Smith Leads Selections To Baseball All-Conference Team
Smith III leads the league and is 15th in Division II with 20 doubles. He is also among conference leaders in hits, runs, slugging percentage, RBIs and home runs.
Smith III leads the league and is 15th in Division II with 20 doubles. He is also among conference leaders in hits, runs, slugging percentage, RBIs and home runs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – In a season that has displayed an abundance of impressive offensive performances, it is Central Washington slugger James Smith III who leads selections to the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Baseball All-Conference Team.

The senior outfielder was named by coaches as the conference Player of the Year after he finished the regular season sixth in the GNAC with a .368 batting average and led the league with 20 doubles to rank him 15th in Division II. Smith was also among the conference leaders in hits (70), runs (54), slugging percentage (.642), RBIs (48) and home runs (10).

The Central Washington slugger leads a cast of special award winners that includes at least one individual from all four of the teams participating in the 2018 GNAC Baseball Championships.

Montana State Billings’ Aaron Sutton and Concordia’s Rob Vance were selected by their peers as the conference’s co-Coaches of the Year. In his second year with the program, Sutton led the Yellowjackets to the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the GNAC Championships. Montana State Billings (30-16, 29-11 GNAC) won seven of 10 series against GNAC opponents this season and led the league in a handful of offensive categories.

Vance has guided Concordia to the GNAC Championships as the No. 4 seed in its first full year as a Division II member. The Cavaliers won four of their last five games of the regular season to clinch its first-ever berth to the conference tournament. Concordia finished the conference season 19-21 and is third in the league with a 5.74 earned run average.

Montana State Billings junior pitcher Steen Fredrickson and Western Oregon sophomore Alex Roth were chosen as the GNAC Co-Pitchers of the Year and First Team All-GNAC. Fredrickson, a three-time GNAC Pitcher of the Week, led the conference with a 7-0 record and struck out a league-high 69 batters. Roth boasts the league’s lowest ERA (3.20) and joins Fredrickson as the only two pitchers to have nine or more starts this season without a loss. In 56.1 innings pitched, Roth has allowed just 20 earned runs and has struck out 56 batters.

A reliable piece out of the bullpen this season, Western Oregon pitcher Kolbe Bales has been named the Freshman of the Year and Honorable Mention All-GNAC. Making all 13 of his appearances in relief, Bales owns a 1.17 earned run average and is second on his team with four wins. Bales has allowed just three runs this year and has struck out 15 batters.

Rounding out the special awards and earning First Team All-GNAC recognition is Montana State Billings junior third baseman Kaleo Johnson, the conference Newcomer of the Year. Johnson, a transfer from Laney Coll., has been an offensive force for a Yellowjackets’ team that is a home run shy of tying the GNAC single-season record of 63. Johnson leads the league with a .405 batting average and is tied for first with 12 home runs. Three of his home runs came in the final weekend of the regular season against Central Washington.

Fredrickson and Johnson lead six MSUB selections to the first team. Joining the duo are senior pitcher Adam Cox, senior first baseman Ryan Myers, junior infielder Conner Linebarger and junior outfielder Jalen Garcia. Cox has been a consistent figure for MSUB’s bullpen as he leads the conference with six saves and has compiled a 3.04 ERA. In his second year with the team, Myers has launched 12 home runs and is hitting .371 in the heart of the Yellowjackets’ lineup.

Making the list as a utility player, Linebarger is fifth for MSUB with a .309 batting average and is one of four Yellowjackets with more than 37 RBIs. Garcia has been an all-around threat this season as he is among conference leaders in batting average, hits, runs scored, home runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, total bases and stolen bases.

Roth is one of four Wolves to garner first-team honors. Earning his third selection to the all-conference team, senior second baseman Jay Leverett is eighth in the GNAC with a .364 batting average and has recorded 17 RBIs, 51 hits and 13 walks. In his first season with the Wolves, junior catcher Jared McDonald has been a solid presence on both sides of the plate. The catcher has started in 42 games this season and is tied for second on the team with a .333 batting average to go along with 30 RBIs. One of four outfielders on the first team, Jacob Martinez has played in all 44 Western Oregon contests this season and is batting .333 with 22 RBIs.

Joining Smith on the First Team are CWU junior pitcher Connor Stevenson and senior designated hitter Dustin Braun. Stevenson ranks seventh among GNAC pitchers with a 4.52 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .286 batting average. On the offensive side of the ball, Braun is third in the league by batting .381. He is second for the Wildcats with 69 hits, 39 RBIs and a .536 slugging percentage.

Senior shortstop Andrew Barrera and junior pitcher Isaac Mitchum have played huge roles in Concordia’s postseason run. Consistent at the plate all season, Barrera led the team by batting .337 to go along with 25 RBIs. The shortstop played in all but one game this season. Mitchum paced a Concordia staff that finished the regular season with the league’s third-lowest earned run average. The senior was one of two Cavs with at least three wins and owns a team-best 3.75 ERA and 40 strikeouts.

Rounding out the first-team picks are Northwest Nazarene senior pitcher Adam Paulson and Saint Martin’s junior outfielder Austin Feist. Paulson was one of three Nighthawks with four wins this year and recorded 50 strikeouts in 16 appearances. Feist, a three-time all-conference selection, finished second on the Saints with a .320 batting average and a team-high 30 RBIs. He was one of two Saints to play in all 48 contests.

Western Oregon leads all teams with 13 selections to the GNAC Baseball All-Conference Team while Montana State Billings and Central Washington had 12 and 10 selections, respectively. A total of seven honorees are repeat selections while 21 were unanimous picks.

Player of the Year: James Smith III, Central Washington
Coach of the Year: Aaron Sutton, Montana State Billings & Rob Vance, Concordia
Pitcher of the Year: Steen Fredrickson, Montana State Billings & Alex Roth, Western Oregon
Freshman of the Year: Kolbe Bales, Western Oregon
Newcomer of the Year: Kaleo Johnson, Montana State Billings

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Alex Roth Western Oregon P 6-5 So. Peoria, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
* Steen Fredrickson Montana State Billings P 6-1 Jr. Ashland, Ore. (Ashland)
*& Adam Cox Montana State Billings P 6-3 Sr. Encino, Calif. (Taft)
Isaac Mitchum Concordia P 5-11 Jr. Cowiche, Wash. (Yakima Valley CC)
Connor Stevenson Central Washington P 5-11 Jr. Camas, Wash. (Mt. Hood CC)
Adam Paulson Northwest Nazarene P 6-2 Sr. Medical Lake, Waash. (Lewis-Clark St. Coll.)
* Jared McDonald Western Oregon C 6-5 Jr. Phoenix, Ariz. (Grand Canyon Univ.)
*# Ryan Myers Montana State Billings 1B 6-3 Sr. Walnut Creek, Calif. (Laney Coll.)
*+ Jay Leverett Western Oregon 2B 5-9 Sr. Gold Bar, Wash. (Skagit Valley CC)
* Andrew Barrera Concordia SS 5-9 Sr. Kent, Wash. (Pierce CC)
* Kaleo Johnson Montana State Billings 3B 6-3 Jr. Alameda, Calif. (Laney Coll.)
* Conner Linebarger Montana State Billings UT 6-2 Jr. Bozeman, Mont. (Univ. of Hawaii)
* Dustin Braun Central Washington DH 6-3 Sr. Landmark, Man. (Lethbridge Coll.)
*@ James Smith III Central Washington OF 6-1 Sr. Riverside, Calif. (Fullerton JC)
*# Jalen Garcia Montana State Billings OF 6-0 Jr. Billings, Mont. (Corban Univ.)
* Jacob Martinez Western Oregon OF 6-1 Sr. Pacifica, Calif. (Cañada Coll.)
*@! Austin Feist Saint Martin's OF 6-2 Jr. Burns, Ore. (Burns)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Seth Pederson Central Washington P 6-0 Sr. Longview, Wash. (Saddleback JC)
Jacob Fricke Western Oregon P 6-4 Jr. Glide, Ore. (Glide)
Craig Grubbe Western Oregon P 6-1 Sr. San Diego, Calif. (Grossmont JC)
* Andrew Schleusner Montana State Billings C 5-11 So. Kalispell, Mont. (Kalispell)
@ Connor McCord Western Oregon 1B 5-9 So. Gilbert, Ariz. (Corona Del Sol)
* Parker Price Northwest Nazarene 2B 5-10 So. Boise, Idaho (Gonzaga Univ.)
* Wyatt Setian Montana State Billings SS 5-10 Fr. Post Falls, Idaho (Post Falls)
* Ryne Oshiro Saint Martin's SS 6-0 Fr. Aiea, Hawaii (Moanalua)
*# Nyles Nygaard Western Oregon 3B 6-1 So. Torrance, Calif. (Univ. of Washington)
* Justin Folz Northwest Nazarene UT 6-0 Fr. Monroe, Wash.
* Hayden Humphrey Montana State Billings DH 6-1 So. Battle Ground, Wash. (Clark CC)
Zach Penrod Northwest Nazarene OF 6-2 So. Boise, Idaho (Gonzaga Univ.)
Kade Hall Montana State Billings OF 6-0 Sr. Pocatello, Idaho (Treasure Valley CC)
Casey Sheehan Northwest Nazarene OF 6-1 Sr. Redlands, Calif. (Riverside CC)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Griffin Davis Central Washington P 6-3 Sr. Spokane, Wash. (Ferris)
Ty Deckwa Central Washington UT 5-10 Sr. Snohomish, Wash. (Linn-Benton CC)
Justin Hampson Central Washington OF 6-0 So. Mill Creek, Wash. (Jackson)
Mitch Lesmeister Central Washington 2B 6-0 Fr. Walla Walla, Wash. (Walla Walla)
Tristin Parton Central Washington OF 6-0 Jr. Leavenworth, Wash. (Big Bend CC)
Cole Crosby Concordia OF 5-9 Sr. Las Vegas, Nev. (Sierra Vista)
Kyle Henderson Concordia C 6-2 Sr. Beaverton, Ore. (Lane CC)
Kaleb Jones Concordia P 5-11 Jr. Twin Falls, Idaho
(Treasure Valley CC)
Tristan Shockley Montana State Billings P 6-3 Sr. Jackson, Wyo. (Miles CC)
Jared Winslow Montana State Billings P 6-1 Jr. Libby, Mont. (Libby)
Tanner Inouye Saint Martin's P 6-0 So. Honolulu, Hawaii (Moanalua)
Kolbe Bales Western Oregon P 6-0 Fr. Dufur, Ore. (Dufur)
Cody Dykstra Western Oregon OF 5-9 Sr. Klamath Falls, Ore.
(Treasure Valley CC)
Griffey Halle Western Oregon OF 6-1 Jr. East Wenatchee, Wash.
(Columbia Basin CC)
Jake Simmons Western Oregon P 6-1 Sr. Gresham, Ore. (Walla Walla CC)
Justin Wakem Western Oregon C 5-8 Jr. Beaverton, Ore. (Beaverton)

* - Unanimous Selection   + - First Team In 2017 # - Second Team In 2017 @ - Honorable Mention In 2017
& - Second Team in 2016   ! - Honorable Mentin in 2016