Ten members of the Valparaiso University baseball program received postseason accolades on Tuesday as the Horizon League announced its annual awards. The Crusader award winners were highlighted by Kevin Wild (Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer H.S.) being named the Horizon League’s Pitcher of the Year, Kyle Wormington (Norman, Okla./North H.S.) being named the co-Newcomer of the Year, and Tracy Woodson being honored as the Coach of the Year.
Wild also was named to the Horizon League’s First Team along with teammates Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie H.S.) and Spencer Mahoney (LaGrange, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.). Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.), Elliott Martin (Irvine, Calif./University H.S.), Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.), Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.), and Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) were all Second Team All-Horizon League selections. Wormington, Vavra, Mahoney, and Martin all were named to the Horizon League’s All-Newcomer Team as well.
Wild finished the season 5-3 overall with a 2.87 earned run average in 14 starts. Opponents batted just .244 against him on the year in 97.1 innings and he struck out 56 hitters. All five of the senior’s victories came in conference action, where league foes batted just .214 against him. The right-hander had three complete games on the season, including one shutout, and took a no-hitter into the 10th inning against Milwaukee back on March 24.
Wormington posted a 6-5 record with a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts in his first season with the Brown and Gold. The junior college transfer struck out 55 while walking just 16 in 94.1 innings of work, and opponents batted .264 against him. All six of the right-hander’s wins were against league competition and he finished the year with one complete game.
Woodson guided the Crusaders to their first Horizon League title in school history and the first regular season conference title for the Brown and Gold since 1977. Valpo posted a 32-22 record on the year, including a 22-8 mark in the Horizon League, winning the conference by two games. His Crusaders were tabbed third in the preseason poll, but won 24 of their last 28 games overall, including 16 of their last 18 conference games.
Vavra batted .327 in his first year at Valpo with four triples and 16 runs batted in. He stole a team-high 15 bases in 19 attempts on the year and posted a .419 on base percentage after walking 15 times and being hit by a pitch on 18 occasions. The junior second baseman also laid down 20 successful sacrifice bunts.
Mahoney led the Crusaders hitting a team-high .344 on the season with 16 RBIs. The freshman shortstop posted a .430 on base percentage and drew 14 walks, despite missing half of the season due to injury. When leading off an inning in 2012, Mahoney batted a blistering .522, helping to jump-start the Valpo offense.
Deetjen tied for the team-lead in victories, notching a 6-2 record on the year. The senior southpaw led the Horizon League in innings pitched with 103.1, logging three complete games. He had a 3.40 ERA while striking out 56 batters and walking just eight on the season, ranking among the top-10 in the country for both strikeout-to-walk ratio and walks per nine innings. He was a perfect 6-0 in Horizon League action this season.
Martin, a junior, started all 54 games for the Brown and Gold, posting a .307 average on the season. His offensive production increased in Horizon League games, as he hit .385 in conference action. The third baseman drove in a team-leading 47 runs on the year, including 38 against conference foes. In league play, his .436 slugging percentage and .444 on base percentage were tops among any Valpo hitter.
Manning, a Horizon League All-Newcomer Team selection one year ago, batted .300 for Valpo with 33 runs batted in on the season. The Crusader sophomore centerfielder started all 54 games this season and he finished second on the team with 40 runs scored. He also stole 11 bases in 14 tries.
Hagel, a First Team All-Horizon League first baseman one year ago, moved to leftfield prior to the 2012 campaign. The fifth-year senior hit .302 with 41 runs batted in on the year, making 54 starts. He finished second on the team with 10 doubles, and posted a .401 slugging percentage for the Brown and Gold.
Bain earned Second Team All-Horizon League honors this season as a utility player. Bain played the outfield, second base, and was the designated hitter for the Crusaders as a junior. He finished the season batting .311 with a team-leading 73 hits and laid down 10 sacrifice bunts.
Valparaiso (32-22, 22-8 Horizon) will open Horizon League Tournament play on Thursday evening as the Crusaders face an opponent to be determined based upon the results of Wednesday’s games. Valpo will play at 8 p.m. at Les Miller Field in Chicago, Ill. on the campus of UIC.