Mason Black received multiple honors after another strong season leading the Lehigh University pitching staff.
Lakeland graduate Adam Retzbach proved to be a durable defensive leader from the catching position, North Pocono graduate Ryan Deom contributed from the bullpen and Gavin McGowan, a freshman infielder/outfielder from Hazleton Area, made his college debut.
They joined Valley View’s Black in helping Lehigh reach the Patriot League championship series. The Engineers went 17-10 in the Patriot and 24-19 overall. They lost a best-of-three championship series to Army West Point, extending it to a third game after Retzbach singled in the game-winning run in a 3-1 victory in Game Two.
Black figures to be picked in next week’s Major League Baseball Draft after going 11-5 in 2½ seasons (2020 was shortened for the pandemic) at Lehigh.
As a junior this season, the 6-foot-3 right-hander was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, first-team All-East by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings and Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA).
Retzbach, who immediately established himself as the team’s starting catcher as a freshman in 2020, started all but one game this season.
Deom, another sophomore, struggled at times, but made nine appearances out of the bullpen, picking up one win.
McGowan played in two games, making one start as he launched his college career.
Black went 7-3 with a 3.11 earned run average in 13 starts in his second season as co-captain. He struck out 95 while allowing 64 hits and 31 walks in 72 1/3 innings.
Lehigh had four shutouts and Black was prominent in three. The right-hander completed four games, two of which were shutouts, and was also part of a combined shutout.
The impressive numbers were just the latest produced by Black.
At Valley View, where he led the Cougars to the 2018 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A state championship game, Black was 12-5 with a 1.19 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 94 1/3 career innings.
Between Lehigh seasons, which included a 3-0 record as a freshman and a role as the number-one starter in the abbreviated sophomore season, Black boosted his reputation with strong performances in college summer leagues.
Black was 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings in 2019 in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. He was named South Florida College Baseball League Pitcher of the Year after going 3-0 with an 0.64 ERA and 42 strikeouts while allowing just 10 hits in 28 innings last year.
A 3.80 grade point average in bioengineering combined with the baseball success combined to make Black one of just four Lehigh players ever to be named CoSIDA Academic All-District. The district includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Black also was an Academic All-Patriot League choice.
Retzbach followed up a freshman season in which he scored 10 runs and batted .296 in 13 games by finishing third on the team with 5 home runs. He batted .237 with 26 RBI, 21 runs scored, 14 walks, 9 doubles and 2 triples.
Deom worked 15 innings, giving up 24 hits and 3 walks while striking out 19. He was 1-1 with a 10.20 ERA.
McGowan went 0-for-4 and drew one walk.