WASHINGTON, D.C. (NCBWA) - Returning NCBWA Pro-Line Athletic All-America stars and several standouts from the 2006 NCAA World Series highlight the eighth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason 2007 All-America team.
2006 first team first baseman Andy D'Alessio (.312-23 HR-85 RBI) of Clemson joins fellow first unit member OF Kellen Kulbacki of James Madison (.464-24 HR-75 RBI), the nation's returning leader in home runs and batting average in Division I, and Cal State Fullerton World Series returnee Wes Roemer (13-2, 145 SO, 7 walks, 155 IP) as three of the sterling returnees.
NCAA World Series heroes 1B Chad Flack and SS Josh Horton of North Carolina on the second team have their school poised to make another run at the NCAA Championship, captured last June by Oregon State for the first time. Fellow CWS competitors include first team starting pitcher (after blazing in relief in '06) Cole St. Clair, P/1B Joe Savery and SS Brian Friday of the Rice Owls on the '07 dream team rosters.
Team USA performers from summer 2006 also are in abundance with Vanderbilt 3B Pedro Alvarez, utility star P-1B Sean Doolittle of Virginia, Rice's St. Clair, and Texas Tech's Roger Kieschnick, to name just a few, receiving recognition.
The starting pitching staff also has strong numbers worth noting behind Roemer. TCU's Jake Arrieta (14-4), Arkansas' Nick Schmidt (9-3), and Nebraska's Tony Watson (10-2) were aces of their staffs, while relief men Joshua Fields (15 saves) of Georgia, Blair Erickson (14) of UC Irvine and Milan Dinga of Army (10) combined for 39 saves and microscopic ERAs in a total of 81 appearances out of the bullpen.
First team infielders and outfielders featured such feats as Alvarez's 22 home runs as a freshman, seven triples and 36 stolen bases by Alabama OF Emeel Salem, a 11-2 pitching mark to compliment a .324 batting average by Doolittle, and 17 home runs apiece by C Kevin Coughlin of Kentucky and OF Steven Strasbaugh of Western Carolina.
The three units have representation from 18 different conferences as teams anticipate the opening of 2007 baseball in late January or early February. Preseason All-Americans give a sneak peek to those who may be in contention for the prestigious 21st annual Dick Howser Trophy, voted upon by NCBWA members and awarded annually in Omaha, Neb., prior to the NCAA World Series.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Dick Howser Player of the Year Trophy, Regional Players of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-American awards, publication and writing contests.