Baseball headed to NCAAs; 11 receive All-OAC nods

AUSTINTOWN -- It was a busy Monday for the Heidelberg University baseball program. Hours after learning 11 players had been tabbed as All-Ohio Athletic Conference performers, the OAC co-champions learned that their season will continue. The Student Princes earned one of 18 at-large bids into the 58-team NCAA Tournament. Heidelberg will head to the Adrian, Michigan, regional -- along with Denison University, La Roche College and host Adrian College.

Headlining the 11 nominations are five first team selections, one second team nod, and five honorable mention picks. Seniors Matt Psychas and Alex Sir Louis, and juniors Tyler Smith, Kyle Jenkins and Marc Ochoawere tabbed first team. Senior Kane Bateman was the lone second team selection. Seniors Parker Fronk and Joey Wenny, juniors Trevor Adkins, Tristan Phillips and sophomore Mason Metz were honorable mention.

The 11 selections for Heidelberg equaled the program record for most all-conference performers, originally set in 2009 and matched in 2011. The five first-team honorees were the most since 2010, when seven first-teamers were selected.

In the regular season, Psychas compiled a .388 batting average, 62 hits, 16 doubles, five triples, five home runs, and 39 RBIs. The senior left-fielder also swiped seven bases. This is his second consecutive conference nod as he was a second team selection a year ago. He earned All-Tournament team accolades after hitting two homers against Ohio Northern on Friday. He hit .421 over the four-game span.

Sir Louis continued incredible form from a year ago and compiled an 8-1 record on the mound this season. Sir Louis held a 3.00 ERA, struckout 36 batters and completed one game against Otterbein across 66 innings pitched. Alex was a also second team All-OAC selection as a junior.

Smith had a breakout year at second base playing all 39 games of the regular season. At the plate, he slashed .360/.432/.401, including 50 hits, eight doubles and 17 runs batted in. Smith also stole nine bases. This is Smith's first OAC honor.

Jenkins too had much of a breakout year at third, playing in all 39 games and leading the team in RBIs. While batting .367, Jenkins collect 65 hits, 12 doubles, three homers, 43 RBIs and seven stolen bases. This is Jenkins' first postseason award.

Ochoa played in all but one game as the 'Berg's mainstay catcher. Behind the plate, Ochoa was responsible for throwing out 45.5% of would-be base-stealers, leading the league. In the batter's box, Ochoa compiled a stat line of .344/.439/.563 while collecting 52 hits, nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 40 RBIs and two stolen bases. This selection is Ochoa's first as well.

Much like Smith and Jenkins, Bateman had a breakout year for the Student Princes. Bateman led the team and was fifth in the conference in batting average with a .384 and hit safely 68 times, including 12 doubles, one triple and 30 RBIs. Kane also swiped a base four times. This is Bateman's first conference honor. He earned All-Tournament team honors following a weekend in which he hit .400.

Fronk has been a four-year starter at first-base, but emerged in a dynamic role in the heart of the 'Berg lineup this season. Fronk hit .296 including 45 hits, eight doubles, three homers, and 29 RBIs. This is Fronk's first career conference selection. He earned All-Tournament team honors after launching a pair of home runs during the three-day event.

Wenning played the role of closer for the Student Princes making a team-high 17 appearances on the mound. In those 17 showings, Wenning slammed the door shut to earn a OAC leading eight saves. Wenning was known for the punch-out as he compiled a 10.06 K/9 ratio, sitting down 19 batters in just 17 innings of work.

Adkins adds a second all-conference selection after being named a first-teamer in 2018. Additionally, this is Adkins' second conference award of the season after the left-handed pitcher was named Pitcher of the Week for a 10-strikeout performance against ONU. Adkins compiled a 5-4 record, a 5.57 ERA and 56 strikeouts on the mound.

Seeing an expanded role this season, both as a starter and a reliever, Phillips compiled a 5-0 record in just 12 appearances in the regular season. The lefty also had 29 strikeouts and a 3.32 ERA for the Student Princes. He earned All-Tournament team honors after firing a complete-game shutout against Ohio Northern on Friday.

Metz became known for working out of tough situations out of the bullpen this year. In 14 appearances, Metz limited the damage he faced compiling a 3-1 record and one save, while conceding just a 1.74 ERA. En route to his first postseason award, Metz also struck out 22 batters.

The trip to the NCAA Regionals will be the eighth for the Heidelberg baseball program -- first since 2015. This is the first year that the Division III tournament will use the regional/super-regional format (as seen at the Division I and II levels). The Berg will compete in one of 13 four-team double-elimination tournaments across the country May 16-19. Those winners, combined with the winners of three two-team tournament (best-of-five format) will pair off for eight super-regional tournaments May 24-25. The eight super-regional champions will advance to the Division III World Series, held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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