ENID, Okla. (GAC) - One the eve of the 2013 Great American Conference Baseball Championships, the league announced the All Conference teams and individual awards following a vote of the league's 11 head coaches. The recipients received their awards at a ceremony at the David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Southern Arkansas shortstop David Harris unanimously earned Player of Year. Ouachita Baptist ace Davis Ward won Pitcher of the Year. Mulerider pitcher Timothy Buchanan picked up the Pitcher of the Year and Southwestern Oklahoma State's Zack Saunders garnered the Coach of the Year honor.
Led by Harris and Buchanan, the GAC regular-season champion Muleriders placed 10 on the All-GAC teams. Harris made an immediate impact in the SAU lineup as he led the conference in five offensive categories - doubles, triples, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage. He finished the regular season second in runs scored, third in hits and in home runs. His .361 average ranked eighth. Buchanan became the second Mulerider in as many years to receive Freshman of the Year honor as he posted an 8-1 record with a 3.90 ERA in 16 appearances. He struck out 42 and walked only 13 in 64.2 innings of work.
Buchanan represented one of four SAU starting pitchers that earned All-GAC recognition. Junior James Baune made the First Team; senior Philip Menou landed on the Second Team and senior Jon Mark Abbey joined Buchanan on the Honorable Mention list. Led by Baune's 10-1 mark, the quartet went 33-8 with 19 complete games.
Like Harris, SAU outfielder Jason Dahl earned unanimous First Team honors. Dahl hit .381, good enough to rank eighth in the league. Third baseman Brady Capshaw and outfielder Chris Quinn also made the First Team. In addition to Menou, record-setting closer Justin Thomas and catcher Ryan Dardenne - last year's Freshman of the Year - made the Second Team.
Ward led the GAC in ERA, innings pitched and complete games as he compiled a 9-3 record for the Tigers. He made 13 starts and recorded 10 complete games. His 1.74 ERA finished nearly two-thirds of a run better that that of the second-best mark in the conference.
Henderson State and Southeastern Oklahoma State each placed three on the All-GAC First Team. The Reddies' Zac Zdanowicz unanimously claimed one of the four outfield spots as he hit .391 to place fourth in the conference. His 20 steals ranked second. Jordan Wright earned the First Team nod at reliever. He posted a 4-2 record with 10 saves and a 1.23 ERA. He struck out 52 in 44.0 innings. HSU first baseman Michael Corso hit .321 with a team-leading 17 doubles to also make the First Team.
Southeastern's First-Team representation came from pitcher Vance Woodruff, outfielder Chevis Springer and designated hitter Evan Ramsey. Woodruff finished the regular as the top strikeout pitcher in the GAC. He fanned 84 in 90.1 innings. He posted a 2.89 ERA and six complete games. Ramsey only trailed Harris in slugging percentage in his eight home runs tied for third. Springer hit .348 and his .482 on-base percentage ranked second in the GAC.
A pair of seniors from Southwestern Oklahoma State, starting pitcher Shane Martin and utility Kevin Cantrell landed on the first team for the Bulldogs. Martin earned a unanimous selection as his 11 wins currently share the national lead. Cantrell started at both third base and shortstop for SWOSU and hit .403, second in the conference.
The Bulldogs' Saunders earned the GAC Coach of the Year as he guided SWOSU to a 31-14 regular season and a second-place finish in the league. SWOSU closed the regular season by winning 20 of their last 23 games.
Arkansas Tech's second baseman, Cesar Abreu, and Northwestern Oklahoma State catcher Juan Natal rounded out the first team. A unanimous pick, Abreu posted the highest on-base percentage in the league, .510; Natal finished the regular season with the highest batting average in the GAC, .409.
Arkansas-Monticello placed six on the All-GAC teams, four on the Second Team and two on the Honorable Mention. Three quarters of the Boll Weevils' infield earned Second Team honors in Hunter Allday (first base), Alex Lang (second base) and Ben Agredano (shortstop) along with outfielder D'Marco Poindexter.
All five of Harding's honorees earned Honorable Mention. Three Bisons outfielders - Paul Anzalone, Kyle Atkins, and Jeremy Bohnett earned the honor as did seniors Hayden Shirley and Billy Ninemire.