Donato Named A Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidate
Feb. 17, 2010
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass baseball senior outfielder Mike Donato has been selected as a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, it was announced on Wednesday. Donato is one of 30 student-athletes in contention for the honor and is the lone representative from the Atlantic 10.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition. The winner will be announced at the NCAA College World Series in June.
After seeing regular playing time over his first two seasons with the Minutemen, Donato took his success to a whole new level as a junior in 2009, helping lead UMass to a fourth-place finish in the Atlantic 10 and its first conference tournament berth since 2003. In a talent-stocked Atlantic 10 Conference that saw a record number of players taken in the 2009 MLB Draft, he was one of 12 players to earn an All-Atlantic 10 first team selection last season. Donato posted career highs in virtually every offensive category in 2009, including lifting his batting average nearly 100 points from the previous year.
A fixture in right field, Donato was one of just two Minutemen to play in all 53 games last season. He posted a .336 batting average and scored 36 runs, drove in 40 and belted 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs. Donato led the team in hits (73) and tied for 10th in the A-10, the sixth-most hits in a season in school history. In conference play, he batted .386, tied for ninth in the league, while ranking third in hits with 44. Last fall, he was elected by his peers as one of the squad's three co-captains for 2010.
Donato leads off the field as well, as he boasts a 3.41 grade-point average as a History major. He has been a member of the Dean's List and is a part of Chi Alpha Sigma (National Collegiate Athlete Honor Society). Following graduation, Donato aspires to become a teacher and work in a low-income community.
Away from the diamond, Donato has been involved in various endeavors to better the community since coming to UMass. He is currently volunteering at Wildwood Elementary School as a teacher's aide where he is helping instruct fifth and sixth grade students in Social Studies as well as Reading and Language Arts for children with special needs. He has also worked as a mover for the Trash to Treasures organization and was one of several UMass student-athletes to participate in National Walk to School Day last fall. As the SAAC representative from the baseball team, Donato brought toys from the SAAC toy drive to children in Shriner's Hospital in Springfield during the holiday season. While playing in the NECBL, he took part in running a community baseball camp in North Adams, Mass., during the summer of 2008.