|Former SteepleCat named Ivy League Player Of The Year|
|By John Wood, North Adams SteepleCats|
11:23PM / Tuesday, June 12, 2018
|2016 and 2017 SteepleCat Dustin Shirley was recently named the Ivy League Player of the Year.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —The honors keep rolling in for former SteepleCats. After leading North Adams to its 13th playoff appearance in 2016, Dartmouth College senior Dustin Shirley has been named the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year.
Shirley, the fourth Dartmouth player to earn the award since its establishment in 1993, was the lone member of his squad to also make the All-Ivy League First Team in the outfield, as his first three seasons he found a home at second base. The senior co-captain hit .314/.365/.497 while leading the Ivy League in doubles with 14, ranking third in slugging percentage and fourth in RBIs with 32.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, the Dartmouth star gathered 116 hits and 52 RBIs in his career with the Big Green. As a junior, Shirley was named to the Spring Academic All-Ivy League Team, earned by making a major contribution to his team in addition to maintaining at least a 3.0-grade point average. An Academic All-District I selection and candidate for the Senior CLASS Award following his senior season, Dustin Shirley ended his career at Dartmouth having played in the fourth most games in program history, 162, while boasting a .280 average with 82 runs, 84 RBIs and also setting a school sacrifice fly record with 15 across his career.
Athletics seem to run in the Shirley family, as Dustin’s father played football and basketball growing up, his mother ran track, and his brother Brandon is a former center fielder for UC San Diego. His college coach, Bob Whalen, emphasized how this athleticism benefited Shirley's team beyond what the statistics indicated.
“I think he brings a real lot because he has the ability to run, go first to third, steal a base on his own without giving up an out, but he also has the ability to drive the baseball,” Whalen said.
For 2016 and part of 2017, Dustin called the Northern Berkshires his summer home. The 6’5” infielder hit .290 in the 43 regular season games of the 2016 season, gathering 49 hits and 25 RBIs. This great stat line helped the SteepleCats back to the playoffs, where Shirley hit .308 with 4 hits in the close series loss to the rival Valley Blue Sox.
It’s easy to see Dustin Shirley’s impact was well felt in his baseball career at Dartmouth just as it was in North Adams. He now joins a long list of former SteepleCats players who go on and succeed back at college or on the professional level, which is where Shirley’s career will most likely bring him next.