Morningside College’s Nathan DeChaine, a senior third baseman, was named the 2018 Great Plains Athletic Conference Baseball Player of the Year as the all-conference teams were released on Thursday.
Regular season and GPAC Tournament champion Northwestern put three players on the first team while head coach Brian Wede was named the conference coach of the year.
Senior outfielder Reed Smith, sophomore catcher Zachary Rosson and senior designated hitter Dustin Gaither were all named to the top team for the Red Raiders.
Smith hit .322 on the season while collecting 48 hits and driving in 27 runs. Rosson led the team with a .351 batting average while collecting 46 hits and having a .981 fielding percentage. Gaither led Northwestern with 16 doubles and drove in 35 runs while hitting for a .314 average.
Wede led the Red Raiders to the GPAC regular season title with a 19-7 mark in the GPAC and just wrapped up the tournament title with a 2-1 win over Midland Wednesday. Northwestern also had a Gold Glove winner in third baseman Mitchell Kresnik.
DeChaine collected a team-high 59 hits in 157 at-bats to lead Morningside with a .376 batting average to go along with a team-high 14 home runs and 49 RBIs to become the Mustangs’ first player to lead the team in all three Triple Crown hitting categories since Jared Noteboom batted .391 with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs in 2000. DeChaine topped the GPAC in home runs and RBIs and was the league’s fourth leading hitter.
Morningside’s Sam Huska and Richard Mitchell joined DeChaine on the All-GPAC first team.
Huska, a sophomore outfielder-infielder, collected 54 hits in 167 at-bats for a .323 batting average with 14 doubles, two home runs and 31 RBIs. Huska led the Mustangs in doubles and ranked second on the team in batting average and third in RBIs.
Mitchell, a senior pitcher, was the ace of the Mustangs’ pitching staff with a 7-4 record and a 3.45 earned run average. Mitchell had 64 strikeouts and walked only 12 batters in 78.1 innings pitched. Mitchell led the Mustangs in victories, innings pitched and strikeouts and was their co-leader with two complete games.
Dordt senior Colton Van Otterloo earned first-team honors for the second year in a row. Van Otterloo had a team high .362 batting average and also led the team in hits with 42, doubles with nine, triples with three, runs batted in with 27 and a .595 slugging percentage.