Baseball | Monday, May 5, 2008
Stalker is Chosen Northwest Conference Player of the Year
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University junior first baseman Kyle Stalker (Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS), who set school records by hitting 22 home runs and producing 63 RBIs, has been named the Northwest Conference Baseball Player of the Year for 2008. Stalker and teammates Sean Anderson (Sr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) and Doug Bloom (Fr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) were selected First Team All-Northwest Conference.
Overall, seven Willamette players earned All-NWC recognition. In addition to three First Team picks, the Bearcats had one Second Team selection and placed three players on the Honorable Mention list.
T.C. Lee (Fr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) was chosen Second Team All-NWC. Willamette players receiving Honorable Mention were Clint Moran (Sr., LHP, Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS), Colin Young (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Max Stepan (Fr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS).
The NWC honored a total of 73 baseball players in voting by the NWC head coaches. The First Team featured 19 players, with 19 players on the Second Team and 35 players earning Honorable Mention.
First Team All-Northwest Conference
Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B) earned the NWC Player of the Year award as a result of his power and ability to move base runners on offense and by playing exceptional defense. For the season, he batted .361 with a .844 slugging percentage, and led the NWC with his 22 home runs, 63 RBIs and 124 total bases. He tied for fifth in the conference with 44 runs scored.
He was a consistent threat to hit the ball over the outfield fence and many of his home runs left the park by sizable margins. Even so, he was more than just a long-ball hitter. He finished the year with 53 hits, including 26 singles, and owned a .469 on-base percentage. He also walked a team-high 27 times which contributed to WU's overall offensive success. He batted an impressive .382 with runners in scoring position.
He hit .402 in Northwest Conference games, while belting 17 of his 22 home runs against NWC opponents. In NWC play, he drove in 46 runs and scored 35 times with an impressive .941 slugging percentage and a .530 on-base percentage.
Defensively, he made 319 putouts and had 20 assists, while playing in 39 games as a starter. He saved numerous low bounces near the bag and reached out to stop other throws that were off the mark. He committed just three errors and achieved a .991 fielding percentage. He was involved with 35 of Willamette's 38 double plays.
Through May 4, he was ranked second nationally in NCAA Division III in total home runs and home runs per game (0.56). He was fourth in total RBIs and fifth in RBIs per game (1.62). His slugging percentage ranked ninth in the nation.
In three seasons at Willamette, Stalker is the Bearcats' all-time home run leader with 36 career homers. His career batting average is .305 and has produced 105 hits, 109 RBIs and 73 runs as a Bearcat.
Sean Anderson (Sr., CF) also recorded outstanding statistics this season. He led WU with a .388 batting average, while making 37 starts. He also ranked first on the team with 57 hits, 49 runs, 11 doubles and five triples. He tied Stalker for second on the team with 147 at bats and trailed only Stalker in slugging percentage at .694 and on-base percentage at .459. He pounded out eight home runs and was 13 of 16 on stolen bases.
Anderson topped the Willamette offensive chart in conference games as well, with a .412 batting average and 41 runs scored. He hit all 11 of his doubles against NWC teams. On defense, he earned a .972 fielding percentage with 68 putouts, one assist and two errors.
During his four years with the Bearcats, he achieved a .324 career batting average and a .508 career slugging percentage. He set WU career records with 581 at bats, 188 hits, 142 runs and 49 doubles. He tied the school record for career triples with eight and tied the single season record for triples with five this season.
Anderson was 36 of 50 on stolen bases during his career. He registered 335 putouts in the outfield.
Doug Bloom (Fr., SS) had an outstanding inaugural season at the college level. He batted .333 for the year, with 47 hits, 39 runs and 26 RBIs. He was 16 of 20 on stolen bases. He led the team with 111 assists from his shortstop position and contributed 58 putouts with a .934 fielding percentage.
Against NWC opponents, Bloom connected for a .357 batting average. He scored 31 runs and had 21 RBIs in conference play, while converting 12 of 15 stolen base attempts.
Bloom was one of just four freshman selected for First Team All-NWC honors this season. The other freshmen were outfielder Ryan Aratani from Pacific Lutheran University, starting pitcher Tucker Laurence of Lewis & Clark College and relief pitcher Robert Vaughn of Linfield College.
Linfield's Brian Clark, who earned a 9-1 record and a 2.59 earned run average, was chosen Pitcher of the Year. Head Coach Scott Brosius of Linfield was named Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats to the NWC title.
Second Team All-Northwest Conference
T.C. Lee (Fr., LF) achieved a .320 batting average and ranked second on the Willamette roster with 10 home runs. He registered 34 RBIs and scored 33 runs, while achieving a .556 slugging percentage and a .395 on-base percentage. He led the Bearcats with 153 at bats. On defense, he recorded 50 putouts and earned six assists.
Lee also batted above .300 in Northwest Conference games, as he hit .316 and connected for five doubles and seven home runs. He recorded at least one hit in 22 of his 30 starts against NWC foes, including 11 games with two or more hits.
Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference
Clint Moran (Sr., RHP) finished the season with a 6-3 pitching record to go with a 4.88 earned run average. He struck out 47 batters while throwing 75 2/3 innings. Eleven of his 12 appearances were starts, and he achieved three complete-game performances. He had one shutout -- a 10-0 win on April 12 against the University of Puget Sound -- and earned one save. He was the winning pitcher in four of his last five starts, losing only to eventual NWC champion Linfield.
In four years with the Bearcats, Moran struck out 157 batters in 196 2/3 innings pitched. He was 12-11 overall (.522) with three saves and a 5.31 career ERA. He pitched in 50 games and made 27 starts, while facing 1,165 batters during his career.
Colin Young (Sr., RF) was a solid offensive threat. He hit . 314 this season with 34 runs, 34 RBIs and nine home runs. He blasted eight of his homers against NWC teams. He concluded the year with a .571 slugging percentage and earned a .394 on-base percentage. In right field, he achieved 59 putouts and two assists.
Young played in 90 games during his career and made 62 starts. He registered a .318 career batting average with 78 hits, 52 runs and 53 RBIs. He played in 38 games with 37 starts in 2008.
Max Stepan (Fr., C) batted an impressive .407 in NWC action and hit .343 overall. He pounded out seven home runs and amassed 23 RBIs. His .671 slugging percentage trailed only Stalker and Anderson on the Willamette squad. In WU's second game against Whitman College on April 5, he went 4 for 5 at the plate with two homers, nine RBIs and three runs scored
He split time behind the plate on defense, but still saw action in 23 games with 19 starts. As a catcher, Stepan contributed 88 putouts and 10 assists to go with a .990 fielding percentage.
The Willamette University Baseball Season
Head Coach Matt Allison and the Bearcats concluded the 2008 season with a 20-20 overall record, including 16-15 (5th place) in the Northwest Conference. Willamette smacked 66 home runs and 66 doubles during the season, while scoring 332 runs and achieving a .308 team batting average. Five players produced at least seven homers and eight players hit at least five doubles.
Through May 4, the Bearcats were leading NCAA Division III with 1.65 home runs per game. Willamette ranked at the top of the NWC in runs scored, at bats (1,344) and home runs.