May 23, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University baseball program picked up its ninth West Coast Conference player of the year honor on Friday when Scott Dierks earned Co-Player of the Year alongside Kevin Estrada of Pepperdine. He becomes the first SCU player since Mike Frank in 1997 to receive player of the year accolades.
Joining Dierks on the all-conference teams was fellow senior Joe Diefenderfer who earned also garnered a first team selection. Seniors Jack Headley and A.J. LaBarbera, along with freshman Patrick Overholt were each named to the second team. There were four all-conference honorees that were unanimous choices for the first team, two of which were from Santa Clara in Dierks and Diefenderfer. Greg Ramirez from Pepperdine and Jon Higashi from Loyola Marymount were the other two.
In his final year on the Mission Campus, Dierks put together one of the most memorable single-season performances in school history, batting .394 with 18 home runs, 14 doubles, 45 runs scored, 42 RBI, a slugging percentage of .794 and an on base percentage of .485. In the 30 league games alone he captured the league's Triple Crown, batting .425 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI, all of which came as the team's leadoff hitter.
Diefenderfer earns his first all-league selection after finishing his final year with an 8-3 record and a 3.40 ERA. He limited his opponents to a .269 average while striking out 69 and walking only 12. His record in league play was even more amazing, going 6-0 with a 1.54 ERA, striking out 38 and walking only seven in seven starts.
Headley concluded his stellar Santa Clara career with the third all-league selection in the last four years. He earned first team honors as a sophomore while his second team selection in 2000 was paired that included Freshman of the Year honors in 2000. As a senior he batted .335 with a team-high 17 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 39 runs scored, 30 RBI and 19 stolen bases. In WCC only games he batted .371 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI.
LaBarbera, who signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, earns his first All-WCC honor after batting .300 with nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 30 RBI. He scored 37 times and made only six errors all season long at second base, but it was his 28 walks with only 23 strikeouts that proved him to be a very patient and potent offensive threat. In league games alone he batted .317 and made only three errors in 30 contests.
Overholt became the all-time single season saves leader at Santa Clara, posting 10 during his rookie season in college ball, and tying Mike McDonald who registered 10 saves in both the 1996 and 1997 seasons for the Broncos. The freshman from Sandy, Utah, also posted a 4-4 record and a 3.00 ERA, striking out 47 batters in only 48 innings of work whlie limiting his opponents to a .228 batting average.
The five first and second team selections are the most for the program since 1997 when the Broncos placed five players on the first team and two more on the second team. The 1998 and 1999 teams had six and five players, respectively, selected to the all-conference teams, but in each case four of those selections were honorable mention honors.