ROCK ISLAND — It was a day of mixed news for the Augustana baseball team on Monday.|
The Vikings were not one of the 56 teams invited to participate in the 2014 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship although they will be hosting one of the regional pods this week. Their season ended with a 29-12 mark and their first CCIW regular-season title since 1974.
Good news, though, came later when the Vikings landed eight All-CCIW selections and Coach Greg Wallace was named Coach of the Year.
Grant Stewart, a senior first baseman from Sterling, topped that list, becoming just the second Viking to earn CCIW Player of the Year honors.
Teammates joining Stewart on the first team were junior catcher Nick Tenerelli (Downers Grove South HS), junior outfielder Danny Fifer (Lincoln-Way West HS), senior outfielder Jacob Van Duyne (Wilmington HS) and sophomore pitcher Walter White (East Peoria HS). Augie's second-team selections were junior third baseman Kyle Lenihan (Romeoville HS), junior pitcher Seth Davis (Aurora, Colo.) and sophomore pitcher Zach Morgenstern (Peoria Notre Dame HS).
Stewart hit .415 this season with team highs of three home runs and 57 RBIs. His RBI total is fourth-best in Augustana history and just three shy of the school record. He also led the Vikings with 17 doubles (tied for third-most in program history), 96 total bases, a .585 slugging percentage and eight hit-by-pitches. Stewart led the CCIW with 29 RBIs in 21 league games and tied for the lead with nine doubles. He is just the second Augustana player to earn the award, joining John Benedetti, who was a co-winner in 2000.
Fifer and Van Duyne shared the league lead with 37 hits each. Fifer was also the conference batting champion (.425) and led Augustana with a .441 average this season — sixth-best in school history. He had one home run and 50 RBIs and also led the team with 72 hits and a .492 on-base percentage.
Van Duyne not only tied for the CCIW lead in hits, but also in runs, with 27. He finished the season with a .382 average, one home run, 24 RBIs and team highs of 186 at-bats, 55 runs, three triples and 12 stolen bases.
Tenerelli hit .356 with one homer and 31 RBIs. He led the Vikings with six sacrifice flies, tied for the team lead with 19 walks and tied for the CCIW lead by throwing out eight would-be base stealers. White finished 6-1 with one save and a team-best 2.86 ERA. He tied for the team lead in wins. White was 4-0 in CCIW play, tying for the league lead in wins, and finished second in the conference in ERA (2.57).
Lenihan hit .356 with two homers and 23 RBIs and led the Vikings with seven sacrifice bunts. Davis led the conference in strikeouts (56) for the second straight season and finished the season with a 5-2 record and a 3.45 ERA. He led the Augustana staff in innings (70 1/3) and strikeouts (89) and now owns the second and fourth-best single-season strikeout totals in school history. Morgenstern emerged as the most versatile Viking hurler this year. He was 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA and his four saves led the team and tied for the CCIW lead.
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