Bruins reap many baseball honors
George Fox places six different players on various All-West Region teams
For their role in helping the George Fox baseball team to a 28-12 record and third-place finish in the Northwest Conference, a handful Bruins were named to various Division III All-West Region teams following the 2014 season.
Defense, an often-overlooked and under-appreciated component of successful baseball, played a major role in GFUs campaign as three Bruins have been selected to the Division III All-West Region Gold Glove Team as chosen by the regions coaches for the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
Named for fielding excellence were second baseman Derek Blankenship, catcher Josh Rapacz and pitcher Clay Gartner. The three played major roles in the Bruins .972 fielding average, which ranked fifth in the nation.
The ABCA also named five Bruins to its All-West Region teams, led by designated hitter Danny Clifford as a first team selection. Rapacz and Gartner joined hurler Tom Zarosinski on the second team, and first baseman Derek Dixon made it on the third team.
Rapacz, Gartner and Clifford were also recognized by D3baseball.com, which honored Rapacz and Gartner as All-West Region second team performers, with Clifford making the third team.
Blankenship, a fourth-year junior from Baker City, who graduated and will attend medical school next year, turned in a .980 fielding average with only two errors in 150 chances. He had 73 putouts, 75 assists and helped turn 17 doubles plays, ranking 16th in the NWC in assists and 14th in twin killings.
At the plate, Blankenship was second on the Bruins in walks (19) and sacrifice bunts (8), third in runs (33) and batted .307 with 42 hits, 12 RBIs and a .404 on base percentage.
Rapacz, a fifth-year senior from West Richland, Wash., fielded .996 with only one error in 237 chances behind the plate. Blessed with arm strength, few runners were willing to test him as he threw out five of 13 players trying to steal on him, a .385 caught-stealing percentage.
Rapacz led the team in batting average (.391), walks (23) and on base percentage (.479), was second in hits (54), and third in total bases (567) and slugging percentage (.486). He also had seven doubles, two home runs and 23 RBIs. In NWC stats, he was first in batting and on base precentage and tied for fifth in hits.
Rapacz was a first team All-NWC selection for the third time this season. Last year, he was first team All-Conference and NWC Player of the Year. The ABCA named him to the All-West Region first team and All-America third team, while D3baseball.com named him the West Region Player of the Year and All-America first team. He was all-conference first team in 2012 and all-conference honorable mention in 2010.
Gartner, a fifth-year senior from Clovis, Calif., demonstrated his fielding proficiency by not making an error in 20 total chances, including 16 assists, for a 1.000 defensive average. His defense helped him lead the Bruins in wins (10), complete games (4) and shutouts (2), and tie for the lead in starts (13) and innings.
In NWC stats, Gartner was tied for second in wins innings, and complete games, tied for third in starts and ranked seventh in strikeouts and 10th in ERA. In NCAA national stats, he was tied for fourth in wins and tied for 23rd in starts. He was second team All-NWC last year, and All-NWC honorable mention in 2012 as a relief pitcher.
Clifford, a senior from Canby, led the Bruins in runs (36), doubles (13), home runs (8), RBIs (35), sacrifice flies (4), and tied for the lead in at-bats (160). He was second in total bases (90) and slugging percentage (.563), and third in batting average (.331), hits (53) and stolen bases (3). In NWC stats, he was tied for second in home runs, third in total bases, tied for third in doubles, fourth in slugging percentage, tied for fourth in runs and RBIs.
Clifford was named to the All-NWC second team this season. He was first team All-NWC as a designated hitter last year and was named to the D3baseball.com All-West Region second team.
Zarosinski, a fourth-year junior right-hander from Lake Oswego, led the Bruins in strikeouts (86), opponents batting average (.220), and was tied for first in starts (13) and innings (95.0). He was second in wins (7), earned run average (1.99), and complete games (3). He established a new Bruin record by throwing 27 consecutive scoreless innings in mid-season.
In NWC stats, Zarosinski was tied for second in starts and innings, second in strikeouts, tied for fourth in complete games, tied for fifth in wins, and sixth in ERA. In NCAA national stats, he was 11th in strikeouts. He was All-NWC honorable mention for the second consecutive time this year.
Dixon, a senior from Vancouver, Wash., led the Bruins in hits (57), triples (3), total bases (92), slugging percentage (.575), hit by pitches (9), and tied for the lead in at bats (160) and stolen bases (5). He was second in batting average (.356), doubles (11), home runs (6), RBIs (33) and on-base percentage (.421) and third in runs (32).
In NWC stats, he was second in total bases, tied for second in triples and hit by pitches, third in hits and slugging percentage, fourth in home runs, fifth in batting, sixth in on base percentage, tied for seventh in at bats and RBIs, and tied for eighth in doubles.
In the field, he led the team in putouts (223) while fielding .992.
Dixon was a first team All-NWC selection for the second year in a row. Last year, he was named to the D3baseball.com All-West Region second team.
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