FORT WORTH, TX – The Sooner Athletic Conference announced today its 2017 Baseball All-Conference Team. Texas Wesleyan placed eight players on the list while three Rams also received Gold Glove awards.
The Rams are currently ranked 12th in the nation with an overall 45-13. Their 45 wins are the third most in the 48-year history of the program, trailing only the 1978 (52) and 1980 (53) teams.
The team awaits an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round. Pairings for that tournament will be released announced at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday via a selection show on the NAIA’s YouTube Channel.
The All-Conference team, which was voted upon by the league’s nine head coaches, features a total of 34 players, 17 each on the first and second teams. Each team consists of two catchers, one player at each infield position, a utility player, four outfielders, four starting pitchers, and one relief pitcher.
Four Rams were named to the first team: second baseman Caden Williams, outfielder Kiki Menendez, starting pitcher Stephen Yancey, and relief pitcher Brad Sugg. Meanwhile catcher Garrett Crook, first baseman Julio Ibarra, shortstop Casey Moses, and outfielder Blake Seaton were named to the second team.
Gold Glove awards were awarded to only the conference’s top defensive player at each position. The Texas Wesleyan infield boasted three such players in catcher Garrett Crook, first baseman Julio Ibarra, and shortstop Casey Moses.
Caden Williams – 1st-team All-Conference – Second Base
Willimas, a junior from Houston, is the team’s second leading hitter with a .399 AVG. He has racked up 30 extra-base hits including nine home runs while driving in 38 runs. He holds an on-base percentage of .472 and ranks fourth in the SAC with a slugging percentage of .725. Williams has hit safely in each of his last 17 games, marking the second longest streak on the team this season. During the streak, he is batting .426 with five home runs and 17 RBI.
Kiki Menendez – 1st-team All-Conference – Right Field
Menendez,a junior from Austin, leads the team and ranks fifth in the SAC with a batting average of .409 while ranking third on the circuit with 79 hits. He has also hit 11 home runs and racked up 49 RBI. He was named SAC Player of the Week after batting .625 (10-for-16) with two home runs and eight RBI during a 4-0 week in late April. Menendez seemed only to get stronger as the season progressed, batting .426 (46-108) in the last 33 games.
Stephen Yancey – 1st-team All-Conference – Starting Pitcher
Yancey, a junior from North Richland Hills, was named All-Conference for the second time in his career. This season he anchored the pitching staff by going 9-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 13 starts. He tossed six complete games and posted a pair of shutouts, while striking out a team-high 64 batters in 83.1 innings pitched. He was named SAC Pitcher of the Week in mid-April after handing No. 1 Oklahoma City its first conference loss of the season. Yancey worked all seven innings in that game while striking out six and allowing only two earned runs in a 12-3 victory. Two weeks later, he closed out the regular season by recording back-to-back shutouts against SAGU and Southwestern Christian.
Brad Sugg – 1st-team All-Conference – Relief Pitcher
Sugg, a junior from Burleson, appeared in 18 games for Texas Wesleyan this season and posted a 5-1 record with three saves and an ERA of 2.47. Sugg did not allow a run in his first seven appearances as a Ram (13.2 innings). On the season he struck out 38 batters in 40 innings of work and allowed an opponent’s batting average of .221.
Garrett Crook – 2nd-team All-Conference – Gold Glove – Catcher
Crook, a senior from Burleson, was named 2nd-team All-SAC and received the conference’ Gold Glove behind the plate for the second straight season. Crook batted .264 with four home runs and 21 RBI. He was a menace to base-runners, throwing out 18 total base-runners and 41% of all who attempted to steal against him. Meanwhile he made only four errors and allowed nine passed balls on the season while posting a fielding percentage of .985.
Julio Ibarra – 2nd-team All-Conference – Gold Glove – First Base
In his first season with the Rams, Ibarra, a junior from Caracas, Venezuela, batted .340 with nine home runs and 42 RBI. He began the season by reaching base safely in 14 consecutive games. He posted 16 multi-hit games and 12 multiple RBI games. He went 4-for-4 at McMurry and went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI against Austin College. Defensively, Ibarra made only three errors in 374 chances for a fielding percentage of .992.
Casey Moses – 2nd-team All-Conference – Gold Glove – Shortstop
Moses, a senior from North Las Vegas, NV, was named All-SAC and received the league’s Gold Glove award at shortstop for the second straight season. This season he batted .332 with three home runs and 42 RBI. After getting off to a slow start offensively in his first ten games this season, he batted .374 with two home runs and 40 RBI for the remainder of the season. Defensively he set a school record and ranked fourth in the nation with 177 assists while making just 12 errors for a .967 fielding percentage.
Blake Seaton – 2nd-team All-Conference – Left Field
Seaton, a senior from Mesquite, ranks third on the team with a batting average of .379. He belted six home runs and drove in 35 on the year. Seaton is currently riding a 15-game hitting streak, while he only failed to record a base hit in nine of the 53 games in which he played. During his current streak he is batting .396 (21-53) with three home runs and 11 RBI.