From the opening week of the 2015 Albany Dutchmen season, two players established themselves as leaders in the team’s seventh season, at the plate and on the mound. These two players helped Albany to a 3-1 start in the campaign, and continued their stellar play throughout the summer. For their standout efforts, the Albany Dutchmen are proud to name Ole Miss infielder Michael Fitzsimmons and Towson right-handed pitcher Nick Cioffi as the team’s 2015 Player and Pitcher of the Year, presented by Recognize Awards.
Fitzsimmons posted a record year for the Dutchmen, driving in 36 runs. The 36 RBIs broke a team record held by Zach Remillard (Coastal Carolina) from the 2012 season and current Tampa Bay Rays prospect Matt Dacey from the 2013 season. His 49 hits place him fourth in a single Dutchmen season.
The infielder was Albany’s leading hitter on the season, recording a .301 batting average with 19 extra-base hits, including a three home runs, one each in Utica, Amsterdam, and on the final day of the season against Glens Falls. Sixteen times in the season, Fitzsimmons had at least two hits, and drove in more than one run in a game on eleven occasions. He was named as the team’s Recognize Player of the Week in the opening seven days of the season, where he drove in seven runs with nine hits, including three-hit efforts in wins over Amsterdam and Glens Falls.
Fitzsimmons, who hails from Eads, Tennessee, redshirted this past spring for the Ole Miss Rebels, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament out of the hyper-competitive SEC. In high school, he was an All-State selection in both baseball and football.
Albany head coach Nick Davey said Fitzsimmons will be able to build on his summer with the Dutchmen into a productive role with the Rebels.
“I think he’s a player that’s going to compete for a starting spot there,” Davey said. “He works his tail off every day getting his reps during early work.”
Cioffi, a native of nearby Averill Park, was the ace of the Albany staff from the very beginning. Cioffi sported a 5-1 record with a 1.67 ERA. In 59 innings, he struck out 52 hitters, the third highest single-season total in Dutchmen history. His ERA places him third among the best pitchers in Dutchmen history with at least 20 innings on the mound. He also showed spectacular command, walking just 19 hitters during the season.
In his seven starts, Cioffi allowed more than two earned runs just once, and did not surrender an earned run on four occasions. In his final four starts of the season, Cioffi tossed three complete games, including a nine-inning effort in a 6-1 victory that kept the playoff hopes of the Dutchmen alive. The Towson righty was an All-Star Game selection, and threw a scoreless second inning for the East Division All-Stars, who claimed an 18-2 victory in Little Falls. The local product made 14 appearances in the spring for the Towson Tigers, including six starts over 37 and a third innings.
Davey said that he had hoped to have Cioffi on an Albany roster for three years, and lauded the effort Cioffi puts in every time he climbs a mound, whether in practice or in a game situation.
“Nick is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever met in my life,” Davey said. “He has been a great example of what it takes to work everyday.”
The Dutchmen congratulate Fitzsimmons and Cioffi, as well as the entire Dutchmen roster, who all made contributions to the successful 2015 campaign.