LUBBOCK, Texas – When it comes to teams vying for a conference championship or a berth in the NCAA regionals, great defensive play is a must. When that great defensive play is paired with solid offensive numbers, that usually signals that player also is a team leader.
That could be said about most of the players on the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award and is an even stronger characteristic for the six players named as the award’s finalists. Each one played a key role in leading their teams to strong seasons, with four of them also guiding their clubs to NCAA Tournament berths.
The six finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award are graduate student Danny DiGeorgio from Rutgers, seniors Tommy Sacco from TCU and Taylor Young from Louisiana Tech, redshirt sophomore Peyton Graham from Oklahoma and sophomores Tanner Schobel from Virginia Tech and Brooks Lee from Cal-Poly.
“I want to congratulate all of the shortstops who made our finalist list on great seasons by all,” said Larry Wallace, co-chair of the Brooks Wallace Award. “This finalist list is always a difficult one to come up with, but I feel like we have a powerful and deserving group. Powerful in that these guys not only field their positions as all shortstops should, but they also hit for power and average. I am very proud of all of these young men for being on our finals list.”
The award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia at the age of 27.
Here is a closer look at the six finalists:
- Danny DiGeorgio, Grad., Rutgers: One of the surprise teams of the 2022 season, the Scarlet Knights have put together an outstanding season that resulted in a second-place finish in the Big Ten. DiGeorgio helped solidify their lineup, hitting .373 with seven home runs and 58 RBI while compiling a .958 fielding percentage.
- Peyton Graham, RS-Soph., Oklahoma: One of the hottest teams coming into the NCAA Tournament is the Oklahoma Sooners, who captured the automatic bid by winning the Big 12 Championships after finishing tied for second in the regular season. Graham is one of the leaders on this Sooners team, hitting .341 with 14 doubles, 16 home runs and 60 RBI while fielding at a .955 clip.
- Brooks Lee, RS-Soph., Cal Poly: The only returning players from the 2021 finalist list, Lee helped lead Cal-Poly to another outstanding season and second-place finish in the Big West. On the year, he hit .361 with 24 doubles, 15 home runs and 54 RBI to go with a .950 fielding percentage.
- Tommy Sacco, Sr., TCU: In the first season under a new coach, the Horned Frogs outlasted the rest of the Big 12 to win the conference’s regular season title, and the experience of Sacco was a big reason why. He leads all finalists with a .973 fielding percentage while hitting .350 with 21 doubles 12 home runs and 51 RBI.
- Tanner Schobel, Soph., Virginia Tech: The Hokies may be the biggest surprise team of the season, coming out of almost nowhere to win the Coastal Division of the ACC. The play of Schobel was a key component of that run to the title and an NCAA Tournament berth as he hit .373 with 16 doubles, 17 home runs and 68 RBI while compiling a .950 fielding percentage.
- Taylor Young, Sr., Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs spent the entire season battling for the Conference USA championship thanks, in part, to the play of Young. The senior was an offensive force for Louisiana Tech, hitting. 352 with 20 doubles, 10 home runs and 46 RBI and was also a vacuum in the field, picking it at a .972 rate.
For more information on the Wallace Award or the College Baseball Foundation, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.