Sioux City, Iowa – The 2019 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Baseball All-Conference team has been announced after a vote of league coaches. The 2019 GPAC All-Conference Team consists of a first-team, second-team and an honorable mention list along with a gold glove team.
Five Red Raiders were named to the 18-player second team; Ben De Boer, Drew Schutt, Austin Zylstra, Sutton Derr and Zachary Rosson.
De Boer was one of the team’s top hitters, ranking third in the GPAC with a .375 batting average in 168 plate appearances. The sophomore scored a team-leading 44 runs, hit 11 doubles and totaled 20 RBIs as he stepped into a starting role for Head Coach Brian Wede’s club.
Schutt was a key addition to this year’s team after transferring from Cecil College. The junior put up MVP-like numbers and ranked among the GPAC’s best in batting average (.353), home runs (10) and RBIs (42). Schutt led the Red Raiders with 26 extra-base hits and also was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases.
Also an all-conference pick as a freshman in 2016, Zylstra solidified the heart of the Red Raiders line-up in his return to the field after missing 2018 due to injury. Zylstra ranked fourth in the GPAC with a .371 batting average and tied for seventh in the conference with six home runs. The senior totaled seven doubles and 35 RBIs. Zylstra boasted a 99% fielding percentage at first base, making three errors in 281 chances.
Another key addition to Coach Wede’s squad after transferring from Taylor (Ind.), Derr led the GPAC with a .443 batting average. A mainstay in the line-up midway into the season, Derr scored 21 runs, totaled 16 RBIs and hit safely in his last 16 games played. Derr also provided effective innings out the Red Raider bullpen, posting a 1-0 record and 4.76 ERA in 11.1 innings.
Rosson, a two-time all-conference pick, proved again to be one of the top catchers in the conference. The junior hit .242 with 19 RBIs while also playing nearly every inning behind the plate. Rosson threw out 16 baserunners and handled the Red Raiders young pitching staff.
Five Northwestern players received honorable mention accolades; Britton Yoder, Brady Roberts, A.J. Nitzschke, Mason O’Donnell and Colton Harold.
Primarily in a pinch-hit / pinch-run role as a freshman, Yoder effectively stepped into a starting spot in the Red Raider outfield this year. The sophomore hit .317 and scored 35 runs, second most on the team, while hitting three home runs to go with 19 RBIs.
Roberts proved to be the ace of the Red Raiders young pitching staff this season. The freshman went 6-3 on the mound, ranking fourth in the conference in wins, and 3.66 earned run average. Roberts totaled 71.1 innings, second most in the league, and pitched three complete-games and two shutouts. He struck out 39 and walked just 23 this season.
Nitzschke closed out his stellar career with a .259 batting average and tied for seventh, along with Zylstra, in the GPAC with six home runs. Nitzschke scored 29 runs, drove in 30, stole six bases all the while anchoring the Red Raider outfield with a 98% fielding percentage. He also picked up two saves and struck out 22 batters in 13.1 innings of relief.
O’Donnell hit .264 and scored 30 runs in his first season as a full-time starter. The senior tied for the team lead eight stolen bases and accounted for 18 RBIs. O’Donnell solidified the bullpen, going 4-2 with a 4.32 ERA and two saves in 13 appearances.
Harold provided the Red Raider line-up with additional power, ranking sixth in the GPAC with seven home runs and totaling 36 RBIs. He hit .240 with 26 runs scored and was named the GPAC Player of the Week earlier in the season.
Four Defenders were accorded honors in balloting done by the conference coaches.
Logan Cline (Freshman; Cheyenne, Wyoming), Lucas Nelson (Sophomore; Oak Grove, Minnesota), Luke Drooger (Junior; Edgerton, Minnesota) and Cam Pfafman (Freshman; Acton, California) were all accorded honorable mention accolades.
Drooger is a repeat honorable mention selection after posting a 4-4 record with 39 strikeouts and 44 innings pitched.
Cline led the team in hits and batting average with 42 and .321 and he led the team in runs batted in with 24 and had seven doubles. He also scored 23 runs which led the team.
Nelson batted .313 with 25 hits and had four doubles and 18 runs scored.
Pfafman batted .297 with 27 hits and 12 runs batted in.
Named to the GPAC Gold Glove Team was Northwestern’s De Boer, Rosson, and Nitzschke.