The Central Catholic High School Fighting Irish baseball team has earned the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) 2019-2020 Team Academic Excellence Award.
The award recognizes programs coached by ABCA members that posted a grade point average of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for the entire 2019-20 academic year. Central Catholic’s team GPA was 3.82.
Central Catholic is one of 143 high school teams and 285 programs from the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and Junior College levels that were recognized.
“In light of the challenges faced by so many programs across the country, we are humbled to be able to honor a record number of teams for their outstanding academic achievements,” said ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz. “It is a testament to the leadership of our member coaches and the commitment of their student-athletes who persevered during an unprecedented academic year.”
The Irish baseball team held a Senior Night event at Mercy Field on July 28, honoring its 12 seniors. The Terry “Mudcat” Kwiatkowski Teammate of the Year Award, which included a letter from former MLB umpire, Jim Joyce (Central Catholic Class of 1973), was presented to all 12 senior players for the leadership they showed during the season shutdown. They all attended team Zoom meetings, remained engaged in communication, and showed a great example of leadership to the underclass players in the program.
Senior Brent Matus was the recipient of the Ron Majewski Award for academics, leadership, discipline record, and baseball ability.
The team retired jersey number 20 to honor the Class of 2020 and to remind all future Fighting Irish baseball players to make the most of the opportunity to put on a Central Catholic uniform each day. The jersey will be displayed on the outfield fence and framed in the clubhouse at Mercy Field.
The Bishop Family Garden was dedicated at Mercy Field in memory of Ann Bishop, mother of baseball player, Brett Bishop (Class of 2020), as well as Andrew (Class of 2018), Kevin (Class of 2022), and Brian Bishop (Class of 2023). Ann passed away in February after a battle with metastatic breast cancer.