Derek Maiben Named GNAC Baseball Player of the Year
Western Oregon's Derek Maiben was named the unanimous GNAC Baseball Player of the Year after leading the conference with a .421 batting average.
Western Oregon's Derek Maiben was named the unanimous GNAC Baseball Player of the Year after leading the conference with a .421 batting average.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – There was simply no other choice.

Western Oregon’s Derek Maiben was virtually unstoppable this season and has been voted by coaches as the unanimous GNAC Baseball Player of the Year to lead the 2023 GNAC Baseball All-Conference Team.  

The senior from Newberg, Oregon was the only WOU player to start all 40 games of the regular season and put those innings to good use. Heading into the GNAC Championships on Thursday, Maiben leads the conference with a .421 batting average and has amassed a league-leading 67 hits. He has been almost impossible to retire on strikes and leads Division II as the toughest player to strike out with only three on the year.

Another strong year on the basepaths also sees Maiben ranked fifth in the GNAC with 13 stolen bases. That speed and his 10 doubles rank Maiben sixth in the conference with 80. Along with his offensive numbers, Maiben has been rock-solid at shortstop for the Wolves, owning a .950 fielding percentage at one of the toughest positions in the game.

Maiben is one of three Wolves to receive special awards along with sophomore pitcher Dylan Chalmers and head coach Kellen Walker. Through the regular season, Walker led WOU to a 27-17 record (20-9 GNAC) while securing the program’s second straight regular-season title. That run included a stretch where the Wolves won 11 games in a row while outscoring opponents 114-46.

Chalmers shares GNAC Baseball Pitcher of the Year honors with fellow first-team selection Ty Pohlmann of Northwest Nazarene. Chalmers was the top starting pitcher in the conference this season, leading the GNAC with a 2.63 ERA through 51.1 innings. He has compiled a 6-0 record in 10 games for the Wolves.

Pohlmann, meanwhile, has been the premier reliever in the GNAC, racking up 57 strikeouts through just 31.2 innings of work. In 16 appearances, Pohlmann owns a 1.42 ERA and a record of 3-1 with three saves. He has allowed just 16 hits through 110 at-bats.

Freshman of the Year honors unanimously go to Saint Martin’s Brady Bean, who was one of the top offensive threats in the GNAC all season. Bean finished his debut campaign with a .384 batting average, third in the conference, and stole the most bases of any GNAC player with 19. Along with his hitting, Bean’s patience at the plate drew him 33 walks, helping him to a conference-leading .505 on base percentage. He started all but two of the Saints’ 44 games this season.

Montana State Billings’ sophomore Kaden Kirshenbaum was voted as the GNAC Baseball Newcomer of the Year after starting 43 of the Yellowjackets’ 48 games and ranking second on the team and 10th in the GNAC with a .340 batting average. Kirshenbaum has been one of the top power hitters in the conference, racking up nine home runs to rank second in the GNAC. He also ranks second in the conference with 97 total bases and is sixth with 33 RBIs.

Western Oregon leads all programs with nine total All-GNAC selections followed by Central Washington with six. Both Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings have five All-GNAC honorees. The first team features four repeat selections including three-time first team honoree Austin Ohland from Central Washington.

Ohland, a senior from Maple Valley, Washington, has been another one of the most powerful hitters in the conference this season. Across 47 games for the Wildcats, Ohland has hit eight home runs to rank third in the GNAC and is also fifth with 34 RBIs on the year. He previously earned First Team-All GNAC recognition in 2021 and 2022.

Western Oregon’s Jacob Maiben repeats as a First Team All-GNAC honoree after an outstanding season at the plate where he was second only to brother Derek Maiben. He posted a .405 batting average through the regular season and also ranks third in the conference with a .461 on base percentage. Maiben averages almost one run scored per game and has crossed the plate 36 times in 37 games to lead the Wolves.  

Saint Martin’s junior Justice Yamashita also repeats as a First-Team All-GNAC selection for the second year in a row. Yamashita was the go-to pitcher for the Saints this season, leading the team and ranking second in the conference with 66.2 innings thrown. He finished the season with a 5-5 record and a 4.46 while leading the GNAC with 64 strikeouts. Yamashita also leads the conference and ranks 10th in Division II with five complete games.

Player of the Year:
Derek Maiben, Western Oregon
Coach of the Year:
Kellen Walker, Western Oregon
Pitcher of the Year:
Dylan Chalmers, Western Oregon & Ty Pohlmann, Northwest Nazarene
Freshman of the Year:
Brady Bean, Saint Martin's
Newcomer of the Year:
Kaden Kirshenbaum, Montana State Billings

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Dylan Chalmers Western Oregon P 6-2 So. Missoula, Mont. (Lassen JC)
Ty Pohlmann Northwest Nazarene P 6-4 Sr. Chandler, Ariz.
(Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas)
* Trevor Cassell Montana State Billings P 5-11 Jr. Enumclaw, Wash. (Skagit Valley CC)
*+ Justice Yamashita Saint Martin’s P 5-10 Jr. Honolulu, Hawaii (Maryknoll)
Bryce Bond Western Oregon P 6-4 So. Simi Valley, Calif. (Sierra Canyon)
*+# Austin Ohland Central Washington C 6-1 Jr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Lafayette)
* John Oleson Western Oregon 1B 6-4 So. Portland, Ore. (Ventura Coll.)
* Brady Bean Saint Martin’s 2B 5-10 Fr. Kennewick, Wash. (Kamiakan)
*@#! Derek Maiben Western Oregon SS 5-10 Sr. Newberg, Ore. (Newberg)
* Justyn Herzog Western Oregon 3B 6-2 Sr. Hillsboro, Ore. (Century)
* Mason Leavitt Northwest Nazarene UT 5-10 So. Eagle, Idaho (Eagle)
* AJ Cortese Western Oregon DH 6-1 Jr. Loveland, Colo. (Loveland)
*+^! Jacob Maiben Western Oregon OF 5-9 Sr. Newberg, Ore. (Newberg)
* Payton Flynn Montana State Billings OF 6-3 Jr. Kennewick, Wash.
(Washington State Univ.)
* Ben Leid Central Washington OF 6-2 So. Corvallis, Ore. (Wenatchee Valley CC)
*^ Carson Green Montana State Billings OF 5-9 Sr. Kennewick, Wash. (Walla Walla CC)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Brayde Hirai Central Washington P 5-11 Sr. Pasco, Wash. (Walla Walla CC)
Chris Hardin Western Oregon P 6-2 Sr. Highland, Calif. (Univ. of Redlands)
Ryan Shipley Western Oregon P 6-4 Sr. Ravensdale, Wash. (Big Bend CC)
AJ Wagenmann Montana State Billings C 5-11 Sr. Fruitland, Idaho (Fruitland)
Mark Steward Saint Martin’s C 6-1 Jr. Meridian, Idaho (Meridian)
Kaleb Karpstein Northwest Nazarene 1B 6-0 Fr. Bend, Ore. (Bend)
Charlie Larson Central Washington 2B 5-11 Sr. Tacoma, Wash. (Everett CC)
Trevor Tripoli Central Washington SS 5-8 Sr. Mililani, Hawaii (University Lab)
Kaden Kirshenbaum Montana State Billings 3B 6-0 So. Federal Way, Wash. (Skagit Valley CC)
Alohi Arecchi Saint Martin’s UT 5-5 So. Honolulu, Hawaii (Damien)
Travis Helm Central Washington DH 5-11 So. Beaverton, Ore. (Clark CC)
Curran Mitzel Western Oregon OF 6-0 Sr. Hillsboro, Ore. (Lane CC)
Colby Moran Northwest Nazarene OF 6-2 So. Murrieta, Calif. (Murrieta Mesa)
Shane Jamison Northwest Nazarene OF 5-9 Sr. Lummi Island, Wash. (Seattle Univ.)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Alex Brady Central Washington P 5-10 Jr. Longview, Wash.
(Louisiana State Univ.)
$ Hayden Foltz Montana State Billings OF 6-0 Sr. Pocatello, Idaho
(Coll. of Southern Idaho)
Jack Nehler Montana State Billings 1B 6-0 So. Gresham, Ore. (Gresham)
+ Mitch Winter Montana State Billings DH 6-1 So. Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho)
Bodee Wright Montana State Billings 2B 5-9 So. Morgan, Utah (Northridge)
Joseph Ilhi Northwest Nazarene P 6-2 Jr. Caldwell, Idaho (Nampa Christian)
Shane Martin Northwest Nazarene P 6-4 Sr. Richland, Wash. (Columbia Basin CC)
Adam Paganelli Northwest Nazarene OF 5-10 Jr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Sacramento CC)
+ Duke Pahukoa Northwest Nazarene 3B 6-2 Sr. Maui, Hawaii
(Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas)
@ Kyle Payne Northwest Nazarene 2B 5-10 Jr. Bellingham, Wash. (Skagit Valley CC)
Jonathan Zayas Northwest Nazarene P 6-0 Jr. Williamsport, Pa.
(Arizona Western Coll.)
Damon Ingram Saint Martin’s DH 6-0 So. Scottsdale, Ariz. (Bellevue Coll.)
+ Arturo Alvarez Western Oregon P 6-4 Sr. Inglewood, Calif.
(Los Angeles Harbor Coll.)
Levi Cummings Western Oregon OF 5-9 Jr. Loveland, Colo. (Loveland)
* - Unanimous Selection    
+ - First Team In 2022    
$ - Second Team In 2022     
@ - Honorable Mention In 2022  
# - First Team In 2021   
^ - Second Team In 2021    
! - Second Team In 2019