Four Mountain Hawks honored by Perfect Game prior to 2021 campaign
BETHLEHEM, PA. – Lehigh Baseball received more preseason awards when Perfect Game released its 2021 Patriot League preview Tuesday afternoon. Three Mountain Hawks, second catcher Adam Retzbach, junior third baseman Gerard Sweeney and junior right-handed Mason Black were inducted into the All-Patriot League team prior to the 2021 campaign.
In addition, Schwarz was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year and freshman right-handed Lucas Rich was named Preseason Newbie of the Year.
Black, himself named Preseason Pitcher of the Year by D1Baseball, Baseball America and the Patriot League, is receiving another award from Perfect Game ahead of his junior season, which precedes what will hopefully be a very eventful season and a summer before the 2021 MLB draft.
In his third season with the Mountain Hawks, Black went down to 2-1 in four starts with 3.68 ERA last season but knocked out 29 batters and walked just eight in 22 innings. He knocked out nine batters in each of his last three season starts, cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his rookie season in 2019, Black took a 3-0 lead in five starts and appeared in 10 games after missing the majority of the year due to injury.
Last summer, Black went 3-0 with an ERA of 0.64 and was named Pitcher of the Year in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League. So only 10 hits were scored in 28 innings with 42 strokes and the league’s all-star game started.
A native of Archbald, Pennsylvania, has the opportunity to be the tallest draft player in Patriot League history, currently drafting # 53 in 2021 by MLB Pipeline.
Retzbach had a very strong rookie season with the Mountain Hawks in 2020 and was included in the Spring Watch List of the J. Daniel Nolan Award for outstanding newcomers in Lehigh. Speaking of the perfect game: Retzbach was the preseason rookie of the year last season and lived up to this bill before the season came to a standstill before the league game.
In 13 starts behind the plate, he had a slashline of .296 AVG / .481 SLG / .367 OBP with two home runs and six RBIs going five times. Retzbach led the Mountain Hawks in battle, scoring runs (10) and was tied for the Homers team lead. He also had a productive year in the field at Catcher, throwing out five batters that tried to steal on six attempts. Retzbach starts the 2021 season with a 10-game base streak that goes back to the end of last season.
Despite 15 appearances a season ago, Sweeney tore the defense apart further, building on his impressive 2019 rookie numbers. The American native from Havertown, Pennsylvania, hit with 19 hits, two doubles, a home run and seven .292 / .369 / .343 runs in 2020, led his teammates in hits and was third in base percentage. On the third base, Sweeney finished the season with 25 field assistants and five putouts, and ended the year with a series of six games on the base.
Rich is starting his first season in brown and white with a ton of potential and upside potential. He wants a quick hit on the startup rotation to begin his college career. He has already been named Preseason Freshman of the Year by D1Baseball and has been named Top Newcomer in the Patriot League by Perfect Game in September.
The product from Florham Park, New Jersey, and the Newark Academy had a stellar high school career and was selected by Perfect Game as the first team in the All-Northeast Region in the 2020 season. Rich was the seventh right-handed man in New Jersey and 14th overall in his class.
The Mountain Hawks officially kick off the 2021 season on February 27th in a double header in Coppin State, Baltimore.
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2021 Perfect Game Preseason All-Patriot League Team
Adam Retzbach, Lehigh, C.
Zach Stevens, Marine, 1B
Cam Meyer, Holy Cross, MIF
Justin Johnson, Lafayette, MIF
Anthony Giachin, Army, 3B
Chris Cannizzaro, Bucknell, OF
Andre Walden, Army, OF
David Kale, Holy Cross, OF
Alex Smith, Marine, DH
Gerard Sweeney, Lehigh, UT
Mason Black, Lehigh, Sp
Charlie Connolly, Marine, Sp
Anthony Loricco, Army, Sp
Luke Dawson, Holy Cross, Sp
Trey Braithwaite, Marine, RP
Player of the Year: Anthony Giachin, Army
Mug of the Year: Mason Black, Lehigh
Newbie of the Year: Lucas Rich, Lehigh