Organization Receives Multiple Postseason Awards from FL
WASHINGTON, Pa. (September 1) – The Frontier League has announced its annual postseason awards and the Wild Things have received four honors as an organization. The organization itself has won Frontier League Organization of the Year, while manager Tom Vaeth is Manager of the Year, lefty Kobe Foster is the league’s Rookie of the Year and shortstop Nick Ward is a post-season All Star.
This year marks the fourth time the Wild Things’ organization has been selected as Frontier League organization of the year. The club won it in its inaugural season in 2002 and again in 2004 (tie with Kalamazoo) and 2005 (East; tie with Florence).
The Wild Things are in the midst of their 20th season of Frontier League play, became the fastest team to 1,000 wins this season on the field in Frontier League history, hosted the 2022 All-Star Game, presented by the Coury Firm and much more. The organization also hosted an extremely successful 2nd Annual Three Rivers Celebrity Softball Game and has seen great success with giveaways, promos and programs like the Senior Slugger Program and Kids Eat Free Program.
“This is an honor that every team [in the league] seeks before a season begins,” said executive director Steven Zavacky of the organization honor. “To have been selected as the Organization of the Year when there are 15 other strong candidates makes this a huge honor for our entire front office and one we worked very hard to achieve. Serving the best fans in all of baseball makes our job all the more fulfilling.”
Vaeth was close to being manager of the year in his first season in 2021 and has earned the Roger Hanners Award for the first time. Vaeth has led the team to a second-consecutive division title, won his 100th game as a manager earlier this season and has the club chasing a championship into the 2022 Frontier League Playoffs.
Foster’s honor marks the second-straight year a Wild Thing has been honored as the Jason Simontacchi Award winner for Rookie of the Year. Ryan Hennen, another left-handed pitcher, was selected last season. Kobe is 8-1 in his first 11 professional outings (10 starts) and has a 1.00 ERA in 63 innings. He has fanned 51 and walked only 15 with 44 hits allowed.
“[It’s a] well-deserved honor for Kobe. He has simply been spectacular since arriving in late June,” said manager Tom Vaeth. “He’s been a great addition to the Wild Things both on and off the field and we couldn’t be happier for him to be named Rookie of the Year. Big things are ahead for this kid.”
Ward was up for MVP consideration and was chosen as the post-season All Star at shortstop for the league. As of the time of voting starting, Ward was second in the league in batting average at .350, first in on-base percentage by nearly .050 at .482, tied for third in walks with 63, seventh in slugging percentage at .611 and among the leaders in multiple other categories. Ward has 16 doubles, 18 home runs and 59 RBI on the season.
“What else can you say about Nick Ward other than every other team in this league would like to have him on their club. It’s unfortunate he got hurt at the end, but the Postseason All-Star recognition is well deserved,” said Vaeth. “We can’t wait to get him back in the lineup. What he has brought to our organization both on and off the field is immeasurable… I know personally he makes me a better manager on a daily basis.”
The organization and team have their sights set on bigger things but intends on taking a moment to recognize the accomplishments.
“There has been a lot of hard work put in this season by our front office, coaching staff and players. It is rewarding to see them receive the recognition they deserve,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “Our culture thrives on winning on the field and providing a first-class experience for those in the stands, so the acknowledgement from our peers is greatly appreciated.”