Braden Kapteyn Named NYCBL Player of the Year

Aug. 13, 2009

HORNELL, N.Y. -- After leading his Amsterdam Mohawks to the 2009 New York Collegiate Baseball League title, Kentucky sophomore Braden Kapteyn was named NYCBL Player of the Year and Playoff Most Valuable Player, it was announced.

Kapteyn, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder, owned the NYCBL throughout the summer, both offensively and on the mound as the top pitcher in the league. The Lansing, Ill., native started 37 games, posting a .319 batting average (46-for-144), leading the team in hits (46) and home runs (four). Kapteyn added eight doubles, 24 RBI and five stolen bases. On the mound, Kapteyn was a workhorse, starting seven games and appearing in eight, totaling a 4-1 record and a 2.47 ERA. The right-hander led the league with 72 strikeouts in 47.1 innings, allowing only 23 hits and 25 walks, with opponents hitting for a .145 average. Kapteyn was also named a NYCBL all-star, getting the starting assignment on the mound for the mid-summer tilt.

On Saturday, the 2008 Louisville-Slugger High School All-American led the Mohawks to the championship game. Katpeyn started the game on the mound and hit third in the order, helping lead his club to a dramatic 11-10 championship win. On the mound, he lasted 3.2 innings, allowing three hits and five runs, walking three. Kapteyn did most of Amsterdam's offensive production in the game, driving in six RBI on a 3-for-5 day, coming just a triple shy of the cycle. His big swing came in the sixth inning, a three-run homer to centerfield.

"I was going down the line and thinking, 'get out,'" Kapteyn said about his home run. "The wind took it or something, I don't know. I thought it was a pop-up."

After Kapteyn's homer, Amsterdam subsequently relinquished the lead with UK sophomore Chase Greene on the mound. The Mohawks responded with two runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead for good.

"I just wanted our pitchers to throw strikes, let them hit it into outs," Kapteyn said about Amsterdam losing the lead in the bottom of the sixth. "I just wanted to get through with it. It was pretty gut wrenching, actually."

Following the game, Katpeyn was named playoff MVP, after collecting seven of his 10 post-season RBI in the best-of-three final series.

As a true freshman at UK and in the best baseball conference in the nation, Kapteyn was relied upon both on the mound as a late-inning reliever and as a middle-of-the-order run producer. Kapteyn hit .319 (45-for-141) in 37 games for UK, leading the team with 11 doubles, adding four homers and 27 RBI. On the mound, Kaptyen led UK with four saves and a team-best 5-0 record among relievers, striking out 42 in 32.2 innings. In Southeastern Conference games alone in 2009, Kapteyn totaled a 2-0 record and a save, striking out 19 in 15.1 innings. 

In addition to Greene and Kapteyn, right-hander Sean Bouthilette and outfielder Cory Farris enjoyed a stellar summer son the Mohawks. Bouthilette posted a 2.02 ERA and a 4-3 record in nine starts, tossing two complete games in 49 innings. Bouthilette struck out 42 and issued just 14 walks, holding opponents to a .208 average. Greene, a native of Nicholasville, Ky., who began pitching full-time for the first time as a freshman in 2009, finished with a 3-0 record and a 0.71 ERA in 16 games. Greene tossed 25.1 innings, allowing only two earned runs, walking 14 and striking out 25. Most impressively, Greene allowed only 11 hits in 25.1 innings, allowing opponents to hits for a .128 average. Farris finished with a .280 average, adding two homers and 15 RBI in 34 games.

Bouthilette, Farris, Greene and Kapteyn are among the young talented prospects that helped UK secure the best recruiting class in school history in 2009, a class that ranked fourth in the NCAA by Baseball America, in Gary Henderson's first year as UK head coach. Kentucky returns six first-year position starters from its 2009 lineup in 2010, in addition to talented hurlers Logan Darnell, Alex Meyer and Mike Kaczmarek.

JOHNSON, HALL EXCEL IN NYCBL

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Elsewhere in the NYCBL, UK's Neiko Johnson and Navarro Hall also had excellent summers. Johnson's summer was especially memorable as he was named Co-Offensive Most Valuable Player of his Watertown Wizards club in a voting of fans.

Johnson, a UK junior infielder, set a franchise record with 37 walks in 39 games for Watertown, also tying for the team lead and single-season franchise record of 22 stolen bases. Johnson hit .340 (48-for-141) with 28 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, two homers and 24 RBI, posting a 37/23 walk/strikeout ratio.

Hall, a sophomore outfielder, played in 39 games for Mohawk Valley, hitting .289 (39-for-135) with six doubles, one homer and nine RBI. Hall also showed a disciplined approach at the plate, drawing a team-high 36 walks and reaching base at a .458 clip.