ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Park University landed four first-team all-conference honorees on the American Midwest Conference 2011 Baseball All-Conference Team, headlining a list of 22 honors, in all, picked up by the Park University baseball team following the 2011 American Midwest Conference Baseball Tournament in St. Louis, Mo.
Two seniors made the league’s first-team for Park, including Ryan Rush at first base, who will now also be eligible for consideration on the 2011 Rawlings/NAIA Gold Glove Team at first base after being named to the 2011 AMC All-Defensive team. He ended the year with a .985 fielding percentage, making four errors in 267 chances with 250 putouts and 14 assists.
Rush, a native of St. Joseph, Mo., hit .359 for Park, playing and starting in all 38 games with 35 RBIs and five home runs. He also hit 13 doubles during the 2011 season, tying for 14th on the Pirates’ single-season doubles list. In his Park career, Rush hit 13 home runs, which ranks seventh all-time at Park, and his 76 career RBIs are ninth in Park’s baseball program history.
He wrapped up his career with a big game in Park’s elimination-round loss to McKendree, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs, and his defensive prowess was felt late in the game when he dove for a line drive with his foot on the bag, recording the only unassisted double play of the year for Park. He also drew 19 walks and was hit by pitch six times for a .456 on-base percentage to go with his .598 slugging mark in the 2011 season
Gabe Perez, a senior right-handed pitcher from Chicago, Ill., was the only other senior on Park’s 2011 roster to earn first-team all-conference honors, as Perez wrapped up his fifth year in the Park University baseball program by going 4-4 with a rotation-best 3.55 ERA. He struck out 37 batters in 50.2 innings, appearing in 10 games with eight starts.
Perez finished his Park career with a 6-6 overall record in 36 appearances with 14 starting pitching performances. He struck out 70 batters in his time at Park, logging 97.1 innings on the mound with five complete games. He was one of four AMC pitchers selected to the league’s first team.
Park also placed one outfielder on the AMC’s all-league first team, as junior Cody Cobb wrapped up his first season in the Pirate baseball program by hitting .326 with three home runs, 30 RBIs and nine doubles.
A centerfielder from Kansas City, Kan., Cobb led Park and the American Midwest Conference in stolen bases with 30 in 34 tries, a mark that ranks third on the Park University single-season stolen bases list behind Darian Sandford, who was drafted last season by the Kansas City Royals after stealing 99 in his two-year career at Park.
Cobb played and started in all 38 games in center field, homering once at home, against Ottawa, and twice on the road, in crucial conference games against Harris-Stowe and McKendree. Cobb, who hit third in the lineup for most of the year and led off to end the season, scored 39 runs to lead the team in 2011.
He walked 18 times and was hit by pitch on six occasions, tying Rush for that team-high to post a season-ending .423 on-base percentage. Cobb also played a nearly flawless center field for the Pirates in 2011, recording 82 putouts and an assist in 84 chances with just one error, a fielding mark of .988.
Kyle Clifton was Park’s only sophomore honoree on the AMC’s first-team, completing Park’s corner-infield sweep of first-team honors after hitting .357 with five home runs, 28 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits. Clifton doubled 10 times during the 2011 season and also legged out three triples, tying for fifth on the all-time single-season triples list.
Clifton, who came to Park from Independence, Mo., walked a team-high 21 times and had the team’s only slugging percentage of more than .600 at .634 to go with a .460 on-base percentage that included two free passes after being hit by pitch. The 2011 season marked Clifton’s first at third base after coming to the Pirates as a catcher. In his first season at the hot corner, Clifton fielded .900, making 10 errors in 100 chances with 26 putouts and 64 infield assists.
In addition to its four first-team all-conference honorees, Park also put five players on the honorable-mention all-conference team, including right fielder Ricky Alfonso (Tucson, Ariz.), right-handed pitchers Derek Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.) and Derek McGowan (Raytown, Mo.), shortstop Jimmy Smelcer (Liberty, Mo.), and Wesley Moody (Broken Arrow, Okla.)
Moody was nominated as a utility player after appearing in 14 games behind the plate, 16 games in the outfield and three as a designated hitter in the starting lineup. Moody also appeared as a pinch hitter twice and led the team in batting average, hitting .362 with three home runs, nine doubles, a triple and 27 RBIs.
Smelcer hit .327 with a home run, two triples and seven doubles, driving in 18 RBIs and scoring 36 runs, which ranked second on the team in 34 games, all starts. Alfonso played in all 38 games with 37 starts, hitting .307 with 34 RBIs with eight doubles, two triples and two homers, scoring 33 runs on the year.
McGowan and Gordon were two of Park’s four regular starting pitchers throughout the season, and McGowan led the AMC in the regular season in strikeouts, ending the year with 69 and a 4.77 ERA.
He appeared in 12 games with 10 starts, compiling a 7-3 record with one save in 66 innings pitched. McGowan had four complete games during the 2011 season.
Gordon, the youngest brother of Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, appeared 10 times with seven starts and three relief appearances, including one relief appearance in the first game of the 2011 AMC baseball tournament in St. Louis.
He posted a 5-0 record with 26 strikeouts, logging 41.2 innings and three complete games, striking out 26 and posting the team’s only shutout of the year, a 12-0 win in conference play at Harris-Stowe.
In addition to Park’s on-the-field honors, 12 players were named to the 2011 AMC Academic All-Conference team, including Alfonso and Smelcer from the honorable-mention list, as well as Tyler Barth (Kansas City, Mo.), Cam Challand (Delta, British Columbia), Chris Dameron (Elsberry, Mo.), Philip Garrison (Kansas City, Mo.), Trevor Hodgins (Delta, British Columbia), Parker Jones (Independence, Mo.), Colin Letcher (Kansas City, Mo.), Alex Mills (Parkville, Mo.), Scott Tatro (Tucson, Ariz.) and Brad White (Delta, British Columbia).
Park University completed the 2011 season with a 23-15 overall record and a 12-12 mark in the American Midwest Conference, finishing the conference season in a third-place tie with McKendree University.
The Bearcats eliminated the Pirates Saturday from the AMC tournament, beating Park 9-4, a day after Park suffered a 12-inning, one-run loss at the hands of Hannibal-LaGrange University, 5-4, in St. Louis.
AMERICAN MIDWEST CONFERENCE
2011 BASEBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
2011 AMC Player of the Year: Omar Artsen, Jr., IF, Missouri Baptist University
2011 AMC Pitcher of the Year: Drew Firebaugh, Sr., LHP, Missouri Baptist University
2011 AMC Newcomer Player of the Year: Derek McCawley, Jr., 1B, William Woods University
2011 AMC Newcomer Pitcher of the Year: Aaron Matula, Jr., RHP, Missouri Baptist University
2011 AMC Freshman Player of the Year: Rob Hogenkamp, SS, Harris-Stowe State University
2011 AMC Freshman Pitcher of the Year: Adam Brush, RHP, William Woods University
2011 AMC Coach of the Year: Eddie Uschold, Missouri Baptist University
1B – Ryan Rush, Park
2B – Omar Artsen, Missouri Baptist
3B – Kyle Clifton, Park
SS – Ryan Barban, Missouri Baptist
IF – Jacob Harrison, William Woods
OF – L.J. Watson, William Woods
OF – Tyler Muren, McKendree
OF – Cody Cobb, Park
OF – Jacob Greminger, Missouri Baptist
C – Derek Fletcher, William Woods
C – Kyle Moll, McKendree
P – Drew Firebaugh, Missouri Baptist
P – Logan Lawson, William Woods
P – Sean Woolard, Missouri Baptist
P – Gabe Perez, Park
RP – Alex Cann, William Woods
DH – Gabe Marshall, Hannibal-LaGrange
Honorable Mention All-Conference
Derek Allen, Hannibal-LaGrange
Zach Bedsworth, Hannibal-LaGrange
Clint Hamilton, Hannibal-LaGrange
Josh Jackson, Hannibal-LaGrange
Justin McGhee, Hannibal-LaGrange
Monty Cooper, Harris-Stowe
Rob Hogenkamp, Harris-Stowe
Jon Wilson, Harris-Stowe
Kraig Interial, McKendree
Tony Kossina, McKendree
Cole Wille, McKendree
Beau Baker, Missouri Baptist
Ryan Barban, Missouri Baptist
Chris Coleman, Missouri Baptist
Todd Glime, Missouri Baptist
Aaron Matula, Missouri Baptist
A.J. Terrill, Missouri Baptist
David Williams, Missouri Baptist
Ricky Alfonso, Park
Derek Gordon, Park
Derek McGowan, Park
Wes Moody, Park
Jimmy Smelcer, Park
Adam Brush, William Woods
Derek McCawley, William Woods
Robbie McMorris, William Woods
Brant Radcliff, William Woods
Blake Wilson, William Woods
Mitchell Dennis, Williams Baptist
Caleb Dudley, Williams Baptist
Tyler Herring, Williams Baptist
James Mitchell, Williams Baptist
Shawn Selph, Williams Baptist
Paul Welch, Williams Baptist
2011 AMC All-Defensive Team
1B – Ryan Rush, Park
2B – Clint Hamilton, Hannibal-LaGrange
3B – Scott Krutel, Missouri Baptist
SS – Ryan Barban, Missouri Baptist
LF – Tyler Muren, McKendree
CF – Tyler Herring, Williams Baptist
RF – L.J. Watson, William Woods
C – Derek Fletcher, William Woods
P – Steve Massoth, Harris-Stowe
2011 AMC ACADEMIC ALL-CONFERENCE
Derek Allen, Brandon Barnett, Eric Bruening, Denys Delgado, Johnathan Filkins, Josey Garnett, Levi Graham, Ian Hatton, Josh Jackson, Josh Krumwiede, Justin Miller, Brad Muck, Travis Mundahl, Jose Rivas, Brad Stewart, Curtis Stout, Matt Tengesdal
HARRIS-STOWE STATE UNIVERSITY
Timothy Buxman, Zachary Buxman, Monty Cooper, Robert Figueira, Rob Hogenkamp, Basilio Martinez Jr., Cody Ostmann, Logan Peters, Steve Schluckebier, Alexander Smith, Corey Willis, Jarrett Wilson
Lucas Blumhorst, Ronnie Calvird, Tom Collins, Daniel Corwin, Ben Dallesasse, Brad Dunnigan, Alex Frohning, Brandon Gargus, Eric Gentz, Kraig Interial, Grant Klingelhoefer, Tony Kossina, Jordan Law, Jason Leefers, Jordan Luttrell, Nolan Martz, Zane Maus, Kyle Moll, Tyler Muren, Josh Rathmann, Ryan Ryterski, Dakota Schutt, Zach Short, Jimmy Smith, Brandyn Snider, Jon Trampe, Ryan Uhe, Ryan Weber, Peter Zobel
MISSOURI BAPTIST UNIVERSITY
Ryan Barban, Brad Blankenship, Jacob Greminger, Rusty Hendricks, Aaron Matula, Nathan Utt
Ricky Alfonso, Tyler Barth, Cam Challand, Chris Dameron, Philip Garrison, Trevor Hodgins, Parker Jones, Colin Letcher, Alex Mills, Jimmy Smelcer, Scott Tatro, Brad White
WILLIAM WOODS UNIVERSITY
Alex Cann, Chris Fletcher, Derek Fletcher, Tyler Galloway, Jacob Harrison, Jon Hecht, Logan Lawson, Robbie McMorris, Jacob Motta, Tyler Phillips, Brant Radcliff, Ryan Sweet, Kyle Switzer, Stephen Thoenen, Matt Thomas, L.J. Watson, Adam Wojciechowski, Zach Woody
WILLIAMS BAPTIST COLLEGE
Josh Cook, Mitchell Dennis, Caleb Dudley, Brody Elder, Kendall Fay, Curtis Jackson, Chris Marcum, Cuyler Marty, James Mitchell, Matt Pierce, Chris Richardson, John Smith, Paul Welch