Saints announce postseason awards

Manistee's Lucas Richardson has been named the Saints' 2017 Player of the Year. Manistee finished the 2017 season with a record of 11-21. (News Advocate file photo)

Manistee’s Lucas Richardson has been named the Saints’ 2017 Player of the Year. Manistee finished the 2017 season with a record of 11-21. (News Advocate file photo)

MANISTEE — The Manistee Saints have officially concluded their 2017 season with the announcement of their Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

The 2017 Player of the Year is Lucas Richardson and Pitcher of the Year is Robin VanOrden.

Richardson earned the honor for the second consecutive year by hitting .316 and leading the team in doubles with 10 and RBI with 24. He played in every game of the season to extend his consecutive games-played streak to 119 for the Saints.

Manistee manager Tyrone Collins said that Richardson led the team by example.

“He started out the season pretty much on fire, went through a little slump midseason, but finished the season strong,” Collins said. “That’s good for the other guys who maybe haven’t been around as long to see how somebody responds when the going gets tough.”

Richardson has been a mainstay in right field for the Saints, but also played some first base this season.

Collins said that Richardson, a Brethren native who is going into his senior baseball season at Trine University, is also valuable to the club in the off-season, with player recruiting.

“We need a guy like that, talking to players at the colleges,” Collins said. “Whether it’s where he plays or guys he maybe plays against, he talks to those guys for us and passes their names along to myself or (Saints general manager) Phil (Kliber). We reach out to them and try to encourage them to become Manistee Saints.”

VanOrden, on the other hand, played his first season in Manistee in 2017, was the workhorse of the Saints’ starting rotation, leading the team in games pitched with 9, innings pitched with 55 2/3 and strikeouts with 35, posting an earned run average of 2.77 with a very deceiving win/loss record of 3-4 in the Great Lakes UBL.

“I knew when I handed him the baseball, for the most part we had a chance to win every game he pitched,” Collins said. “If our offense had been a little stronger along the way, I don’t know that he would have lost a game.”

VanOrden, from Kalkaska, will be a sophomore at Delta College this fall after a freshman season in which he helped the Pioneers finish fifth in the country at the 2017 NJCAA World Series.

For the Saints, VanOrden also played first base and played a few games as designated hitter, after asking Collins for an opportunity to be something other than just a pitcher.

“We gave him a chance, and he definitely proved to be a pretty good hitter,” Collins said. “He was a guy I knew he could call on late in a game if he wasn’t pitching in a pinch-hitting role.”

The Saints finished the 2017 campaign with a record of 11-21.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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