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Nighthawks Lead GNAC On ABCA All-West Region Team
Freshmen Grant Kerry (left) and Kyle Ethridge (center) and junior Max Holtzclaw lead Northwest Nazarene as first-team selections on the ABCA/Rawlings All-West Region Team.
Freshmen Grant Kerry (left) and Kyle Ethridge (center) and junior Max Holtzclaw lead Northwest Nazarene as first-team selections on the ABCA/Rawlings All-West Region Team.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

GREENSBORO, N.C. – More accolades came the GNAC’s way after 15 baseball players were named to the 2021 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Division II All-West Region Team.

The conference saw eight players earn First Team All-West Region honors. Northwest Nazarene leads the way with three selections in freshman outfielder Grant Kerry, freshman pitcher Kyle Ethridge and junior pitcher Max Holtzclaw. Other GNAC first-teamers include Central Washington sophomore outfielder Zach Berryman, Montana State Billings junior shortstop Will Riley and senior designated hitter Daniel Cipriano and Western Oregon senior first baseman Connor McCord and senior pitcher Mike Peterson.

Northwest Nazarene also led the conference with four second-team selections. Earning honors from the Nighthawks are junior second baseman Colton Moore, senior third baseman Shawn Grandmont, junior outfielder Ryan Dearing and senior pitcher Blake McFadden. Selections from Central Washington include freshman catcher Austin Ohland, senior outfielder Justin Hampson and senior pitcher Dillon Larsen.

Kerry, Holtzclaw, Riley, Cipriano, McCord and Peterson are all consensus First Team All-West Region selections after also earning first-team nods from the NCBWA and D2CCA. Grandmont is a consensus second-team honoree.

The GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Kerry ranks sixth in the conference with a .359 batting average, seventh with a .635 slugging percentage and 10th with a .445 on-base percentage. He is second in hits (56), third in RBI (49) and tied for third in home runs (11). Kerry was named an Honorable Mention All-American by the NCBWA.

Ethridge landed on the first team after earning second-team honors from the NCBWA and D2CCA. He is 6-1 on the season and leads the conference with 86 strikeouts and 63.2 innings pitched. Ethridge ranks second with a .217 opposing batting average and fourth with a 3.39 earned run average. He has reached double digits in strikeouts four times this season, highlighted by an eight-inning, 12-strikeout performance against Western Oregon in the opening game of the West Regional.

Holtzclaw is 5-1 on the season with a 2.31 ERA. He has struck out 41 batters and leads the conference with five saves and 18 appearances. Holtzclaw threw the final 1.2 innings in the GNAC Championships, allowing one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts to secure the Nighthawks’ first conference title in five years.

Berryman earned a first-team nod from the ABCA after being named to the NCBWA second team. He is second in the conference in both batting average (.409) and on-base percentage (.522) while ranking 13th in slugging percentage (.527). Berryman is tied for fifth with 39 runs scored and tied for seventh with 45 hits.

Riley spent time as a utility player before becoming the Yellowjackets’ everyday shortstop. He finished the season ranked third in batting average (.401) and on-base percentage (.484) while also ranking fifth in slugging percentage (.662). Riley leads the conference with 63 hits and 16 doubles and is third with 42 runs scored.

Cipriano batted .333 on the season, is fourth with a .702 slugging percentage and seventh with a .455 on-base percentage. He is second in both RBI (52) and home runs (14). Cipriano set the GNAC career record for homers in conference games with 29. He finishes his Yellowjacket career with 39 homers and 128 RBI and ranks No. 1 on the GNAC All-Time List with a .765 slugging percentage.

The GNAC Player of the Year, McCord is the conference leader with a .418 batting average, a .537 on-base percentage and a .912 slugging percentage. He totaled 12 doubles, 11 homers and 41 RBI. McCord batted .600 in the West Regional, going 6 for 10 with five runs, eight RBI, two homers and 10 walks, including a pair of intentional walks.

The Wolves also earned the GNAC Pitcher of the Year award in Peterson. Peterson finished the season with a perfect 6-0 record in 49 innings of work. He is third in the conference with a 3.31 ERA and seventh with a .235 opposing batting average.

Northwest Nazarene (34-8, 21-3 GNAC) won the West Regional and will advance to play Central Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Division II National Championships, which will be played on June 5-12 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

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