08/19/2022 10:12 AM
LYNN, Mass. -- North Shore Navigators shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) has been named the 2022 New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) Sportsman of the Year, as announced Wednesday. Luders becomes the first Navigator to win the award in franchise history.
The Lynnfield native and rising redshirt junior at Seton Hall University was at the heart of the North Shore squad this season. Luders was a fan favorite and continuously put the needs of the team ahead of his personal goals. He rose to whatever challenge was presented and always showed compassion on and off the field.
“Jonathan Luders has been with me for three years (on the Navigators) and he plays the game the right way,” Manager Bob Macaluso said. “He’s an all-around really good player, one of the best defensive players in the entire NECBL, and just a great teammate.”
On the field with North Shore, the infielder appeared in 26 games and had 90 at-bats. Luders had 21 hits and a .233 average while adding 13 runs, five RBI and a double. His six walks helped raise his on-base percentage to .346.
Luders was a staple of the Navigators lineup after debuting on June 24, opting to return home to Fraser Field following a temporary stint in the Cape Cod League at the beginning of the summer. He missed just three games after making his first appearance with North Shore and played outstanding defense, committing just two errors all summer and contributing to 18 double plays, more than any shortstop in the NECBL.
“Luders changes the dynamic of the game around him for the better each time he steps on the field,” said Swampscott’s Luke Marshall, a third-year Navigators pitcher who attends Fairfield University. “He is one of the most natural leaders (I’ve played with), sets the prime example that any coach or player would want to emulate … and shows the most genuine love for the game.”
Off the field, Luders was just as influential. He took the time connecting with fans and cemented himself in the North Shore community. Luders worked at the Navigators’ Field of Dreams Baseball Clinic this season and acted as a mentor for “You’re With Us,” a program that helps create inclusion opportunities for young adults with disabilities.
No matter the type of day he had at the plate or in the field, Luders always found a way to make an impact.
“Luders…always (stayed) after games to sign autographs until the last fan (was) gone, regardless of his day at the park,” Navigators President Derek January said.
That impact was certainly felt by his teammates as well.
“Luders is an amazing teammate and is extremely well respected by anyone that encounters him,” said third-year Navigator Jake McElroy, an outfielder from the College of the Holy Cross. “He greets everyone with a smile and makes it a point to become friendly with everyone on the team and throughout Navs Nation.
“He has an incredible work ethic and loves sharing his knowledge in order to help his teammates become better players as well,” McElroy added. “He makes plays all over the field every night that contribute directly to winning games and makes everyone who comes to the field better every day.”
Luders is returning to Seton Hall for his redshirt junior season. Over the past three years with the Pirates, the infielder has a combined .297 average and a .416 on-base percentage. Luders had his best season of his college career in 2022, batting .358 with 14 RBI and 13 runs in 30 games and 106 at-bats.
The NECBL Sportsman of the Year was voted on by the 14 on-field managers from across the league. Each team nominated a player worthy of the award, and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players on the ballot.