South Bend, IN – The post-season All-Star team for the Midwest League was announced earlier Wednesday and the South Bend Silver Hawks, who littered the mid-season All-Star team with 11 players, had three players named to the post-season team. Cesar Nicolas, Matt Elliott and Carlos Gonzales were named to the team, with Gonzales receiving extra honors as the Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year, while Mark Haley was named Manager of the Year.
Nicolas is currently hitting .299 with 20 home runs, second in the league and 62 RBI. Nicolas missed a portion of the early season with a broken right hand, but since his return he has belted 16 home runs and 50 RBI. Hawks manager Mark Haley said, "He (Cesar) was off six weeks and worked himself hard those six weeks. It's a compliment to him and his work ethic."
Matt Elliott has been outstanding out of the Silver Hawks bullpen, having converted 31-of-33 save chances. Elliott is currently tied with former South Bend White Sox Scott Radinsky for most saves in a season with 31. Radinsky accomplished the feat in 1989. Elliott has compiled a record of 2-4 with an ERA of 2.09. Haley considers Elliott to be a "Steady Eddie", and says of his reliever, "He has stayed consistent emotionally, which has allowed him to battle through at being the closer." Elliott also has also struck out 65 with 20 free passes.
Carlos Gonzales had a slow start to his season, hitting .241 with a homer and 12 RBI in the first month of the season, but in May, June and July, combined to hit .342 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. Haley said of Gonzales, "He is an all around good athlete who is maturing as a player and an individual." .Gonzales is currently third in the Midwest League in outfield assists (12) and at one point in the campaign, hit half of his home runs (7) in the month of July. Haley went on to say about the Silver Hawks right-fielder, "He can be better than he is."
For Silver manager Mark Haley, the Manager of the Year honor comes during the best season the Silver Hawks have put together in recent history. The Hawks are 76-52 under the eye under the eye of their first year skipper, have qualified for the post-season and are working to finish with the best record in the Midwest League. Haley appreciates the fact the other managers in the league think enough of him to name him Manager of the Year, but he says, "This award should be named for staff of t he year. You can't get anything accomplished without a staff."