Bama baseball update: Stonard on a roll

COTUIT, Mass. -- University of Alabama second baseman Peter Stonard and his summer league team, the Cotuit Kettleers are on a roll one week into the 2002 Cape Cod League summer baseball season. <br><br>This and other news involving Bama baseball follows:

The Kettleers (9-0) are the only undefeated team in the Cape Cod League after the first week of play and Stonard was named the first Coca-Cola Cape Code League Hitter of the Week on Monday, helping the Kettleers to that unblemished record.

As of Monday, Stonard was third in the league with a .406 batting average (13-for-32) in the summer wooden bat league. He also led the Cape Cod league with 13 hits and was second in the league with nine RBI. In addition, Stonard has eight runs, one double, four walks and three stolen bases as an outfielder and designated hitter for the Kettleers this summer.

After starting the season with three hits in hits in his first 12 at-bats (.250), the Clayton, Mo., native has caught fire. In his last five games, Stonard is batting .625(10-for-16) with six runs scored, one double and six RBI. He has hit safely in eight of his nine games this season for the Kettleers.

As a sophomore for the Crimson Tide this season, Stonard appeared in 57 games, seeing action in right field, first base and second base. Stonard batted .411 (97-for-236) with five home runs and 42 RBI this season. He added 59 runs, 22 doubles and 18 stolen bases. Stonard also compiled a .610 slugging percentage for the Crimson Tide.

The .411 batting average is the second-highest ever at Alabama behind David Magadan's .525 clip as a junior in 1983. In addition, the .411 avergae is highest ever by an Alabama sophomore, breaking Magadan's record (.395) set in 1982. In addition, Stonard is just the fifth player in school history to hit over .400 in a season and third third under coach Jim Wells.

The UA second baseman closed the year with a 12-game hitting streak, where he batted .426 (23-for-54) with nine runs, five doubles and 10 RBI. Stonard hit safely in 24 of his final 25 games and 29 of his last 31 games, dating back to April 12.

In other UA baseball news, the Crimson Tide finished the season with a 51-15 overall record and won the 2002 SEC Western Division championship and SEC Tournament championship. It was the school's 10th SEC Western Division title and second under Wells. The SEC Tournament championship was the sixth by Alabama and fifth under Wells.

The 2002 team ended the season with the third-most wins in school history and finished the year ranked among the Top 16 by Baseball America, Baseball Weekly and Collegiate Baseball. The NCBWA poll will be released on Tuesday. Alabama ended the season ranked 12th by Baseball Weekly, 13th by Baseball America and 16th by Collegiate Baseball.

Freshman left-hander Taylor Tankersley was cut from the Team USA Baseball Trails on Monday, after appearing in two intra-squad games for USA Red. The Vicksburg, Miss., native allowed three runs and six hits, with one strikeout in three innings of work. The 22-man roster was announced on Monday and the annual Red, White and Blue 30-game schedule begins tonight in Tucson.

Alabama senior catcher Jeremy Brown and Coach Jim Wells are in Wichita, Kan., for the presentation of the 2002 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the nation's top catcher by The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Brown, a finalist each of the last two years, is competing with Southern California junior Alberto Concepcion and Houston' junior Chris Snyder for this year's award.

All three finalists will attending the 5th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Bench, a member of the 1975 and 1976 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds and major league baseball Hall of Famer, will be on hand to present the award. Former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey will be this year's keynote speaker.

LSU's Brad Cresse won the inaugural award in 2000, while Baylor's Kelly Shoppach was last year's winner, with Brown the runner up.

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