St. Thomas Aquinas standouts, Giovanni Dingcong and Joseph Pena, were both selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft on Wednesday afternoon. Dingcong was first off the board when he was selected in the 30th Round (893rd overall). Pena was close behind, with the A's selecting him in the 33rd Round (983rd overall).
Dingcong and Pena are the 40th and 41st players in ECC history to be picked in the MLB Draft and the first position players drafted from the conference since former Dowling catcher David Wendt was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. They are also the second and third student-athletes from the ECC to be selected by the A's, joining Dowling's Brendan Butler who was also selected in the 30th Round in 2015.
In addition, Dingcong and Pena become the fourth and fifth selections in St. Thomas Aquinas' program history and the first since Mike Aviles was picked by the Seattle Mariners in 2010. Dingcong now holds the distinction of the highest selected player in Spartan history, as well.
In their time in Sparkill, Dingcong and Pena compiled two of the most impressive careers in ECC history. Dingcong wrapped up his career by claiming the ECC Player of the Year award after hitting .356 with 15 homeruns and 55 RBI. A four-time All-Conference selection and former All-American, Dingcong finished among the top-10 in ECC history with 48 doubles (10th), 249 hits (9th), 180 RBI (8th), and 47 homeruns (4th).
Pena, also a four-time All-Conference pick and former All-American, finished off his stellar time in a STAC uniform by hitting .366 to claim the third ECC regular season batting title of his career. He also tallied 19 doubles, six triples, one homerun, 37 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. Like Dingcong, Pena's name is littered throughout the ECC record book. He finished his career ranked in the top-10 in conference history with 280 hits (3rd), 190 runs (6th), 48 doubles (10th), 15 triples (5th), and stolen bases (98). He is also the ECC's all-time leader in walks with 180, which is 45 more than the current runner-up and former record holder.