Four GNAC Players Earn ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Honors
All four players were named to the 2018 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II All-West Region Team earlier this month.
All four players were named to the 2018 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II All-West Region Team earlier this month.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Career seasons at the plate continue to be the base of regional awards as four Great Northwest Athletic Conference student-athletes have received recognition to the 2018 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings Division II West All-Region Team.

Earning selections to the NCBWA (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) and Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-West Region Teams earlier this month, Montana State Billings third baseman Kaleo Johnson is joined by Central Washington outfielder James Smith III as first-team selections to the ABCA/Rawlings West All-Region Team.

Joining Johnson and Smith III as second-team selections are Yellowjackets senior first baseman Ryan Myers and junior outfielder Jalen Garcia. Myers was an NCBWA First Team All-West Region pick while Garcia received second-team honors.

Johnson, the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, was an offensive force for a Yellowjackets’ team that holds the GNAC single-season home run record of 78. Johnson led the Yellowjackets to its third GNAC regular-season title in four years as he finished the season with a league-best .412 batting average and 17 home runs. Five of his home runs came at the GNAC Championships. He is second in Division II with a .845 slugging percentage.

Smith, the GNAC Player of the Year, was an integral piece to a Central Washington team that appeared in its second-straight GNAC Championships last week. The slugger finished his senior campaign second in the GNAC with a .386 batting average and led the league with 22 doubles, which tied him for 11th in Division II. Smith was also among the conference leaders in hits (78), runs (58), slugging percentage (.693), RBIs (53) and home runs (12).

In his second year with the team, Myers launched 16 home runs and 57 hits to go along with a .696 slugging percentage. The senior led the league with a .516 on-base percentage and collected a team-high 57 runs. Four of Myers’ home runs came in the GNAC Championships, which included a solo shot over the right-field fence in his final at-bat.

Garcia has been an all-around threat this season as he finished among conference leaders in batting average, hits, runs scored, home runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, total bases and stolen bases. The junior currently sits at No. 12 in GNAC history with a .590 slugging percentage and is among GNAC all-time leaders with 34 career stolen bases.

Zander Clarke of UC San Diego was named the ABCA/Rawlings West Region Player of the Year, while Joe Ryan of Stanislaus State was named the organization’s West Region Pitcher of the Year.

The ABCA All-America team was first recognized in 1949 and now includes nine divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, Pacific Association Division and high school. The ABCA/Rawlings All-Region first-team selections will be nominated for ABCA/Rawlings All-America honors, which will be announced on Tues., May 29.