Nine Crusaders earned accolades as the Horizon League unveiled its postseason baseball awards Tuesday afternoon. Seniors Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood), Shea Molitor (Plymouth, Minn./West Lutheran [Des Moines Area CC]), Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]), and Dan Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]) were all First Team recipients.
Starting pitcher Trevor Haas (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey), first baseman Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), and outfielder Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) were elected to the Second Team while Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind./Andrean) and Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif./Chatsworth) were named to the All-Freshman Team.
This is the second time Lundeen was chosen First Team All-League. Lundeen went 6-3 with a 3.12 earned run average during the regular season with 66 strikeouts against 19 walks in 89 1/3 innings. In league play, the lefty was 4-1 with 2.44 ERA. Lundeen set the program record for innings pitched in a career on Friday 13th at Youngstown State, a figure that currently stands at 338 2/3 IP. His 271 strikeouts are the third-most in Crusader history and with a win Wednesday he would move into third place in that category with 22.
Lodden amassed 75 hits as part of a .347 batting average. His on-base percentage is north of .440 (448) for the second consecutive season. In addition to swiping 14 bases, he accumulated 20 extra-base hits. Defensively, Lodden has not committed an error in left field. He's tallied 96 runs in 105 games with Valpo and his 141 career hits are the most by any player on the current roster.
Molitor achieved First Team status after finishing second in RBIs in the Horizon League with 51. He slashed .312/.414/.437 in 52 regular-season games and recorded 10 multi-RBI contests. Molitor has worked 32 walks, one fewer than Lodden's team-high 33. Molitor does pace the Crusader offense in hits with runners in scoring position with 32.
Delaney drove in 43 runs while setting the team watermark in home runs with 7. He cataloged 16 hits and 15 runs batted in during the month of May alone. Delaney joined Clark and Lodden as the only Crusaders to play in all 53 contests this season. On twelve separate occasions, he's driven in two or more runs. Only Molitor (13) has done that more in 2016.
Haas enjoyed a breakout campaign this spring, leading the Crusader pitching staff with a 2.95 ERA in ten starts. He fired a team-most three complete games, including a five-hit shutout of Oakland back on April 16th. Haas, who was 5-0 in Horizon League play this year, surrendered 86 hits in 86 1/3 innings. The righty struck out a career-high 51 batters and walked 20. The Crusaders were 6-4 in Haas's starts.
Palace cranked six home runs and ten doubles to go with 35 runs batted in. He concluded the regular season having reached base in 17 of his final 18 games. Six multi-hit days at the plate during the month of May boosted his average to .270. Palace paired 16 walks with 31 runs scored.
Clark enjoyed an 82-point uptick in batting average from 2015 to this season. He's piled up 74 hits, one shy of Lodden's team lead. Clark rattled off 12 doubles, two triples, and four bombs as part of a .472 slugging percentage, the second highest on the club. The right fielder stole twelve bases and touched home 43 times. Defensively, his eight assists lead all Valpo outfielders.
Valpo's seven combined First Team/Second Team All-League selections tied Wright State for the most distributed.
Dawson was elected to the All-Freshmen Team after appearing in 47 games, including 44 starts as a rookie. The second baseman offset a .240 batting average with a .343 on-base percentage. Dawson registered 31 runs scored and 16 runs batted in. He led off an inning 47 times this spring and reached base in 24 of those occasions.
Shaikin provided the Crusaders with considerable stability at shortstop when Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) went down in mid-March with an injury. Shaikin batted .245 with 10 walks and 10 RBIs in 31 games. During a home doubleheader versus Milwaukee back on April 23rd, the rookie had a 5-for-9 afternoon with a triple, a run scored, and a run batted in.
Baseball All-League Awards
Player of the Year: Daulton Varsho, Milwaukee (So., C)
Pitcher of the Year: Brian Keller, Milwaukee (Sr., RHP)
Relief Pitcher of the Year: Trevor Lane, UIC (Sr., LHP)
Freshman of the Year: Caleb Sampen, Wright State (RHP)
Coach of the Year: Greg Lovelady, Wright State
P – Brian Keller, Milwaukee (Sr., RHP)
P – Dalton Lundeen, Valparaiso (Sr., LHP)
P – Jesse Scholtens, Wright State (Sr., RHP)
RP – Trevor Lane, UIC (Sr., LHP)
C – Daulton Varsho, Milwaukee (So.)
1B – Ricardo Ramirez, UIC (Jr.)
2B – David Cronin, UIC (So.)
SS – Mike Brosseau, Oakland (Sr.)
3B – Shea Molitor, Valparaiso (Sr.)
OF – Ryan Fucci, Wright State (Sr.)
OF – Nolan Lodden, Valparaiso (Sr.)
OF – Luke Meeteer, Milwaukee (Sr.)
DH – Daniel Delaney, Valparaiso (Sr.)
UT – Ian Yetsko, Oakland (Sr.)
P – Trevor Haas, Valparaiso (Sr., RHP)
P – Caleb Sampen, Wright State (Fr., RHP)
P – Trevor Swaney, Wright State (Jr., RHP)
RP – Nate Green, Oakland (So., RHP)
C – Sean Murphy, Wright State (Jr.)
C – Logan Spurlin, Northern Kentucky (Sr.)
1B – Nate Palace, Valparaiso (Jr.)
2B – Billy Quirke, Milwaukee (Jr.)
SS – Mitch Roman, Wright State (Jr.)
3B – Ben Hart, Oakland (So.)
OF – Peyton Burdick, Wright State (Fr.)
OF – Josh Clark, Valparaiso (Sr.)
OF – Quint Heady, Northern Kentucky (Sr.)
DH – Alex Dee, UIC (Fr.)
UT – Trey Ganns, Northern Kentucky (So.)
All-League Freshman Team
Elijah Goodman, Milwaukee (RHP)
Caleb Sampen, Wright State (RHP)
Kyle Benyo, Youngstown State (OF)
Peyton Burdick, Wright State (OF)
Chase Dawson, Valparaiso (IF)
Alex Dee, UIC (INF)
Ryan Fitzgerald, Oakland (OF)
Will Haueter, Northern Kentucky (C)
Wyatt Mascarella, UIC (C)
JD Orr, Wright State (OF)
Scott Ota, UIC (INF/OF)
Sam Shaikin, Valparaiso (IF)