Saints Head to GNAC Championships Behind Coach, Freshman of the Year
The Saint Martin’s baseball team won eight of their last ten conference games to make their first appearance in the GNAC Championships that begin on
Thursday at 10:00 AM Friday at 10:00 AM (weather postponed Thursday’s games) in Monmouth, Oregon.
For their efforts, head coach Ken Garland was named the GNAC Coach of the Year, shortstop Zack Larsen earned Freshman of the Year and eight players were named All-GNAC selections including first team honorees Larsen, catcher Chandler Tracy, starting pitcher Zach Carter and designated hitter Travis Shaw.
Tracy leads the way for the Saints. The junior from Newcastle is slashing .328/.440/.628 this season with 11 home runs, 30 runs scored and 34 RBIs. His 11 homers and .628 slugging percentage leads the GNAC and his 1.068 OPS is second only to the GNAC Player of the Year Brody Miller’s 1.098, the only two players in the conference with an OPS over 1.000. Tracy became the conference’s all-time home run leader earlier this season and now has 31 career bombs in three seasons.
The Saints play the first two games of the round robin tournament hosted by Western Oregon. They face the #1 seeded host Wolves at 10:00 and will then face #2 seed Central Washington at 1:00 PM. Live stats and video are available here. For an extensive preview of the tournament, click here.
Press release from the Saint Martin’s Athletics
Baseball Snags Coach Of the Year, Freshman Of The Year And Eight All-GNAC Selections
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Saint Martin’s University baseball team was well represented when the GNAC award winners were announced yesterday with a total of eight All-GNAC selections along with Coach of the Year honors for Ken Garland and Freshman of the Year honors for Zack Larsen. SMU had four players named first team All-GNAC, one selected two the second team and three others earned honorable mention recognition.
Saint head coach Ken Garland, in his sixth season, was voted GNAC Coach of the Year by his peers, after piloting the Saints into the GNAC Championships with eight wins in his team’s final 10 conference games. The Saints are making their first postseason appearance of the Division II era while they had their most conference wins in a season since 2011.
Shortstop Zack Larsen received GNAC Freshman of the Year honors, after batting .308 with a team-high 12 doubles and 28 runs scored in his debut collegiate campaign. Larsen started 45 games for the Saints this season, posting an on-base percentage of .396. He was also named first team All-GNAC as he has 50 hits, 14 RBI and 14 walks for SMU this season.
Also joining Larsen on the first team are catcher Chandler Tracy, starting pitcher Zach Carter and designated hitter Travis Shaw. Senior outfielder Alex Bielaski was named to the second team while senior first baseman Spencer Dodd, relief pitcher Anthony LaDue and starting pitcher Josh Moss were named honorable mention rounding out the Saints selections.
Tracy is currently batting .328 this season with 45 hits, 30 runs scored, six doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBI, a .628 slugging percentage, 22 walks and a .440 on-base percentage as SMU’s primary catcher. His 11 home runs leads the GNAC while he also leads the conference in slugging percentage. Earlier this season he became the GNAC’s all-time leader with 31 career home runs in just three seasons. He ranks third in RBI, total bases, on-base percentage and walks.
Shaw, who has also played some third base, has been one of the most effective leadoff batters in the GNAC as earlier this season he had a streak of 30 consecutive games in which he reached base. The junior is batting .320 with 54 hits, 27 runs scored and 10 doubles along 24 RBI, 20 walks and a .402 on-base percentage. He currently ranks seventh in the conference in hits and sixth in walks.
Rounding out the four first team selections is right-handed pitcher Zach Carter. The junior has been the Saints number one starter all year long posting a record of 6-3 and a 4.35 ERA. He has pitched three complete games this season and 88 2/3 innings with 34 strikeouts and just 15 walks while he has not given up a home run. Carter ranks seventh in the GNAC in ERA, third in wins and fifth in complete games.
Bielaski was named to the second team. The senior outfielder is having his best year statisically and is one of the best hitters in the GNAC. Bielaski is batting .358 with 57 hits, six doubles, 24 RBI along with 15 runs scored. He ranks fifth in the GNAC in batting average and hits as he leads the team in both categories.
Dodd, LaDue and Moss all received honorable mention accolades. Dodd was one of the top first baseman in the league with just one error on the season (.992 fielding percentage) as he hit .276 with 40 hits. The junior left-handed pitcher, Moss ranks seventh in the GNAC in strikeouts wiht 43 in 71 2/3 innings with five complete games. LaDue, a senior reliever, has been SMU’s top man out of the bullpen with a 2.33 ERA and a record of 2-0 he also has 18 strikeouts in 27 innings.
The Saints are in Monmouth, Oregon this week for the conference tournament beginning Thursday. SMU plays Western Oregon at 10:00 am and Central Washington at 1:00 pm in a round-robin format.
First Team: Starting Pitchers – +Brandon Williams, Central Washington (RHP, 6-0, 225, Jr., Auburn, WA); +Aaron Vaughn, Northwest Nazarene (RHp, 5-11, 195, Sr., Tucson, AZ); Eric Huson, Western Oregon (RHP, 6-3, 210, Jr., Forest Grove, OR); Zach Carter, Saint Martin’s (RHP, 6-0, 190, Jr., Camas, WA). Relief Pitcher – Cory Welch, Central Washington (RHP, 6-0, 180, Jr., Las Vegas, NV). Catcher – +*Chandler Tracy, Saint Martin’s (C, 6-2, 205, Jr., Newcastle, WA). First Base – Kevin Toon, Montana State Billings (1B, 6-2, 170, So., Walla Walla, WA). Second Base – +Brody Miller, Montana State Billings (2B, 5-9, 180, Jr., Missoula, MT). Shortstop – Zack Larsen, Saint Martin’s (SS, 6-0, 170, Fr., Cosmopolis, WA). Third Base – +Garret Harpole, Western Oregon (3B 6-2, 195, Jr., Elmira, OR). Infield – Kasey Bielec, Central Washington (3B, 5-11, 205, Jr., Port Orchard, WA). Outfield – +Ethan Sterkel, Central Washington (OF, 6-2, 210, Sr., Ellensburg, WA); +*Daniel McNabb, Western Oregon (OF, 5-11, 175, Sr., Rancho Cucamonga, CA); +Luke Reinschmidt, Montana State Billings (OF, 5-11, 175, So., Billings, MT); +Matt Taylor, Western Oregon (OF, 6-1, 195, Jr., Corona, CA). Designated Hitter – Travis Shaw, Saint Martin’s (DH, 5-11, 185, Jr., Mililani, HI).
+ – unanimous * – repeater (Tracy from 2012)
Second Team: Starting Pitchers – Spenser Watkins, Western Oregon (RHP, 6-1, 190, Sr., Scottsdale, AZ); Matt Minnich, Western Oregon (LHP, 5-11, 205, Sr., Kennewick, WA). Relief Pitcher – Jake Mills, Montana State Billings (RHP, 6-2, 205, Jr., Burley, ID). Catcher – Zach Reay, Central Washington (C, 6-2, 205, Jr., Blackfoot, ID). First Base – Nathan Etheridge, Western Oregon (1B, 6-5, 220, So., Grants Pass, OR). Second Base – Parker Miles, Western Oregon (2B, 5-9, 185, Sr., Salem, OR). Shortstop – Cory Welch, Central Washington (SS, 6-0, 280, Jr., Las Vegas, NV). Infield – Eric Tinnell, Central Washington (2B, 5-11, 175, Sr., Ephrata, WA). Outfield – Tate Glasgow, Northwest Nazarene (OF, 6-0, 195, Jr., Portland, OR); Alex Bielaski, Saint Martin’s (OF, 6-0, 215, Sr., Bellevue, WA); Chris Bradshaw, Western Oregon (OF, 6-1, 195, Sr., Medford, OR). Designated Hitter – Sam Cook, Northwest Nazarene (DH, 6-2, 200, Sr., Nampa, ID).
Honorable Mention: Starting Pitchers – Brady Muller, Montana State Billings (RHP, 6-1, 165, Jr., Billings, MT); Stuart Fewel, Central Washington (RHP, 6-5, 230, Sr., Portland, OR); Skye Adams, Central Washington (LHP, 6-0, 195, Sr., Vancouver, WA); Josh Moss, Saint Martin’s (LHP, 6-1, 230, Jr., Tenino, WA); Willie Davies, Central Washington (RHP, 6-0, 200, Sr., Shoreline, WA). Relief Pitcher – Tony LaDue, Saint Martin’s (RHP, 6-2, 171, Sr., McCleary, WA). Catcher – Andrew Helmstadter, Northwest Nazarene (C, 6-0, 170, Fr., Palm Desert, CA); Will Chavarria, Western Oregon (C, 6-0, 195, Sr., Puyallup, WA). First Base – Josh Potter, Central Washington (1B, 6-3, 215, Sr., Des Moines, WA); Spencer Dodd, Saint Martin’s (1B, 6-0, 195, Sr., Eagle, ID). Second Base – Kyle Thomson, Northwest Nazarene (2B, 5-7, 165, Jr., Enumclaw, WA). Shortstop – Austin Hamilton, Western Oregon (SS, 5-9, 175, Jr., Salem, OR). Outfield – Bret Bitow, Montana State Billings (OF, 5-10, 165, Jr., Puyallup, WA); Scott Stone, Central Washington (OF, 6-5, 205, Sr., Corvallis, OR).
Player of the Year – Brody Miller, Montana State Billings (2B, 5-9, 180, Jr., Missoula, MT).
Pitcher of the Year – Brandon Williams, Central Washington (RHP, 6-0, 225, Jr., Auburn, WA);
Freshman of the Year – Zack Larsen, Saint Martin’s (SS, 6-0, 170, Fr., Cosmopolis, WA).
Newcomer of the Year – Cory Welch, Central Washington (RHP/SS, 6-0, 180, Jr., Las Vegas, NV).
Coach of the Year – Ken Garland, Saint Martin’s.