Rowley, McKague And Watkins Earn All-Region Accolades

Chris Rowley

Chris Rowley

June 18, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The impressive postseason awards continue to pile up for the record-breaking 2012 Army baseball team, which saw three of its members selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Northeast Region team on Monday.

Junior Chris Rowley and seniors Kevin McKague and J.T. Watkins were honored by the organization after turning in outstanding individual seasons for the Patriot League champion Black Knights. Rowley was one of four pitchers named to the first team, while McKague (first base) and Watkins (catcher) were both placed on the second unit at their primary positions.

Today's selections continue a recent trend of Army players being honored by the ABCA as the Black Knights have placed at least one player on the all-region team each of the last four years. Army has totaled 15 all-region honorees over the past nine seasons, a span that coincides with the best overall stretch of success in program history.

Rowley shattered a number of single-season Academy records during his impressive 2012 campaign. The Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, who collected a pair of All-America certificates earlier this month, earned first-team all-league laurels and was named a semifinalist for the prestigious Dick Howser Trophy.

Rowley (11-1, 2.40 ERA) finished the season ranked seventh in the nation with 11 victories, third in WHIP (0.88), ninth in hits allowed per nine innings (5.92) and 10th with six complete games. The third-year hurler struck out 80 batters and walked only 22 in 97.1 innings pitched over 15 starts. He yielded just 13 extra-base hits, and opponents batted a meager .190 against him.

The Duluth, Ga., native established or tied single-season Academy standards for wins (11), shutouts (five), consecutive shutouts (four), consecutive scoreless innings (29), consecutive innings without giving up an earned run (29), innings pitched (97.1) and games started (15).

Rowley, who was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week a record-tying four times this season, was nearly unhittable versus conference opponents during the regular season. He fired four consecutive complete-game shutouts to open the league season, and finished with a perfect 5-0 mark and a microscopic 0.51 ERA. He allowed just two runs on 12 hits and three walks over 35 innings, while striking out 33 batters. Conference foes batted just .103 against him during the regular season.

McKague, meanwhile, earns all-region laurels for the second time in his career after being named to the first team as a relief pitcher following his record-setting junior season in 2010. The power-hitting first baseman, who was selected as the Patriot League Player of the Year and earned his fourth career all-conference award in May, led Army in nearly every major offensive category in 2012.

McKague led the Patriot League this year with a .379 batting average, a .475 on-base percentage, 75 base hits, 16 doubles and 106 total bases. He also ranked tied for third in the conference with five home runs.

McKague also doubled as Army's shutdown closer in 2012. He finished the campaign with a 1-0 record to go along with a 1.46 earned run average and five saves in 12.1 innings pitched over 11 appearances. He had 12 strikeouts and opponents batted a paltry .182 against the hard-throwing righty.

The Fayetteville, N.C., native re-wrote the Army history books during his stellar career on the diamond. He leaves the Academy as the program's all-time leader in base hits (283), doubles (55), multiple-hit games (87), total bases (414), games played (210), games started (207), times hit by pitch (39) and at-bats (796). McKague also holds program marks for career saves (27) and single-season saves (13 in 2010).

Watkins, who was named to the All-Patriot League first team this spring, batted .316 this season with five home runs, nine doubles and 31 runs batted in. He finished with a .481 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage.

A two-time All-Patriot League selection, Watkins holds Academy career and single-season records for percentage of base runners thrown out. Watkins batted .310 during his career with 10 home runs, 22 doubles and 104 RBI. He was named to the Watch List for the Johnny Bench Award each of the last two seasons.

McKague and Watkins, who were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army during West Point's commencement exercises last month, will continue their baseball careers after both were drafted in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. McKague was picked by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round, while Watkins was taken by the Boston Red Sox with a 10th-round selection.

Rowley, meanwhile, is playing for the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plain League this summer in order to get geared up for the 2013 campaign.

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