Stan Cliburn (Blue Crabs manager)

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs manager Stan Cliburn, left, pictured here prior to a July 2019 contest, was named the ALPB Manager of the Year for the 2021 season.

Roughly one month after the season ended and precisely one day before Thanksgiving, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs earned a handful of accolades from the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball that offered the team ample reasons to be thankful.

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs manager Stan Cliburn was named the ALPB Manager of the Year for the 2021 season, marking the second time he has garnered the award. Cliburn, who had previously been named the manager of the year in 2016 while at the helm of the New Britain Bees, admitted the honor is humbling and far reaching.

“Anytime you win one of these awards as a manager, it’s really all about the success of the entire organization,” Cliburn said, “It’s an honor and it’s very humbling, especially in a league with so many great managers. But it’s really all about the support that I have from my coaches, my players and of course our owner, Jack Lavoy, and general manager, Courtney Knichel.”

Cliburn guided Southern Maryland to winning records in both halves of the split ALPB season, with the Blue Crabs finishing the second half on a tear. Southern Maryland won six of its final seven games and 10 of its last 15 to capture the ALPB North Division tile then was upended in five games by the Long Island Ducks in the division series.

“We were right there with Long Island the first half, then they went on a 12-game win streak and got a little cushion on us,” Cliburn said. “But the second half of the season we got hot right at the end. We beat Lexington seven straight games here and that enabled us to win the division. Of course, Lexington went on to win the championship.”

Two weeks earlier, Southern Maryland veteran hurler Daryl Thompson was tabbed as the ALPB Pitcher of the Year for the second time in as many seasons — the 2020 campaign was nixed by the pandemic — and last week Blue Crabs reliever Endrys Briceno was named the league’s top relief pitcher. Briceno limited foes to a 1.87 earned run average and fanned 77 batters in 58 innings of work.

In addition to being named the league’s top pitcher again, Thompson also earned a spot on the ALPB all-star team and was named the top defensive pitcher in the league. Blue Crabs’ outfielder Zach Collier also earned a spot on the ALPB Red, White & Blue All-Defensive team after a season in which he was second in fielding percentage among outfielders.

As an organization, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs also earned the league’s Outstanding Club Community Service Award for numerous reasons. The Blue Crabs hosted a mass COVID-19 vaccination site that served 6,000 people per day, they operated as a COVID-19 testing facility, hosted a Toys for Tots drive and sent various volunteers, including mascot Pinch, into the community.

“To receive all of these awards is incredibly humbling,” said Blue Crabs General Manager Courtney Knichel. “Each and every person in our organization should be very proud of what we achieved in 2021.”

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews

Twitter: @TedSoMdNews