WCC baseball nabs post-season awards
Photo: Waubonsee Community College baseball head coach Dave Randall talks to his base runners during a pitching change at the NJCAA World Series. Courtesy Photo
Coach, KHS alum Dave Randall among those honored
Waubonsee—After finishing third in the nation at the 2013 NJCAA Division III World Series in Texas at the end of May, Waubonsee Community College’s baseball team received numerous post-season awards.
Ten members of the Chiefs’ squad were recognized for their outstanding play, headlined by a trio of NJCAA All-American selections. Pitcher Chris Anderson and first baseman Jake Jouris were both recently named First Team All-Americans, while centerfielder Cody Burton was selected to the Second Team.
Of the nearly 10,000 NJCAA student-athletes that suited up this year in baseball, only 120 earned All-American status, putting the Chiefs’ trio in select company. In addition, outfielder Bobby Smith, third baseman Eric Ray, shortstop Ryan Vega, pitcher Ryan Fejt, catcher Omar Fernandez, designated hitter Harry Vickers and long-time head coach Dave Randall were all recognized by the NJCAA’s Region IV Baseball Committee and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC).
Anderson, a sophomore from Waubonsie Valley High School, emerged as a premier pitcher this spring. In addition to All-American status, the left-handed hurler was chosen as the ISCC Pitcher of the Year after going 3-1 with a 1.93 earned-run-average (ERA) in conference play.
His lone ISCC loss was a 2-0 defeat to the College of Lake County, in which he allowed no earned runs. The southpaw was also an All-Region First Team selection, and was named to the NJCAA Division III World Series All-Tournament team after tossing a 3-hit shutout in the Chiefs’ 2-0 opening game win over Brookhaven (TX) College.
Among all NJCAA Division III pitchers, Anderson finished second nationally in complete games with (9), had the third most wins (8) and starts (12), was fifth in innings pitched (87 1/3), and sixth in strikeouts (84). The potential NCAA Division I prospect allowed only 69 hits, posted a 2.16 ERA, a sparkling 1.08 WHIP (walks and hits to innings pitched), and was 16th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (8.66) among pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched. Anderson was also chosen as Waubonsee’s Most Improved Male Athlete for 2012-2013.
Jouris earned All-American honors after helping lead the Chiefs to the Region IV Championship with his hitting and defense.
The DeKalb High School graduate was named the Most Valuable Player of the Region IV Tournament after going 12-for-22 at the plate in six playoff games. In addition, he was selected as the NJCAA Division III Baseball Player of the Week for the second week of May. Jouris went 8-for-11 (.727) in three Chiefs’ playoff games to extend his hitting streak to 12 games at that time.
On the season, Jouris paced the Chiefs with 46 runs batted in, ranking 11th nationally in that category among all NJCAA Division III players. Jouris led Waubonsee in home runs (5) and slugging percentage (.562) on the way to being named to the All-Region IV First Team. The 6’4” first baseman was also among the national leaders defensively, recording the second most put outs (368) and handling the second most fielding plays (410). In addition, the sophomore finished in the top-20 nationally in runs scored (47), total bases (86), extra base hits (18), games played (51) and times hit-by-pitch (11). A right-handed hitter, Jouris finished with a .359 batting average with a .453 on-base percentage, smacking 55 hits including 10 doubles and three triples.
Burton, a sophomore from Oswego East High School, was the catalyst to the Chiefs’ offense all season. The Chiefs’ lead-off hitter led the nation in stolen bases with 54, breaking Scott Kawall’s Waubonsee record of 51 set in 1987.
The left-handed hitter was also tops among all NJCAA Division III players with a school-record 63 runs scored. In addition, he tied for first nationally in games played (57) and was tied for second nationally in hits with 77, equaling Bob Stehman’s 1998 Waubonsee record for hits in a season. Burton finished third nationally in at bats (191), was tied for seventh in plate appearances (218), and was 11th in total bases (94).
The Chiefs’ centerfielder finished with a .403 batting average and a team-leading .475 on-base percentage. In addition to All-American honors, Burton was an All-ISCC First Team and All-Region First Team selection, and was named to the NJCAA Division III World Series All-Tournament team after leading the tournament in stolen bases (5) and finishing third in hits (7).
Smith, another Oswego East High School graduate, was tabbed All-ISCC Second Team and All-Region First Team. The Chiefs’ right fielder batted .364 and was second on the team in hits (60), runs driven in (37), stolen bases (23) and on-base percentage (.460). The freshman led Waubonsee with five triples, tying him for 10th nationally in that category, and was tied for second nationally in games played with 56. Smith also drew a team-leading 26 walks, scored 41 runs, smacked 16 extra base hits, tallied 81 total bases and was 20th nationally in plate appearances with 202.
Ray was chosen All-ISCC Second Team and All-Region Second Team. The Sycamore High School graduate led Waubonsee with a dozen doubles, while driving in 35 runs on 54 hits. The Chiefs’ third baseman finished tied for 16th nationally in runs scored (48) and plate appearances (203), and was tied for third nationally in games played (55). Ray compiled a .325 batting average and a .433 on-base percentage, drawing 24 walks on the season.
Chiefs’ shortstop Ryan Vega was named to the All-Region First Team after finishing fifth nationally with 123 defensive assists. The freshman from Waubonsie Valley High School booked 50 hits, drove in 34 runs, scored 35 runs and stole 19 bases as the Chiefs’ number two hitter in their batting order.
Fejt, a freshman from St. Joseph’s High School in Westchester, was tabbed All-Region Second Team. The right-handed pitcher won five games, including the Region IV Championship game, which the Chiefs won 13-1 over Harper College. Fejt compiled a 3.47 ERA in 59 and two-thirds innings of work over a dozen appearances.
Fernandez, an Aurora West High School graduate, was the Chiefs’ field general en route to earning All-ISCC Second Team honors. The sophomore finished 25th nationally among all NJCAA Division III catchers in putouts with 212 and was tied for 20th in total chances with 242. Fernandez also recorded 26 assists and made only four errors, compiling a .983 fielding percentage. A right-handed hitter, Fernandez batted .444 in ISCC play and finished the season with a .322 batting average overall.
Vickers, a sophomore from Waubonsie Valley High School, was selected All-ISCC Second Team after batting .314 in league action. The Chiefs’ designated hitter batted .336 on the season with 31 runs knocked in, 48 hits and 18 stolen bases.
Long-time head coach Dave Randall, a Kaneland High School alum, was chosen the Region IV Division III Coach of the Year after leading Waubonsee to the NJCAA World Series for the second time in four years. Randall, in charge of the Chiefs’ program the last 35 years, has guided Waubonsee to 856 victories during that time.
After staggering to a school worst 38 losses in 2012, the Chiefs made a dramatic turnaround this spring on the way to finishing the season 38-24 overall. The 38 wins eclipsed the Chiefs’ single-season mark of 37 wins set in 2011. Unranked in the pre-season and throughout the first half of the spring, the Chiefs were ranked sixth in the final regular season NJCAA Division III poll.
Waubonsee led the nation in stolen bases with 189, well ahead of second-place Century (MN) College’s 141 thefts. The Chiefs also topped all NJCAA Division III teams in hits (587), games played (63), at bats (1,805), plate appearances (2,123), defensive put outs (1,329) and innings pitched (450). Waubonsee finished second nationally in batters hit-by-pitch (86), defensive assists (548) and total fielding chances (1,978). The Chiefs were third in runs scored (406) and total bases (724), fourth in runs batted in (340), and in the top-10 nationally in doubles (87), triples (16), walks drawn (185) and team batting average (.325). Chiefs’ pitchers struck out 318 batters to rank eighth nationally.