Lynn, Ma. 6-14-17. Austin Michel was the starting pitcher of the Navigators against the Brockton Rox at Fraser Field.

Navigators’ Michel earns top pitching honors

LYNN -- Austen Michel was rewarded for putting together one of the finest seasons ever by a North Shore Navigators pitcher on Tuesday, as it was announced that the Dartmouth College rising sophomore was named the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s (FCBL) Pitcher of the Year for 2017.

A South Hamilton, Mass., native and one of six North Shore players named midseason All-Stars in the FCBL this past July, Michel becomes the first-ever Navigator to win the league’s top annual pitching honor.

Michel made his first three appearances out of the bullpen in June before being thrust into the starting rotation for six starts, ultimately going 2-0 with a league-leading 1.55 ERA in nine total outings. He wound up pacing North Shore with 50 strikeouts while allowing just eight earned runs and seven walks in his 46.1 innings of work.

Michel’s ERA goes down as the sixth-best over a single season in Navs history, while his strikeout total ranks second all-time, behind only 2014 alum Matt Rodriguez (West Florida).

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound righty worked into at least the sixth inning in all of his starts and tossed more than two frames in his relief outings. He was the only FCBL pitcher this summer and the first in Navs history to throw two complete games in a season, going the seven-inning distance for his June 22 and July 15 victories in which the Bristol Blues and Pittsfield Suns were respectively held to a single run apiece.

Michel was just the third member of the Big Green to ever throw for the Navs, joining Georgetown native Michael Johnson, who pitched at Fraser Field in 2009 and is now in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and rising junior captain and teammate Cole O’Connor, who won 10 combined games for North Shore in 2015 and 2016.

In fact, Michel and O’Connor were the only Navs to strike out nine batters in a single game over the last two summers. Michel reached that mark in his latter win at Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park and fanned at least six in five separate appearances on the year.

Michel, who played baseball for four years and basketball for three at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and then completed a postgraduate year at Cheshire Academy, compiled a 4.70 ERA and was one of just two Dartmouth freshmen to appear in 10 or more games this spring. He made his first collegiate start April 24 against eventual Ivy League champion Yale.

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