The River City Rascals are proud to announce that Mike Jurgella and Nick Kennedy have been awarded Frontier League Post-season awards for the 2016 campaign.
Mike Jurgella, a catcher in his first year from Plover, Wisconsin, was voted to the 2016 Post-Season All-Star Team while fifth year veteran Nick Kennedy was the recipient of the Fran Riordan Citizenship Award.
Through 93 games, Jurgella is hitting at a .309 mark with five home runs and 41 RBI. The St. Cloud State University product was acquired in a trade during the off-season with the Evansville Otters and has started 71 games, including 45 games behind the plate. Out of his 77 hits, 24 of them have been for extra bases, which ranks top five on the team and he also is ranked towards the top of the team in walks (33) and on base percentage at a .392.
"I am honored to recieve this award. There are a lot of good catchers in this league and to recieve this award is very special,"Jurgella said. "Thank you to all of those who have supported me and helped me get to this stage of my career. We have a great team and I am excited to see how far we can take it as we finish up this year."
Defensively, he has committed just one error the entire season and has played three different positions in the field, including 48 behind the plate and started eight games combined between right field and third base. When he wasn’t on the field, Jurgella served as the designated hitter and has been a huge part in the Rascals hunt for the post season.
He was also a huge part of the Rascals eleven game winning streak in the month of August and finished the month leading the team with a .409 batting average and drove in 18 runs.
One of the many relievers that Jurgella caught for this year, Nick Kennedy, was the second Rascal to win an award this season. Kennedy was awarded the Fran Riordan Citizenship award for his work on and off the field.
"It's a tremendous surprise and I had no idea that I was even being considered, what an honor," Kennedy said. "I would like to thank Steve Brook and all the people that had a part of this, including Fort Zumwalt High School and Arcadia High School. I don't do what I do off the field for awards, I do because it is a rewarding profession and again it's a tremendous honor."
Kennedy joined the Rascals in 2012 and holds the franchise record in appearances with 201. The right-hander from Pasadena, California, has maintained a 3.00 ERA with 14 wins and has thrown 271.1 innings with 239 strikeouts. He was named an All-Star in 2013 where he appeared in 51 games and a 2.44 ERA. The right-hander has also been solid in five Rascals postseason games allowing two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings helping lead the Rascals to a 2014 Frontier League Championship Series. In 2015, Kennedy went down in early June with an injury and has bounced back nicely. He has been the most used reliever on the team this year and currently holds the second best ERA out of relievers (2.95).
Kennedy has also made his mark off the field since arriving to the St. Charles area in 2012 and for the past few years, he has worked as a paraprofessional dealing with special education and autistic kids at Fort Zumwalt East High School. This past off-season he continued his community efforts by volunteering for the baseball team at Fort Zumwalt High School. Kennedy’s role was the freshman assistant coach and he helped lead the team to a successful season at 10-8.
“Nick Kennedy overwhelmingly exemplifies the character and professionalism deserving of the Frontier League's Fran Riordan Citizenship Award. At Fort Zumwalt East High School, Kennedy has used his position to encourage and motivate students on a daily basis. His selflessness is both inspiring and contagious to all those around him, both in the classroom and in the clubhouse,” manager Steve Brook.