Versatile junior Alex Achtermann (pronounced auck-ter-man) has been named the 2018 MIAA Baseball Player of the Year.
Achtermann (Denver, Colo.) is one of eight Lopers named to the all-conference team which is voted upon by the league’s head coach and was released this morning prior to the first game of the postseason tournament. In addition, Damon Day was named the 2018 MIAA Coach of the Year.
Starting games at pitcher, third base, first base, right field and designated hitter, Achtermann was named first-team utility. Also on the first-team is junior left fielder Brandon Hernandez (San Diego, Calif.).
Junior starting pitcher Josh Cooper (Roseville, Calif.) and junior center fielder Brett Young (Lodi, Calif) made the second-team with senior second baseman Scott Platt (Longmont, Colo.) and sophomore first baseman Ty Roseberry (Kearney) named third-team. Finally, senior catcher/DH Dallas Schramm (Millard North) and junior closer Eric Sandoz (Austin, Texas) were named honorable mention.
Also named honorable mention as a starting pitcher was Achtermann. The Western Nebraska C.C. transfer enters the MIAA Tournament batting .419 with 13 doubles, two triples, 15 HR’s and 57 RBI’s. Having a .732 slugging percentage and a team-high 55 runs scored, he has achieved these numbers batting third or fifth in the lineup.
On the mound, Achtermann is 6-1 with a 4.39 ERA over 10 starts. Having 51 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, he became UNK’s Friday night starter during the middle of the year. Finally, Achtermann joins infielder Cody Lusero (2007, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conf.) as the only Lopers in the D2 era to be named “Player of the Year.”
Hernandez, from the two-hole, has already set a new UNK doubles records (26) and needs just three more hits to set a new single season record. One of two Lopers to start all 50 games, he’s at .388 with 49 runs scored, four HR’s, 45 RBI’s. Stealing a team-best 12 bases, he also has four assists in the field.
Next to him, Young is at .361, 14 doubles, 11 HR’s and 38 RBI’s. Batting leadoff, Young has scored 53 runs, stolen nine bases and thrown out eight base runners. His numbers would be a tad batter had he not missed 10 games due to injury.
Cooper moved into the starting rotation midyear and is currently 7-2 with a 2.85 ERA. In 14 appearances with six starts, the two-time MIAA Pitcher of the Week has 60 K’s in 66.1 innings. He also has one shut out. Next, Platt has had a big senior season. Starting games at second, right field and DH, he enters the weekend at .322 with 10 doubles, 11 HR’s and 40 RBI’s. Having 76 assists in the field, Platt has scored 49 runs and is tied with Young for the team-lead in walks (28).
One spot over, Roseberry has been UNK’s cleanup hitter in 29 games thanks to a .346 average, 11 doubles, 15 HR’s and 44 RBI’s. Scoring 43 runs and having a .654 slugging percentage, he has a team-best 361 putouts in the field.
Finally, Sandoz has some of the best numbers in the MIAA for a relief pitcher (2.56 ERA and nine saves over 23 appearances and 31.2 innings) while Schramm is named All-MIAA for a third time. Riding a recent hot streak, the fifth-year senior is up to .319 with 15 doubles, 13 HR’s and a team-best 63 RBI’s. He recently joined the rare 200-career hit club and needs one more homer to break Tom Bales record of 39.
In the dugout, Day picks up his third Coach of the Year award as Loper skipper. Previously, he was named RMAC C.O.Y in 2004 and 2011. In his 15th and final season at UNK, Day has won 394 games, led the Lopers to four NCAA Tournaments and five 30-win seasons. This year, the Lopers were picked 12th in the preseason poll but a new-look squad came in fifth.
UNK (28-22) plays Pittsburg State tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Warrensburg, MO.