SAUGET, Ill. – The Frontier League announces its awards for the 2019 Season. This season’s awards are headlined by Evansville’s 3B, Ryan Long, who was named the Most Valuable Player. Southern Illinois’s starting pitcher Chase Cunningham has won the Pitcher of the Year Award. The Jason Simontacchi Award for Rookie of the Year goes to Evansville’s closer Taylor Wright. The Evansville Otters have been selected the Organization of the Year. Michael Larson of the Schaumburg Boomers, has been awarded the Bob Wolfe Executive of the Year award.
The Morgan Burkhart Most Valuable Player Award goes to Ryan Long of the Evansville Otters. Long is in his third season with the Frontier League. Long joined the Otters in 2017, following his 2016 Big 12 Championship run while at Texas Tech. The Crandall, Texas native is batting .292 on the year with 98 hits and 14 homeruns. Long has also collected 77 runs batted in, 25 doubles and a .905 OPS. Long was voted to start for the Frontier League in the 2019 All-Star game. He is the third Evansville Otter to win the League’s MVP.
Southern Illinois pitcher Chase Cunningham has won the Brian Tollberg Award as the League’s Most Valuable Pitcher. The Belmont University alum is in his first season with the Miners, and fourth in the Frontier League. The Miner’s ace has gone 10-4 in 20 starts this season. His team is 15-6 in games in which he pitched. The Bristol, Tennessee native also has a 3.19 ERA to go along with his 128 strikeouts in 130 innings. Cunningham was selected to the 2019 Frontier League All-Star team.
Taylor Wright of the Evansville Otters has won the Jason Simontacchi Rookie of the Year Award. The reliever from Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has saved 17 games this season while striking out 56 in 47.2 innings of work. The Brown University graduate also has a 3-0 record, a .94 WHIP and a .175 batting average against his this season.
Lake Erie Crushers Manager Cameron Roth wins the Roger Hanners Award for Manager of the Year. He led the Crushers to a 51-41 record and a Frontier League Eastern Division Title. This is Roth’s first Manager of the Year honor, and it comes in only his third full season as a Manager. His team has a league best earned run average with 2.93 in 2019.
The Fran Riordan Citizenship Award goes to Tyler Beardsley of the Evansville Otters. Wilfred C. Bussing III, owner of the Evansville Otters, nominated Beardsley. Bussing states in his letter, “Beardsley is one of the most committed young men our club has seen in my 19 years in the League.” Bussing also talks about how easily Beardsley connects with the community, “He is a positive role model to children in the community.” Beardsley participated in numerous activities within the community from reading to children at local learning centers, to promoting pet adoption at local shelters. He also accompanied officers on “ride alongs” after games. The Fran Riordan Award is named for the Frontier League Hall of Famer that is the current Manager of the Oakland A’s AAA team in Las Vegas. He was recently named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.
The Frontier League’s Organization of the Year Award, goes to the Evansville Otters as voted by other organizations throughout the League. The Otters current total attendance this year has been 97,422 with an average of 2,165. This is Evansville’s second Organization of the Year award with the other being in 1997. Evansville is the oldest member of the Frontier League. They joined the League in 1995. 2019 is their 25th Anniversary Season.
Michael Larson, General Manager of the Schaumburg Boomers, receives his first Bob Wolfe Executive of the Year Award. Schaumburg currently leads the League in attendance and in 2019, they realized a team record in corporate sponsorships. Larson is completing his second season as the Boomer’s G.M. He says, “I am greatly honored to win this award. We have a tremendous staff, supportive ownership, loyal fans and a great community.”
Here is a full List of the Award Winners for this season:
Most Valuable Player (Morgan Burkhart Award) – Ryan Long, 3B, Evansville Otters
Pitcher of the Year (Brian Tollberg Award) – Chase Cunningham, SP, Southern Illinois Miners
Rookie of the Year (Jason Simontacchi Award) – Taylor Wright, RP, Evansville Otters
Citizen of the Year (Fran Riordan Award) – Tyler Beardsley, SP, Evansville Otters
Manager of the Year (Roger Hanners Award) – Cameron Roth, Lake Erie Crushers
Coach of the Year (Darren Bush Award) – Max Peterson, Evansville Otters
1B – Quincy Nieporte, Schaumburg
2B – Aaron Hill, Lake Erie
3B – Ryan Long, Evansville (also won in 2018)
SS – Emmanuel Marrero, Lake Erie
C – Nick Oddo, Schaumburg
OF – Kyle Davis, Southern Illinois
OF – Hector Roa, Washington
OF – Ricky Ramirez, Jr., Florence
DH – Nolan Meadows – River City
SP – Chase Cunningham, Southern Illinois
RP – Geoff Bramblett, Gateway
Organization of the Year – Evansville Otters
Executive of the Year – Michael Larson, Schaumburg Boomers
Athletic Trainer of the Year – Margaret Rall, Joliet Slammers
Broadcaster of the Year (Robert Ford Award) – Kyle Dawson, Washington Wild Things
Clubbie of the Year (Sam Hartsfield Award) – Joe Lasco, Joliet Slammers
Writer of the Year – Chris Dugan- Washington Observer-Reporter
Umpire of the Year – Joe Harris
Photographer of the Year- Paul Baillargeon- Gateway Grizzlies
The Frontier League is in its 27th season in 2019 and includes 10 teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to Northern Michigan. The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues, and 35 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues. Follow the Frontier League on Twitter: @FLProBaseball and like the Frontier League Facebook Page.