American Baseball Coaches Association. After helping lead the Storm to a school-record in wins and into contention for a playoff spot until the season's final weekend, the pair was named to the ABCA All-Midwest Region First Team on Friday (May 20) while junior outfielder Matt Toth earned a spot on the second-team and was selected for the ABCA Midwest Region Gold Glove Team.
The teams are selected by votes from the region's head coaches.
Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) and James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) were second-team all-region picks in 2010 and were also named first-team Daktronics, Inc. All-Midwest Region earlier this week and All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) First Team selections last week. Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) was a second-team All-GLIAC selection.
After entering the year as the fourth-ranked draftable prospect in Division II according to Baseball America, Rua had school single-season records with 68 hits and 19 stolen bases and led the Storm in 11 statistical categories on offense. He batted an even .400 (68-of-170) for the second straight year, scored 42 runs and drove in 44. He had 16 doubles and shared the team lead with five home runs. Rua slugged a team-high .594 and had a Storm-best 1.031 OPS, starting all 47 games.
A two-sport star at LEC, James capped his career by leading the entire GLIAC in hitting with a .414 average (65-of-157). He hit two homers and drove in 31 runs, had 10 doubles and stole nine bases. He scored 32 times and was second on the team in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. James ended his career as the Lake Erie leader in 14 categories, including games played, hits, average and stolen bases.
Toth also batted .400 (62-of-155) and was second on the team with 41 runs scored and 13 doubles. He slugged .503 out of the leadoff spot in the Storm lineup and led Lake Erie in on-base percentage (.486). He hit a home run and drove in 21 runs while stealing 14 bases.
He earned his spot on the Gold Glove Team with one of the best years for an outfielder in school history. He registered an even 100 putouts and committed just one error for a .991 fielding percentage and ranked among the conference leaders with an impressive five outfield assists, playing primarily in right field but also in center.
All first-team All-Region selections are placed on the national ballot for All-American consideration. The All-American teams will be released May 29.
Lake Erie won a school-record 21 games this year (21-26), eclipsing the 20-win mark for the first time. The Storm finished sixth in its first season in the GLIAC, going 14-20 in league play.