The Wooster senior tandem of first baseman Jamie Lackner (Westlake, OH/Westlake) and left-handed pitcher Michael Houdek (Cleveland Hts., OH/Cleveland Hts.) have been named the Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, to highlight the 2017 All-North Coast Athletic Conference Baseball Team.
Lackner, now a three-time All-NCAC first-team selection, was crowned the league's Player of the Year after finishing in the top-five of nearly all the major offensive statistical categories this season among conference players. In 40 total regular season games, he finished second in the league in hitting at .410 (59-for-144) and boasted the NCAC's top on-base percentage at .534 after also drawing a league-leading 37 walks. Lackner finished sixth overall in slugging percentage at .625 after tallying eight doubles, seven homers and one triple, while his 49 RBI was the second highest mark in the NCAC. The two-time All-American did most of his damage this season in NCAC Divisional play, which included a two-homer and seven-RBI performance in a thrilling 16-13 win at Allegheny in early April.
Houdek, who also landed on the top team for third year in a row, is the first Scot to collect the NCAC's top pitching honor since 2013 after he finished the regular season slate with a 7-2 record and 55 total strikeouts. In 68.0 total innings of work in the regular season, Houdek allowed 29 earned runs on just 63 hits for a 3.84 earned-run-average. His top performance on the hill this season came back on March 23rd during the Scots' annual two-week trip in Florida as he struck out 10 and allowed just four hits in 9.0 innings of scoreless work in a 4-0 victory over Colby. This is now the seventh time in NCAC history that the Scots have swept both the Pitcher and Player of the Year Award.
Denison junior right-hander Zach Huarte (Villa Park, CA/Servite) joins Lackner and Houdek on the first team for the third year in a row, while a trio of players garnered first-team laurels for the second-straight year, including Wooster sophomore shortstop Michael Wielansky (St. Louis, MO/Ladue Horton Watkins), DePauw senior outfielder Jack Thompson (Carmel, IN/Carmel) and Allegheny senior designated hitter Robert DiMaggio (Industry, PA/Western Beaver).
Two players elevated to the top team this spring for their third-career All-NCAC certificates, including Allegheny senior second baseman Jacob Shick (Shaker Hts., OH/Shaker Hts.) and Denison junior shortstop Jack Blanchard (Evanston, IL/Evanston Twp.). Shick was a second-team performer in 2015 and an honorable-mention selection last year, while Blanchard earned back-to-back honorable-mention nods in 2015 and '16.
DU junior outfielder Tanner Johnson (Jefferson, WI/Jefferson) jumped to the top team from the 2016 second team, while Wooster junior right-handed pitcherNanak Saran (Hudson, OH/Hudson) made the leap to the first team from the honorable mention squad a year ago.
Five players made their All-NCAC debut on the 2017 first team, including Oberlin sophomore catcher Brendan Mapes (Mount Vernon, OH/Centerburg), Kenyon sophomore third baseman Matt Contreras (Beavercreek, OH/Gloucester (VA), Oberlin senior outfielder Brian Carney (Winchester, MA/Winchester), Wabash senior right-handed pitcher Michael Herrmann (Coatesville, IN/North Putnam) and DePauw senior right-handed pitcher/first baseman Mike Hammel (Westfield, IN/Cathedral).
After being named to the second team in his rookie season, Hiram freshman Hank Clegg (Toronto, OH/Toronto) was named the 2017 NCAC Newcomer of the Year after finishing the season with a 4-1 record and one complete-game win in a 6-1 victory over Oberlin on April 14th. In nine starts this year, Clegg allowed just 14 earned runs in 49.2 innings of work to finish second in the league with a 2.54 ERA.
Wooster head coach Tim Pettorini was named the Coach of the Year by vote of the league coaches for the third year in a row and the 13th time in his career after he led the Fighting Scots to a first-place finish in the NCAC East this spring with a 17-2 record. In 36 years at the helm of the Wooster baseball program, Pettorini owns an overall record of 1,169-434-6, which makes him one of just 10 coaches in Division III history with 1,000 or more wins. His win total also makes him the winningest active coach in Div. III. He also guided the Scots to their league-leading 17th NCAC title this spring and will now guide Wooster into the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 24th time in his career.