Senior first baseman Jamie Lackner and senior left-hander Michael Houdek of The College of Wooster earned the North Coast Athletic Conference's top two honors as the Fighting Scots swept the NCAC Player-of-the-Year and Pitcher-of-the-Year honors for the seventh time overall, and first time since 2013, the league office announced on Sunday morning. Head coach Tim Pettorini rounded out the Scots with individual honors as he was selected by his peers as the NCAC Coach-of-the-Year for the third consecutive season.
Sophomore shortstop Michael Wielansky and junior right-hander Nanak Saran joined Houdek and Lackner on the all-conference first team, while sophomore designated hitter Garrett Crum, sophomore utility man Chandler Dippman, and junior center fielder Jake Fling earned second-team certificates.
Lackner, now a three-time first-team all-conference selection, is the 13th Scot great to earn the league's top player award. He's batting .418 (66-for-158) on the season and has a .539 on-base percentage as the opposition regularly tries to pitch around the All-American candidate, and that's led to a second straight 40-walk season for the first baseman. Through the end of the regular season, Lackner led the league on on-base percentage and walks, ranked second in RBI, was third in batting average, tied for third in hits, and was in the top 10 in several other offensive categories.
Houdek, also a three-timer on the first-team all-conference squad, is the 11th Wooster hurler to earn the NCAC's top pitching honor. The left-hander is currently 8-2 on the year with a 3.77 ERA. Houdek's worked 74 innings with 13 appearances, including 11 starts, and the lanky southpaw's struck out 58 while holding opponents to a .249 average on the year. Entering the postseason, Houdek was tops in the NCAC in wins and third in strikeouts.
Wielansky, a repeat selection to the all-conference first-team, currently leads Wooster in nearly every offensive category, including average (.430), hits (74), runs (67), home runs (8), slugging percentage (.727), and stolen bases (20). In fact, Wielansky ranked in the top three in Div. III in runs entering the weekend, and led the conference in average while rating second in on-base and slugging percentages through the end of the regular season.
Saran joined Houdek on the all-conference first-team, making Wooster the first program in the league to have two pitchers land on the top squad since former Wooster greats Steve Hagen and Keenan White did so in 2013. In league play, Saran went 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings of work. In those 33 innings, Saran struck out 29 while allowing 25 hits and eight runs. Overall, the two-time all-conference honoree is 7-0 on the year with a stellar 3.22 ERA.
Crum, who took over as the Scots' designated hitter earned all-conference honors for the first time. The sophomore delivered a fine season with his 52 RBI ranking second on the team. Crum's hitting .305 (47-for-154) on the year and he has six home runs, two of which came in Friday's winner's bracket game against DePauw University in the NCAC Tournament. In regular-season action, Crum was third in the league in RBI, and took care of getting runners in from third on a frequent basis with a league-leading nine sacrifice flies, a total second in Div. III entering the weekend.
Dippman saw his role expand in 2017 as the right-hander earned time as the Scots' No. 4 starter in addition to holding down the fort at the hot corner. Offensively, Dippman's hitting .304 (34-for-112) on the year, and he has an outstanding .452 on-base percentage aided by 28 walks, a total second in the NCAC to Lackner. On the mound, Dippman's 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA with 26 1/3 innings of work, and that includes four starts on the year and six overall appearances on the hill.
Fling, now a three-time all-conference honoree, is hitting nearly .400 (.393, 68-for-173) after earning the NCAC Tournament MVP honor on Saturday after a 6-for-6 game. Fling's scored 58 runs on the year and now has 20 extra base hits, including five home runs, and 40 RBI. In fact, through games played on Thursday, Fling ranked in the top 10 in Div. III in runs.
Pettorini, who earned his 13th NCAC coaching honor from his league peers, has guided Wooster to a 35-8 record so far this season, and his Scots extended their league-record in championships out to 17 with Saturday's 25-6 win over DePauw at the NCAC Tournament. The win marked Pettorini's 1,172, and he's now 35th all-time in NCAA history (all divisions) in career wins.