Playing for the Sant Boi Barcelona Falcons of the Collegiate Baseball League Europe (CBLE) in France, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Maryland RBI’s Jimmie Gentry, Mac McGrath, and CJ Cummings were unanimous selections voted by the league’s coaches to the 2017 CBLE All-Star team.
CBLE is affiliated with the NORTHWOODS LEAGUE, one of America’s premier summer collegiate baseball leagues comprising teams of top college players from the Midwestern United States and Canada.
Cummings (3B/C, University of Mary Washington) had an eye-popping .476/.574/.524 (1.098) slash line with two doubles, 10 walks, and nine runs scored. He was second on the team in total production (runs, RBIs, OPS). His 19 RBIs were an all-time new record for the CBLE. He was selected the team's Offensive Player of the Year.
Gentry (MI, Albright College, Pa.) slashed .378/.465/.459 (.925) on 14 hits in 37 at bats. Of that total, he had 3 extra base hits, all doubles. He also had 5 RBIs, along with 5 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 4 steals, and scored 7 times. In the field, he finished with a .930 fielding percentage and 3.15 range factor. He also received the True Grit Award given to a Falcon team member that best demonstrates the qualities of courage, determination and perseverance.
McGrath (OF, Shenandoah University, Va.) was a hot .306 (11-for-36), including a streak in which he hit safely in four consecutive games. What makes his performance at the plate unique is that in addition he reached base a remarkable 14 additional times on 6 walks, 3 hit by pitch, 3 fielder's choice, and 2 reached base on error. His OBP was .444.
Blake Thrasher (Calvert HS, Md.) became Sant Boi Barcelona and the league’s second all-time leader for most walks in a single season with 17 behind the University of Alabama’s Brink Ambler (19) of the 2015 Falcons. Ambler now coaches at Otterbein University in Ohio. Thrasher slashed .194/.500/.226 (.726) with one double, four RBIs, three hit by pitch, one reached on error, and 10 runs scored. He had a 1-0 pitching record (5.14 ERA) in 7 innings pitched across three games.
McGrath and Connor Graham (OF, Virginia Wesleyan University/Anne Arundel CC, Md.) shared the Falcon Award for the player who best exemplifies the character, spirit, dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm for Sant Boi Barcelona Falcons baseball. Graham hit .318/.404/.523 (.927) with 3 steals, 10 RBIs, 12 runs, 5 walks, 2 hit by pitch, 2 reached base on error, and 16 strikeouts.
Alum Josh Matthews (Hood College, Md.) pitched 10.2 innings and was 2-0 on the hill with .844 ERA, .938 WHIP and 5.1 K’s per game. He allowed opponents just a .200 batting average on 8 hits scattered and issued only 2 walks. Matthews earned the Sportsmanship Award presented to the player who most distinguished himself through demonstrated acts of integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior.
Maryland RBI coaches Chris Cummings and Mike Graham were named the CBLE All-Star team’s coaches for the second consecutive year and directed the CBLE All-Stars to a 9-4 victory over the French National Team.
“It's quite an honor for these young men and a testament to their hard work,” Coach Graham said. “I'm prouder of these honors than any awards our guys have received. These were earned half the world away on the field of intense international collegiate competition.
“Foremost, these are all guys who successfully separated themselves navigating the road from high school and travel ball to playing college baseball, and it’s good to see them get the acknowledgement and bring positive recognition to the Maryland RBI program.
“It’s another indicator that shows how we're producing high caliber players and when we got out there in Europe we showcased our talent. It feels good that all the hard work is being recognized; and people can see what Maryland RBI players can do.
“We’re living a dream come true,” Graham said, “and enjoying it.”