HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College baseball player Fico Kondla has been named a semifinalist for the inaugural Josh Willingham Award. The award honors the most valuable player in Division II college baseball.
Kondla, a junior first baseman, has been a steady force for the Cobras this season. As of Friday, he is hitting .413 with three homers, a team-high 45 RBIs, 39 runs scored and a team-high 23 stolen bases. He led Conference Carolinas in average and was third in steals.
Kondla has played a key role in the Cobras' run to the NCAA tournament. In the conference tournament he had a walk-off single to cap a come-from-behind victory over Pfeiffer College in the opening round. For the tournament he hit .384 with six RBIs, five runs and two steals en route to being named to the all-tournament team. Coker defeated King College to win the Conference Carolinas tournament and earn its first-ever berth into an NCAA tournament.
In Coker's opening-round victory against Armstrong Atlantic State University in the NCAA tournament, Kondla was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
Against USC Aiken in the second round of the Southeast regional on Friday, Kondla provided Coker with both its runs on the night. He drove in the game's first run with an RBI single in the fourth inning that gave Coker a 1-0 lead. He then doubled off the left-centerfield wall to open the bottom of the 10th, and would come around to score the game-winning run on Shea Bell's bases-loaded walk to secure the Cobras' win.
Along with the semifinalist nomination, Kondla has earned several accolades throughout the season. He was named first team all-conference and was the conference's player of the week three times.
Originally from Miami, Fla., Kondla is a physical education and sport studies major with a concentration in exercise science at Coker. He is the son of Richard and Emelina Kondla.
The finalists for the award are scheduled to be named on Monday, May 20. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the DII Baseball Championship held in Cary, N.C. from May 25-June 1.
To view the entire list of semifinalists, visit http://www.willinghamaward.com/
About the Josh Willingham Award
The inaugural Josh Willingham Award, presented by College Baseball Lineup and D2BaseballNews.com, honors DII college baseball's "most valuable player" – an individual who not only excels on the field, but in the dugout, clubhouse and practice field as well, and leads his team to national championship-caliber status. The 28 players selected are on teams participating in the double-elimination regional championship tournaments which will determine the eight teams who will advance to Cary, N.C. to compete for the DII national title.
The award is named after former University of North Alabama Lion star Josh Willingham. While playing baseball at UNA Willingham was a two-time All-American and tied or broke 14 school single-game, season and career records. After his junior season Willingham was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball draft, and he is currently in the midst of his 10th season at the highest professional level.
The determination of the semifinalists candidates and initial voting for the award has been made by a select panel of baseball sports information contacts and media members. Once a group of finalists are selected, the panel will vote again and a fan Internet vote is planned to contribute to
the selection of the winner.
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.