Trio of Ducks Receive Atlantic League Postseason Awards
(Central Islip, N.Y.) - The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced its 2021 Postseason Awards. Long Island Ducks infielder Steve Lombardozzi was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to both the league's Postseason All-Star Team and Red, White and Blue All-Defensive Team. Catcher Hector Sanchez also earned a spot on the Postseason All-Star Team, while both he and outfielder L.J. Mazzilli were named to the All-Defensive Team.
"2021 was the most challenging season in the history of the Atlantic League," said Rick White, League President. "Our clubs and players contended with countless trials just to start the season yet managed to give fans the high level of play on the field and terrific ballpark experiences they've come to expect from the Atlantic League. The awards represent the 'best of the best' of the remarkable people powering our 2021 Championship Season."
Lombardozzi becomes the second player in franchise history to be named Defensive Player of the Year, joining shortstop Dan Lyons, who was the league's inaugural winner in 2015. He committed just four errors all season, the fewest among all qualifying infielders in the ALPB, and posted a .992 fielding percentage. He also led the league with 256 assists and helped turn a league-high 78 double plays. Lombardozzi spent the majority of his season at second base during the 2021 campaign while also seeing time at third base and shortstop.
"It's a huge honor winning this award," remarked Lombardozzi. "I love playing defense, and I take an extreme amount of pride in it. To be recognized in this way means a lot to me."
The six-year MLB veteran's trio of recognitions come on the heels of being named the Atlantic League's Player of the Year in October. He put together a career year in 2021, leading the league in walks (90) while ranking second in games played (119) and hits (143), third in at bats (435) and fourth in runs scored (99). The 33-year-old also finished in the Top 10 in on-base percentage (.440), batting average (.329), total bases (221), RBIs (83), stolen bases (20) and doubles (24).
Sanchez excelled both at the plate and behind it during his second season with the Flock. Offensively, his 18 home runs were the most among Ducks players, while his 70 RBIs ranked second behind only Lombardozzi. In 82 games, he totaled 52 runs, 140 total bases, 14 doubles and an .819 OPS. Defensively, the seven-year big leaguer led all qualifying catchers in the Atlantic League with a .996 fielding percentage and committed a league-low two errors. Additionally, he threw out 37% of runners trying to steal, the second-highest among ALPB catchers behind only Lancaster's Anderson De La Rosa.
Mazzilli was exceptional defensively in 2021, playing all three outfield positions while spending the majority of his time in left field. He combined to make just four errors all season, posting a .979 fielding percentage. His eight outfield assists were the most among left fielders and fourth-most among all outfielders in the Atlantic League. Mazzilli's leaping catch to rob a home run from Scott Kelly on June 16 was featured by ESPN on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays. The second-year Duck was also outstanding offensively, hitting .303 with 11 homers, 69 RBIs, 77 runs and a .381 on-base percentage.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball. Over 8 million fans have enjoyed the Ducks brand of affordable, fun entertainment at Fairfield Properties Ballpark since inception in 2000. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call 631-940-DUCK (3825).
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Atlantic League Stories from November 24, 2021
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