NORMAL, Ill. – Former Carson-Newman starting pitcher Vince Apicella signed a contract with the Normal Cornbelters Wednesday evening to become the 12th Eagle to sign with a Frontier League club since the league's inception in 1993.
"It is something that I have been working for my life and I am blessed to have this opportunity to join the Normal ball club," Apicella said.
The Dillsburg, Pa. native is the first C-N alumnus to pitch professionally since Daniel Sharp spent time in the Pecos League in 2014. Chris Armstrong is the last former Eagle to play in the Frontier League tossing in eight games for Schaumburg during the 2013 season.
"Vinny is very deserving of getting an opportunity to play professionally," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "He's a very accomplished pitcher on our level, a great teammate and a terrific person. He has worked very hard. You love seeing good things happen to good people!"
Apicella becomes the 37th player in the program's history to play professional player and the 13th player since Griffin took over as the skipper in 2006.
The Frontier League is an independent league with 12 teams spread across two divisions that play 96-game schedules. The Cornbelters's first season was 2010 and are in the West Division and have played 29 games.
The left-hander is one of the most decorated players in Carson-Newman history. Apicella is a two-time all-region and all-conference selection including being a unanimous first-team pick in 2016. In 2016, he set the program record for complete games in a season, seven, passing a mark that he and two other pitchers had set in previous seasons. The 2016 Brett Tomko Award semifinalist is one of four pitchers since 1994, the first year of Division II competition, to record two shutouts in a season doing so in 2015 and 2016.
Apicella is an all-region honoree for the second time in as many seasons becoming the fifth C-N player in history to be an all-region selection multiple times in his career joining Derrick Lankford (96-97), Aaron Shaffer (01-02) Ryan West (02-03) and Nate Gravely (03-05).
In 2016, the Dillsburg, Pa. native went 10-3 with a 3.45 earned run average and 105 strikeouts. With 111 punch outs as junior and 105 in 2016, the southpaw owns two of the top-three seasons in terms of total K's. His 10 wins make him the fourth pitcher to record double-digit wins in a single campaign since 1994.
The hurler was named the conference pitcher of the week on Feb. 16 and March 8 in 2016 bringing his career total to four, the most by any C-N since the award was first handed out in 2006. Apicella struck out 10 or more four times in 2016 and has won each of the last five outings.
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