OUA Announces 2015 Baseball Major Awards and All-Stars

OUA Announces 2015 Baseball Major Awards and All-Stars

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Once again this season, the Brock Badgers were the team to beat and it shows not only on the field but also when it comes to handing out the hardware.  After putting together a 16-2 regular season, five Badgers players have been named either OUA first-team or second-team all-stars.

For the second consecutive season, Brock Badgers outfielder Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) has been named OUA Top Hitter and a first-team all-star.

The 5'9" 185 lbs community recreation student-athlete led the conference in runs (30), hits (27) and total bases (41). Appearing in all 18 games for the Badgers, Gideon hit .422/.537/.641 with three home runs and 19 runs batted in.  The Pickering, Ont. native was a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases, finishing third in OUA.

The Laurier Golden Hawks finished the season with 14-4 record thanks in large part to the performance of ace Andrew Ziedins (Toronto, Ont.), who has been named OUA Top Pitcher and a first-team all-star.

Starting in five games for the Golden Hawks, the fifth-year communications student-athlete went 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 26.2 innings of work.  In his season debut on Sept. 20 against Queen's Gaels, Ziedins pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits in seven innings of work as the Golden Hawks downed the Gaels 4-0.

From veteran pitcher to rookie catcher, the Golden Hawks have one of the top batteries in OUA as Ryley Davenport (Oshawa, Ont.) has been named OUA Rookie of the Year. 

Davenport appeared in 11 games in his rookie campaign, hitting .433/.500/.700 with one home run and 11 runs batted in.  The first-year computer sciences student-athlete caught a pitching staff that finished third in OUA in ERA (3.93) while allowing a conference low 50 walks.

Guelph Gryphons head coach Matt Griffin led his team to a 12-6 regular season record for a second straight season and has been recognized for his efforts with the OUA Coach of the Year award.

Guelph began the year with eight consecutive wins, including sweeping the defending champion Brock Badgers to open the season, on their way to winning 11 of their first 13 games.  Griffin and the Gryphons went 7-3 on the road this season and will look to continue their success as they travel to London, Ont. for the OUA championship this weekend.

One reason for the Gryphons success this season was the strong play of designated hitter Matthew Forer (Brampton, Ont.) and relief pitcher Denver Carter (Mississauga, Ont.), who have both been named first-team all-stars.

Appearing in all 18 games this season for Guelph, Forer hit .403/.471/.516 to go along with one home run and 13 RBIs.  The 6'1" 185 lbs DH finished the year with 25 hits and four doubles, which ranked him third and fourth, respectively, in the conference.  This is the second OUA first-team all-star award Forer as he was also named to the team in 2013.

As a rookie, Carter was almost automatic at the back end of the Gryphons bullpen as he didn't allow an earned run in any of his five appearances to go along with seven strikeouts.  In 5.1 innings of work this season, the 6'1" 170 lbs reliever only allowed two hits while converting two saves.

Rookie second baseman Gabriel Nakonechny (Toronto, Ont.) and outfielder Bradley Bedford (Burlington, Ont.), have been named first-team all-stars following strong seasons that saw them lead the University of Toronto Varsity Blues to a 8-10 record and the fifth seed in the upcoming OUA championship.

In his first year, Nakonechny appeared in 15 games for Toronto, hitting .339/.418/.559 with one home run and 9 RBIs.  The international relations student-athlete utilized his speed as he finished first in the conference in triples with four and was seven for nine in stolen base attempts.

Bedford, a third-year economics/finance student-athlete, led the conference in stolen bases with 12 to go along with a .345/.441/.473 slash line.  Appearing in all 18 games this season for the Varsity Blues, Bedford was only caught stealing once.  The speedy outfielder finished tied for fourth in OUA in doubles with four, while smacking one homer and driving in 13 runs.  This is the second consecutive season that Bedford has been named an OUA first-team all-star as he won the award last year playing second base for the Varsity Blues.

Catcher Tanner Young-Schultz (Stratford, Ont.) will be joining his Varsity Blues teammates Nakonechny and Bedford, as the computer engineering student-athlete has also been named a first-team all-star for a second-consecutive season.  The third-year catcher played in all 18 of the Varsity Blues games this season, batting .291/.381/.345 with three doubles and 10 RBIs.

Following their opening series sweep at the hands of the Gryphons, the Brock Badgers couldn't be stopped, winning 16 consecutive games to finish the season first in the conference with a 16-2 regular season record.

Brock first baseman Rob Byckowski (Milton, Ont.) hit .432/.569/.545 in his rookie year and has been named an OUA first-team all-star.  Byckowski, a former Canadian National Jr. Team member who was drafted by Cincinnati Reds (22nd round 2014), hit one home run and added 13 RBIs in in 14 games this season for the Badgers.

Winners of nine of the last ten games, the Western Mustangs are getting hot at just the right time as they get ready to host the OUA championship this weekend in London, Ont.  If the Mustangs hope to reclaim the Jason Guindon Trophy for the first time since 2009, they'll need first-team all-star shortstop, Nolan Anderson (London, Ont.), to continue his torrid play.

Appearing in 15 games for the Mustangs, Anderson hit .400/.446/.520 to go along with 18 runs scored.  The 2012 OUA Rookie of the Year stole nine bases in 11 attempts and finished in the top 10 in runs (18), hits (20), doubles (4) and triples (1). Defensively, the fourth-year engineering student-athlete, led OUA in both assists (38) and double plays (5), while committing only one error all season.

In 2012, Anderson was named to the OUA all-star team and recognized as Rookie of the Year.

Joining Anderson as an OUA first-team all-star is another former OUA Rookie of the Year recipient, Waterloo Warriors third baseman Michael Clouthier (Guelph, Ont.)

Clouthier, who was named the 2013 Rookie of the Year, hit .400/.521/.618 to go along with three home runs and 17 RBIs.  Not only could the 6'2" 235 lbs slugger make pitchers pay for missing their spots, but the third-year therapeutic rec student-athlete was also a very patient hitter, drawing 15 walks in 16 games.  Clouthier possesses great speed for a power hitter as he went 8-for-9 in stolen bases attempts.

Last season, Clouthier ranked second in hits (28), doubles (7), triples (2), homeruns (3), RBI (23), slugging percentage (.727) and total bases (48) on his way to being named an OUA first-team all-star.

Laurier Golden Hawks outfielder Alex Kupchak (Oakville, Ont.) led OUA in runs batted in this season with 24 and has been named an OUA first-team all-star this season.

The fifth-year business student-athlete hit .389/.514/.556 in all 18 games for the Golden Hawks this season.  The 6'1" 195 lbs slugger finished the year with four doubles, a triple and one home run.  Kupchak showed good plate discipline as he only stuck out seven times in 70 plate appearances, while drawing 13 walks.

Kupchak was named an OUA second-team all-star last season.

The OUA baseball major award winners and all-stars are determined by a vote of the head coaches of the league's ten member teams.  There will be an on field presentation recognizing major award and individual OUA all-star awards, prior to the start of each team's opening games at the championship this weekend.

OUA Major Awards

OUA Top Hitter - Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
OUA Top Pitcher - Andrew Ziedins (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Rookie of the Year - Ryley Davenport (Oshawa, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Coach of the Year - Matt Griffin - Guelph Gryphons

OUA First-Team All-Stars

Catcher – Tanner Young-Schultz (Stratford, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
First Base – Rob Byckowski (Milton, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Second Base - Gabriel Nakonechny (Toronto, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
Shortstop - Nolan Anderson (London, Ont.) – Western Mustangs
Third Base – Michael Clouthier (Guelph, Ont.) – Waterloo Warriors
Outfielder - Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Outfielder - Bradley Bedford (Burlington, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
Outfielder - Alex Kupchak (Oakville, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Designated Hitter – Matthew Forer (Brampton, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Starting Pitcher – Andrew Ziedins (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Relief Pitcher - Denver Carter (Mississauga, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons

OUA Second-Team All-Stars

Catcher Ryley Davenport (Oshawa, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
First Base – Jacob Gerovac (Mississauga, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Second Base – John King (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Shortstop – Phil Steer (Toronto, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Third Base – Jordan Grant (Mississauga, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Outfielder – Jonathan Brouse (Port Perry, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Outfielder – Peter Ricciardi (Pickering, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Outfielder – Kyle Balzereit (Brantford, Ont.) – Waterloo Warriors
Designated Hitter – Andrew Firth (London, Ont.) – Western Mustangs
Starting Pitcher – Michael Asta (Toronto, Ont.) – York Lions
Relief Pitcher – Phil Owen (Richmond Hill, Ont.) – Brock Badgers