The Denison senior tandem of centerfielder Tanner Johnson (Jefferson, WI/Jefferson) and right-handed pitcher Perley Provost (South Bend, IN/Culver Academy) have been named the Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, to highlight the 2018 All-North Coast Athletic Conference Baseball Team following balloting by the league coaches.
Johnson, who is now a two-time All-NCAC first-team selection after also earning second-team laurels in 2016, is just the second Denison player to earn the NCAC's Player of the Year award, joining Derek Johnson who collected the honor in 2001. Over the course of the Big Red's 39-game regular season schedule, Johnson finished in the top-five in nearly every major offensive statistical category, which included leading the league in slugging percentage (.742), walks (35) and stolen bases (24). During the regular season slate he hit .404 (61-for-151) with 14 doubles, nine homers, five triples, 50 RBI and 55 runs scored. He also boasted a .959 fielding percentage from the centerfield position with 116 total putouts and two throwing assists. He had three or more hits in a game on six different occasions during the regular season, highlighted by a 4-for-5 effort with one double, one triple, two RBI and four runs scored in a 16-1 win over Wabash on May 5th.
Provost, who elevated to the top team this year after landing on the second team in 2017 and the honorable mention squad in 2016, is also just the second pitcher in program history to earn the NCAC's Pitcher of the Year award after Cam Cowden brought home the award in the 2004 season. Provost closed out the regular season portion of the schedule with a perfect 10-0 record, which included a 7-0 mark in nine appearances against conference foes. He posted the third-best ERA in the league at 2.35 after allowing just 17 earned runs on 73 hits in 65.0 total innings of regular season work. In 15 total appearances on the year, he struck out 41 batters and limited opposing hitters to a .285 batting average. His top individual performance of the season came back on April 8th in a 7-0 win over Allegheny as he struck out a season-high 10 batters and scattered just six hits in 8.1 innings of scoreless work.
Just two players joined Johnson as repeat selections on the top team from 2017, including Denison senior shortstop Jack Blanchard (Evanston, IL/Evanston Twp.) and Wooster junior shortstop Michael Wielansky (St. Louis, MO/Ladue Horton Watkins). Wielansky is making his third-straight appearance on the top team, while Blanchard was also an honorable-mention selection in both 2015 and '16.
Kenyon senior outfielder Mikey Arman (Fairfield, CT/Ludlowe) and Ohio Wesleyan senior outfielder Michael Blatchford (Shaker Hts., OH/Shaker Hts.) both culminated their careers by being named to the top team this season. Arman was a second-team selection each of the last two seasons, while Blatchford was an honorable-mention selection in both 2015 and '17.
Two Wooster players elevated to the first team from the 2017 second team, including junior first baseman Garrett Crum (Alliance, OH/Canton South) and junior Chandler Dippman (Waterville, OH/St. John's Jesuit). Dippman accomplished the rare feat of being named to the top team in two different positions as the league's top third baseman and utility player.
The final six spots on the first team were occupied by players making their All-NCAC debut, including Denison senior catcher Sam Frazen (Kansas City, MO/Pembroke Hill), Wooster junior second baseman Jacob Stuursma (Hudson, OH/Hudson), Wooster sophomore DH Dan Harwood (Brecksville, OH/Brecksville-Broadview Hts.), Wittenberg junior left-handed pitcher Jace Barga (Versailles, OH/Versailles), Denison junior right-handed pitcher Mikey Rivera (Chicago, IL/Loyola Academy) and Wabash senior right-handed pitcher Bryan Roberts (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern).
After being named to the second team in his rookie season, DePauw freshman outfielder Charlie Patrick (Crown Point, IN/Crown Point) was named the 2018 NCAC Newcomer of the Year as the league's top player in his first year of collegiate competition. In 37 regular season games, Patrick hit .360 (50-for-139) with 13 doubles, three triples, one homer, 25 RBI and 30 runs scored. His best game of the season came in an 18-0 win at Wittenberg on April 17th as he finished the game by going 5-for-7 at the plate with two doubles, one triple, five RBI and two runs scored.
Finally, Denison head coach Mike Deegan was named the 2018 NCAC Baseball Coach of the Year for the second time in his career after leading the Big Red to a 31-8 mark during the regular season, which included finishing second in the NCAC race with a 15-3 record against league foes. Deegan joins former DU skipper Barry Craddock as the program's only two NCAC Coach of the Year honorees as Craddock picked up the award in the 2001 season and Deegan earned his first award in 2014. Despite being eliminated from the 2018 NCAC Baseball Tournament, the Big Red earned the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships by receiving one of the 16 available at-large bids. Deegan, who owns a 152-89 record in five-plus seasons in Granville, will now lead DU at the South Regional in Holly Springs, North Carolina, this weekend, opening with a 6:00 p.m. matchup against Christopher Newport on May 17th.