DC Baseball Places Five on All-HCAC Squad
GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference unveiled its 2009 All-HCAC Team for baseball on Wednesday. Defiance was well represented on the list, placing five on the all-conference team.
Kirk Jesse led the way for the Yellow Jackets with a Second-Team All-HCAC nod and was joined by Honorable Mention All-HCAC players Mike Dushane, Casey Kahsen, Tim Pitro and Keith Wade. All five student-athletes are set to return to the diamond in 2010 for DC.
The honor was the second in as many years for Jesse, after being named Honorable Mention All-HCAC following his sophomore campaign. This season, the athletic junior garnered second-team honors after making a successful transition to the outfield and turning in his finest campaign in three years with the Purple and Gold. Jesse set new personal bests with 38 starts, a .333 average, 159 at bats, 53 hits, 32 runs, 22 RBI, four triples and 14 stolen bases. The Ney, Ohio, native led Defiance in games, average, hits, runs, doubles, triples, total bases and stolen bases, while turning in one of the finest all-around single-season offensive performances in DC history. Jesse set the school record with 159 at bats, ranked second in hits, fourth in triples, seventh in runs scored and eighth in games played.
Dushane wasted no time making an impact on the diamond for Defiance, earning Honorable Mention All-HCAC honors during his rookie season. Dushane joined Jesse as the only two players to start all 38 games for Defiance and ranked among the top three on the team with 157 at bats, 43 hits, 25 runs, 19 RBI, eight doubles and eight steals. Dushane ended the season sporting a .274 batting average and a healthy .345 on-base clip. While splitting time in center and left field, Dushane hit safely in 24 games and posted 14 multi-hit games. Dushane saw his production increase in HCAC play, where he led the Jackets in at bats and runs scored from his leadoff position.
Kahsen earned his first all-conference recognition, taking Honorable Mention All-HCAC honors after starting 33 games behind the plate as one of the top defensive catchers in the league. Kahsen led the Heartland Conference for the second year in a row, throwing out 20 runners on the bases and catching 37 percent of runners attempting to steal on the year. Along with his steady presence from the catcher position, the Temperance, Michigan, native took major strides with the bat during his junior season. Kahsen had two separate hitting streaks of seven games and set career highs in every major offensive category after hitting .269 with eight extra-base hits and 18 runs batted in. Kahsen ranked third on DC with a .385 slugging percentage and was fifth with a .366 on-base clip.
Pitro garnered his third-straight selection onto the All-HCAC squad, this time being named as an Honorable Mention All-HCAC player. The junior did little to hurt his reputation as one of the toughest hitters in the league by batting .294 to go with a .496 slugging percentage and .424 on-base percentage, while playing a steady second base. Pitro’s .920 OPS led Defiance and he also ranked among the top three on the team in average, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, slugging and on-base percentage. The Gahanna, Ohio, native set career highs with 36 games played, four homers, two triples, 32 RBI and 19 walks and now ranks sixth in DC history with a career .344 batting average, eighth with 72 RBI and 10th with 124 hits, nine home runs and three triples.
Wade rounded out the All-HCAC selections for Defiance, after being named Honorable Mention All-HCAC for his first such award in his collegiate career. The junior third baseman had his best collegiate season with 35 games, a .292 batting average, 120 at bats, 35 hits, 15 runs, 19 RBI, seven doubles, 13 walks and six stolen bases. Wade started 19-of-22 HCAC games and was second on the squad with 13 runs batted in during league action. The Wixom, Michigan, native caught fire during the season’s final month, when he went 24-of-63 for a .381 clip during his final 18 games. The hot streak raised Wade’s season average from .193 at the start of April to a healthy .292 by season’s end.
The All-HCAC selections are nominated and voted on by the league’s head coaches and are announced by the HCAC conference office.