One Last Ride: WOU’s McCord Leads All-Conference Team
Western Oregon senior Connor McCord returned for a fifth season with the Wolves, leading the conference with a .864 slugging percentage and earning all-conference honors for the fourth time.
Western Oregon senior Connor McCord returned for a fifth season with the Wolves, leading the conference with a .864 slugging percentage and earning all-conference honors for the fourth time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Connor McCord’s senior season with the Western Oregon baseball team was cut short in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the first baseman/pitcher returned for another year with the Wolves to finish his collegiate career the proper way.

McCord leads the selections to the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Baseball All-Conference Team after being named the GNAC Player of the Year and a unanimous First Team All-GNAC selection. McCord earned all-conference honors four times in his career, which includes a first-team selection in 2019.

McCord leads the conference with a .864 slugging percentage and is fifth with a .395 batting average and a .485 on-base percentage. He finished the regular season with 32 hits, 24 runs scored and 33 RBI while totaling 11 doubles and nine home runs to lead the Wolves (20-6, 19-5 GNAC) to a second-place finish. McCord also threw a scoreless inning on the mound, allowing just one hit while striking out two.

Western Oregon’s pitching has been consistently efficient all season long, leading the GNAC with a 4.56 earned run average. A big part of that success is credited to senior Mike Peterson, who was named the Pitcher of the Year and a unanimous first-team selection. Peterson spearheaded the Wolves’ rotation with a 6-0 record, allowing 18 runs, 16 earned, on 37 hits with 11 walks and 30 strikeouts. Peterson is second in the conference with a 3.40 ERA.

Joe Schaefer earned Coach of the Year honors in his third season as the head coach at Northwest Nazarene after leading the Nighthawks to their first outright regular-season championship. The Nighthawks claimed the No. 1 seed in the GNAC Championships with a 21-3 conference mark (29-7 overall). They are batting .310 as a team and rank second behind Western Oregon with a 4.60 ERA. The Nighthawks closed conference play with 10 straight wins, which included back-to-back series sweeps.

Northwest Nazarene also earned the Newcomer of the Year award in outfielder Grant Kerry. Kerry earned First Team All-GNAC honors in his first season with the Nighthawks after two years at Boise State. He batted .376 in the regular season with a .458 on-base percentage and a .684 slugging percentage. Kerry is tied for second in the conference with 50 hits while ranking third with 45 RBI.

A First-Team All-GNAC selection behind the plate, Central Washington catcher Austin Ohland tabbed Freshman of the Year honors. Ohland owns a .356 batting average and a .456 on-base percentage to go with 24 RBI. Of his 31 hits, 14 were for extra bases, including 10 doubles, which is tied for fifth in the conference.

First-place Northwest Nazarene leads all teams with 10 all-conference selections. Kerry leads six selections to the first team. Joining him are freshman pitcher Kyle Ethridge, junior pitcher Max Holtzclaw, junior second baseman Colton Moore, senior third baseman Shawn Grandmont and senior utility man Ben Johnson.

Ethridge is 5-1 on the season and earned GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors three times. He owns a 4.24 ERA and is tied for the conference lead with 67 strikeouts. Serving as the primary closer, Holtzclaw was a bulldog for the Nighthawks in 2021. He earned three wins while striking out 34 and leading the GNAC with five saves in 15 appearances.

Moore ranks in the GNAC’s top-20 in batting average (.284), on-base percentage (.401) and slugging percentage (.537). He drove in 32 runs while ranking tied for fourth with 39 runs scored. Grandmont tallied 45 hits, 40 runs and nine homers while batting .346. He is tied for first in the GNAC with 52 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Johnson spent time at pitcher, catcher and as the designated hitter. He batted .330 in the regular season while going 4-0 on the mound with a 4.45 ERA.

Western Oregon and Montana State Billings each had eight selections on the all-conference team while Central Washington had seven. Saint Martin’s rounds out the conference field with six selections.

Western Oregon saw three players garner first-team accolades. Joining McCord and Peterson is junior shortstop Derek Maiben. Maiben is third in the conference with a .417 batting average and seventh with a .471 on-base percentage. He has 45 hits, 28 runs and 17 RBI on the season.

Central Washington (16-12, 14-10 GNAC) finished third in the conference and will play a best-of-three series with Northwest Nazarene for the 2021 GNAC Baseball Championships. Joining Ohland on the first team are senior pitcher Dillon Larsen, freshman pitcher Reid Rasmussen, senior outfielder Justin Hampson and sophomore outfielder Zach Berryman.

Larsen enters the tournament with a 5.90 ERA and ranks second with a .219 opposing batting average. He is tied with Ethridge for the conference lead with 67 strikeouts in 39.2 innings of work. Rasmussen is 5-2 on the season with 24 strikeouts. He is third in the GNAC in both ERA (3.41) and opposing batting average (.224).

Hampson leads the conference with a .465 batting average and a .542 on-base percentage and is second to McCord with a .746 slugging percentage. Berryman ranks second to Hampson in both batting average (.422) and on-base percentage (.535) and leads the team with 43 hits and 38 runs scored.

Two of Montana State Billings’ eight selections landed on the first team in junior shortstop Will Riley and senior designated hitter Daniel Cipriano. Riley batted .401 in the regular season, leading the conference with 63 hits while ranking second with 42 runs scored.

Cipriano, the 2019 GNAC Player of the Year, leads the conference with 14 homers and 52 RBI and ranks No. 4 with a .702 slugging percentage. In just two full seasons and some change, Cipriano became the Yellowjackets’ all-time home run king and set the GNAC career record for homers in conference games with 29. He ends his GNAC career with 39 homers and a .765 career slugging percentage, which ranks No. 1 in conference history.

A total of 10 honorees are repeat selections to the GNAC Baseball All-Conference Team. McCord is the only four-time selection while Central Washington junior third baseman Mitch Lesmeister, Montana State Billings senior catcher Andrew Schleusner and Saint Martin’s senior pitcher Tanner Inouye all earned selection for the third time.

Player of the Year:
Connor McCord, Western Oregon
Coach of the Year: Joe Schaefer, Northwest Nazarene
Pitcher of the Year: Mike Peterson, Western Oregon
Freshman of the Year: Austin Ohland, Central Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Grant Kerry, Northwest Nazarene

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Mike Peterson Western Oregon P 6-5 Sr. Pullman, Wash. (Walla Walla CC)
* Kyle Ethridge Northwest Nazarene P 6-0 Fr. Alta Loma, Calif. (Los Osos)
* Dillon Larsen Central Washington P 6-5 Sr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Virginia Tech)
* Max Holtzclaw Northwest Nazarene P 6-3 Jr. Palo Cedro, Calif. (Shasta CC)
* Reid Rasmussen Central Washington P 6-3 Fr. Selah, Wash. (Yakima Valley CC)
* Austin Ohland Central Washington C 6-1 Fr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Lafayette)
*+!& Connor McCord Western Oregon 1B 5-9 Sr. Gilbert, Ariz. (Corona Del Sol)
* Colton Moore Northwest Nazarene 2B 6-2 Jr. Provo, Utah (Salt Lake CC)
* Will Riley Montana State Billings SS 6-1 Jr. Lismore, Australia (Miles CC)
*@ Shawn Grandmont Northwest Nazarene 3B 6-1 Sr. Lethbridge, Alta. (Coll. of Southern Idaho)
* Ben Johnson Northwest Nazarene UT 6-0 Sr. Federal Way, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep)
*+ Daniel Cipriano Montana State Billings DH 6-3 Sr. Agoura Hills, Calif. (Moorpark Coll.)
* Grant Kerry Northwest Nazarene OF 6-3 Fr. Wynyard, England (Boise State Univ.)
*+ Justin Hampson Central Washington OF 6-2 Sr. Mill Creek, Wash. (Jackson)
* Zach Berryman Central Washington OF 5-11 So. Ephrata, Wash. (Walla Walla CC)
Derek Maiben Western Oregon SS 5-10 Jr. Newberg, Ore. (Newberg)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Matthew Dunaway Western Oregon P 6-0 So. Mililani, Hawaii (Skagit Valley CC)
+^ Tanner Inouye Saint Martin's P 6-0 Sr. Honolulu, Hawaii (Moanalua)
Blake McFadden Northwest Nazarene P 6-3 Sr. Meridian, Idaho (Treasure Valley CC)
Bryant Nakagawa Saint Martin's C 5-11 Jr. Wailuku, Hawaii (Maui)
Tanner Cantwell Montana State Billings 1B 6-0 Sr. Eugene, Ore. (Treasure Valley CC)
Tanner Parker Montana State Billings 2B 5-10 Sr. Spokane, Wash. (Yakima Valley CC)
#^ Mitch Lesmeister Central Washington 3B 6-1 Jr. Walla Walla, Wash. (Walla Walla)
Carson Green Montana State Billings UT 5-9 So. Kennewick, Wash. (Walla Walla CC)
Josh Berman Western Oregon DH 5-10 Sr. Medford, Ore. (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi)
Ryan Dearing Northwest Nazarene OF 5-10 Jr. Kennewick, Wash. (Columbia Basin CC)
# Blayze Arcano Western Oregon OF 5-11 Sr. Ewa Beach, Hawaii (Lower Columbia CC)
# Jacob Maiben Western Oregon OF 5-9 Jr. Newberg, Ore. (Newberg)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Tyler McClain Central Washington OF 6-2 So. Bonney Lake, Wash. (Everett CC)
Hayden Foltz Montana State Billings OF 5-11 So. Pocatello, Idaho (Coll. of Southern Idaho)
Sam Powers Montana State Billings OF 6-0 Sr. Las Vegas, Nev. (South Mountain CC)
+^ Andrew Schleusner Montana State Billings C 5-11 Sr. Kalispell, Mont. (Kalispell)
John Gonzalez Northwest Nazarene 1B 6-2 Sr. Corona, Calif. (Cal State Dominguez Hills)
Haden Keller Northwest Nazarene OF 5-11 Jr. Minden, Nev. (Mendocino Coll.)
Zach Alcos Saint Martin's P 6-1 So. Ewa Beach, Hawaii (St. Francis)
Cody Chavis Saint Martin's OF 6-0 So. Sumner, Wash. (Sumner)
# Aaron Renaud Saint Martin's 1B 5-10 So. Lihue, Hawaii (St. Louis)
Mark Steward Saint Martin's C 6-1 Fr. Meridian, Idaho (Meridian)
Nick Parr Western Oregon P 5-10 Sr. Las Vegas, Nev. (Shadow Ridge)


* - Unanimous Selection
+ - First Team Selection In 2019
# - Second Team Selection In 2019
@ - Honorable Mention In 2019
! - Second Team Selection In 2018
^ - Honorable Mention In 2018
& - Honorable Mention In 2017