Great expectations for Panas, Siddall, Griffs

conor panas

 * 3B Conor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) was named the Metro Atlanta Conference pre-season Player of the season. The Toronto Mets grad plays for coach Mike McRae’s Canisius College Griffins. Brett Siddall (Windsor, Ont.) was named to the pre-season team as well. ….

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The Canisius Griffins are the pre-season choice to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and senior third baseman Connor Panas has been named the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, the conference office announce. This marks the second-straight year where the Golden Griffins have been picked to win the league in the annual coaches poll, and it also marks the fifth time since 2008 where the Blue and Gold have been selected to win the conference championship.

Panas (Toronto, Ont.) the 2014 MAAC Player of the Year and the 2013-14 MAAC Male Student-Athlete of the Year, is the third Griff to be named the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year since 2009, joining former Canisius players Jimmy Lupppens (2014) and Kevin Mahoney (2009). Named a 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Panas was third in the MAAC in batting average (.362), first in home runs (six), RBIs (51) and slugging percentage (.574), second in doubles (16) and fifth in on-base percentage (.443) in 2014.

The third baseman was one of four Division I players with a .350 average, 50 RBIs and 15 stolen bases last season. The Toronto native reached base in 43 of 47 starts, including the final 18 games of the season, and 10 of 19 times in the MAAC Championship. He had a career-long 15-game hitting streak in his junior season and he led the Griffs with 22 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games.

Canisius, which went 40-16 overall and 20-4 in MAAC play last season en route to the program’s second MAAC regular-season crown since 2009, earned 115 points in the preseason coaches poll. Fairfield was picked second with 107 points, while Monmouth (89), Siena (83) and Quinnipiac (73) placed third through fifth. Manhattan earned 61 points to rank sixth in the preseason voting, followed by Rider (55), Marist (50) and Niagara (38). Iona (35) and Saint Peter’s rounded out the 11-team field.

Panas is one of five Canisius players to earn Preseason All-MAAC honors. Sophomore catcher Christ Conley, junior second baseman Anthonybrett siddallMassicci, junior outfielder Brett Siddall (Windsor, Ont.), and junior pitcher Alex Godzak join Panas on the preseason all-star unit. Canisius’ five selections are three better than Fairfield, who is the only other team in the league to have multiple players named to the Preseason All-MAAC team.

The Griffs return six starting position players (including four of their top five hitters), three of their top four starting pitchers and four of their top five relievers for the 2015 season. Canisius opens play at the Caravelle Resort Tournament, hosted by Coastal Carolina, on Saturday, Feb. 14, against Maryland.

Besides Panas and Siddall, the Canadians on coach Mike McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.) 2015 team include RHP Michael Krische (Langley, BC), RHP Iannick Remmillard Valleyfield, Que.), RHP Devon Stewart (Maple Ridge, BC), RHP Roberto Suppa Connor, Ont.), RHP Tyler Vavra (Calgary, Alta.) SS Jake Lumley (Windsor, Ont.), RHP Josh Shepley (Tecumseh, Ont.), LHP Zachary Sloan (Brampton, Ont.), OF-INF Cyrus Senior (Kirkland, Que.), LHP J.P. Stevenson (Hunter River, PEI) and RHP Blake Weston Oakville, Ont.).