NORTON, Mass. - Wheaton College freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) has been named the inaugural D3baseball.com National Rookie of the Year and was placed on the Honorable Mention Team.
Named the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year earlier this season, De la Cruz has helped the Lyons (38-9) advance to the College World Series for the second time in program history. He leads the team in both RBI (46) and on-base pct. (.447), and ranks second in average (.384), hits (71), and slugging pct (.443). A NEWMAC First Team selection, De la Cruz was named to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Third Team last week before batting .333 with four RBI, three runs and a pair of stolen bases in the NCAA New England Regional in Mansfield, Conn.
De la Cruz has hit safely in 41 of Wheaton's 47 games this season and enters the CWS with hits in eight of his last nine contests. He has at least one RBI in 30 games, 21 multi-hit games, and has struck out just 15 times in 185 at bats. De la Cruz's 481 putouts in 47 starts at first base this season is a single-season program record, while his 71 hits are t-No. 4 and his RBI total is No. 10 on the list.
De le Cruz becomes the sixth student-athlete in Wheaton history to earn D3baseball.com All-America honors, joining Adam Gingras (2008, Honorable Mention), Sean Munley (2009, Honorable Mention), Nolan Corr (2010, Third Team), Jon Shepard (2010, Third Team), and teammate Dan Haugh (2011, Second Team). He was also one of eight players from the New England named to the team and the lone NEWMAC representative.
The Lyons begins play at the College World Series on Friday, May 25 with a 10 a.m. contest against Webester University at Fox Cities Field in Appleton, Wis.
Release courtesy of Wheaton College Sports Information