Two Crusaders Achieve All-League Honors, Three Others Named to All-Freshman Team
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Two Crusaders Achieve All-League Honors, Three Others Named to All-Freshman Team

Five Valparaiso University baseball players received recognition on Tuesday as the Horizon League announced its all-league teams and league award winners.

Seniors James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) and Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) were named to the all-league second team. Stea filled an outfield slot, while Hanson earned the honor at designated hitter.

The Crusaders had three players named to the Horizon League all-freshman team – pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge), pitcher Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) and outfielder/DH Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North).

The three all-freshman team honorees are the most of any Horizon League club. This marks the first time the Crusaders have had three all-freshman team players since 2013 and the seventh straight year Valpo has had multiple players earn places on the all-freshman squad.

Stea has made a strong impact in his two seasons with the program after coming in as a junior college transfer. He ranks among the top stolen base threats in the Horizon League and is in the top five in program history for stolen bases in a single season this year. Despite playing only two seasons in a Valpo uniform, the senior ranks eighth in program history in career stolen bases. He hit a go-ahead grand slam against Oakland and homered in both games of a doubleheader sweep at Milwaukee. The California native was a member of the 2016 Horizon League All-Tournament Team, helping the Crusaders to an appearance in the championship game. He’s inserted his name into the Valpo record books this season by breaking the program record for hit by pitch in a single year. Stea hit .287 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs, a .420 OBP and 21 stolen bases during the regular season.

Hanson started his Crusader career by appearing in 14 games and made seven starts as a freshman for the 2013 Horizon League champion Crusaders, a team that beat Florida in the NCAA Regional. He made 40 starts in 2014 as the team’s catcher, then sat out 2015 with a medical redshirt. In his return to the diamond last season, Hanson hit .327 in 20 games. Now, he’s enjoying his most productive offensive season in a Crusader uniform as a fifth-year senior, shattering season career watermarks in a slew of offensive categories. Hanson hit .294 in the regular season with one home run and 30 RBIs. He compiled a .316 average over 28 Horizon League games.

Rhodehouse is one of five pitchers in the league with three or more saves in league play. The rookie righty picked up the win in his most recent outing, delivering four perfect innings out of the bullpen against UIC on May 14 to earn Horizon League Pitcher of the Week accolades. Rhodehouse finished the regular season with a team-best 2.51 ERA in 32 1/3 innings while racking up 39 strikeouts against 10 walks over 24 relief appearances.

Tieman (4-1) ranks sixth in the Horizon in league-only ERA at 2.80. Tieman’s 51 total strikeouts rank ninth in the league. Despite being moved into the starting rotation midway through the season, the Illinois native is third in the league with seven saves.

Barczi batted .343 in league play, the top average in Horizon League competition on the team. Overall, he’s hitting .290 with one home run and 14 RBIs.

The Crusaders begin the Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday at noon CT against Oakland in a single-elimination first-round game at UIC’s Granderson Stadium. Links to live video and stats can be found on

Award Winners

Player of the Year: Rob Calabrese, UIC

Pitcher of the Year: Jake Dahlberg, UIC

Relief Pitcher of the Year: Alex Padilla, UIC

Freshman of the Year: Ryan Weiss, Wright State

Coach of the Year: Mike Dee, UIC

First Team All-League

SP: Jay Peters, Milwaukee

SP: Jake Dahlberg, UIC

SP: Ryan Weiss, Wright State

RP: Alex Padilla, UIC

C: Rob Calabrese, UIC

1B: Trey Ganns, Northern Kentucky

2B: Matt Morrow, Wright State

3B: Ben Chally, Milwaukee

SS: Cody Bohanek, UIC

OF: T.J. Alas, Northern Kentucky

OF: Jake Richmond, Northern Kentucky

OF: Tyler Pagano, Oakland

DH: Chad Roberts, Northern Kentucky

Second Team All-League

SP: Jake Anderson, UIC

SP: Reid Birlingmair, UIC

SP: Danny Sexton, Wright State

RP: Derek Hendrixson, Wright State

C: Dalton Varsho, Milwaukee

1B: Zach Sterry, Oakland

2B: David Cronin, UIC

3B: Seth Gray, Wright State

SS: Trevor Schwecke, Milwaukee

OF: Emerson Misch, Oakland

OF: Mickey McDonald, UIC

OF: James Stea, Valparaiso

DH: Jake Hanson, Valparaiso

All-Freshman Team

Trevor Schwecke, Milwaukee

Tyler Trovinger, Oakland

Jacob Key, UIC

Christian Barczi, Valparaiso

Easton Rhodehouse, Valparaiso

Jon Tieman, Valparaiso

Seth Gray, Wright State

Ryan Weiss, Wright State

Lou Cardona, Youngstown State