Simmons, Schulze & Verduzco earn top honors from the MIAA; Ten Griffons named All-MIAA

MWSUThe Missouri Western baseball team had 10 players and a coach earn recognition from the MIAA for their accomplishments this season. Junior shortstop Michael Schulze was named Player of the Year, senior pitcher Brandon Simmons was named Pitcher of the Year and head coach Buzz Verduzco was named Coach of the Year.

The Griffons had five players selected to the First Team All-MIAA. Senior pitcher Brandon Simmons earned first team for the second time in his career. Senior second baseman Jimmy Smelcer, junior shortstop Michael Schulze, senior outfielder Bubba Dotson and senior third baseman Grant Fink all earned this honor for the first time in their careers.

Senior outfielder Kyle Simpson was the only Griffon on the second team while senior releif pitcher Logan Hollingsworth, junior catcher Jake Schrader, senior first baseman Spencer Shockley and senior utility player Nate Ramler were all named to the honorable mention team.

Head Coach Buzz Verduzco earned MIAA Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. Verduzco guided the Griffons to their first ever MIAA Regular Season Championship tying a school record with 37 wins. He also guided the Griffons to a MWSU record 17 game winning streak and to a 30 win season for the 7th time in his career. Verduzco is one win away from 400 in his career as he holds a 399-303 record in 14 seasons at MWSU. Verduzco’s team garnered its highest ranking in the baseball polls this season as they climbed to as high as 4th in the nation.

Brandon Simmons becomes the Griffons first ever MIAA Pitcher of the Year selection and earnes his second First Team All-MIAA honor. Simmons has been outstanding this season sitting with an unblemmished record at 10-0. Simmons has won 10 or more games twich and broke the MIAA and MWSU record for wins in a career. He currently has won 34 games. Simmons sits third in the MWSU record book in strikeouts with 221 and complete games with 19. On the season Simmons has started and appeared in 11 games with three complete games. He holds a 2.80 ERA in 64.1 innings pitched. He has given up just 20 earned runs with 45 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Michael Schulzes becomes the Griffons first ever MIAA Player of the Year and earns his first First Team All-MIAA honor. Schulze has been outstanding this season leading the Griffons with a .445 batting average which is secone in the MIAA and fourth in the nation. Schulze has played and started all 45 games for the Griffons this season. He has a hit in 42 of those 45 games and earlier this season he had a 21 game hitting streak. Schulze is tied for the MWSU single season record for hits with 81 and is one run scored away from tying the record of 64. Schulze leads the team with 63 runs scored and has stolen 16 bases. Schulze had 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 43 RBI and has struckout just 10 times in 182 at bats. Schulze was MIAA Hitter of the Week on March 19, 2013.

Jimmy Smelcer earns First Team All-MIAA honors for the first time in his career. Smelcer is hitting .351 with a slugging percentage of .500 and an on base percentage of .364. Smelcer has played in 42 games with 41 starts. He had 54 hits with 11, doubles, four home runs and 28 RBI. Smelcer had a 13 game hitting streak earlier this season.

Grant Fink earnes First Team All-MIAA honors for the first time in his career after earning Second Team honors a season ago. Fink finished the season second on the team with a .410 batting average. He leads the team with a .735 slugging percentage and 13 home runs. He has 68 hits to go along with 36 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples and 49 RBI. Fink has a hit in 37 of the 45 games he has played in which included a 20 game hitting streak.

Bubba Dotson earnes First Team All-MIAA honors for the first time in his career after hitting .377 with 12 home runs. He hit three grand slams on the season and is second on the team in RBI with 53. Dotson is also second on the team in stolen bases with 11 and has hit 13 doubles and three triples. Dotson has 63 hits to go with 54 runs scored and a .707 slugging percentage. Dotson was named MIAA Hitter of the Week on March 12, 2013.

Kyle Simpson was selected to the All-MIAA Second Team for his performance this past season. Simpson leads the high powered Griffons with 56 RBI which is three away from tying a single season record. Simpson is hitting .382 with 66 hits, 13 doubles, one triple and four home runs. Simpson has struckout just 14 times in 173 at bats and has a hit in 34 of the 45 games he has played in. He had an 11 game hitting streak earlier this season and was name MIAA Hitter of the Week on February 19, 2013.

The Griffons return to action on Thursday, May 9 with an MIAA Tournament game against the University of Central Oklahoma at 11:00 am in Kansas City, Kan. The game is being played at Community America Ballpark.

Player of the Year: Michael Schulze, SS, Missouri Western
Pitcher of the Year: Brandon Simmons, P, Missouri Western
Freshman of the Year: Anthony Pacheco, OF, Nebraska-Kearney
Coach of the Year: Buzz Verduzco, Missouri Western

First Team
Starting Pitcher: Edgar Lopez, Sr., Central Oklahoma
Starting Pitcher: Matt Stalcup, Sr., Pittsburg State
Starting Pitcher: Brandon Simmons, Sr., Missouri Western
Relief Pitcher: Andrew Urban, Sr., Central Missouri
Catcher: Chase Graskewicz, Sr., Central Missouri
First Base: Mike Failoni, Jr., Lindenwood**
Second Base: Jimmy Smelcer, Sr., Missouri Western
Shortstop: Michael Schulze, Jr., Missouri Western**
Third Base: Grant Fink, Sr., Missouri Western**
Outfield: Cody Robinson, Jr., Northeastern State
Outfield: Kevin Gratza, Jr., Central Missouri
Outfield: Bubba Dotson, Sr., Missouri Western
Designated Hitter: Horace Johnson, Jr., Fort Hays State
Utility: Brian Wuest, Sr., Nebraska-Kearney
**= Unanimous Selection

Second Team
Starting Pitcher: Travis Higgs, Jr., Central Missouri
Starting Pitcher: Dakota McKaskle, Jr., Emporia State
Starting Pitcher: Brett Abell, Sr., Missouri Southern
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Walch, Sr., Northeastern State
Catcher: Sam Ryan, Sr., Missouri Southern
First Base: John Oropeza, Sr., Central Missouri
Second Base: Michael McCoy, Sr., Missouri Southern
Shortstop: Samuel Domingue, Sr., Central Missouri
Third Base: Eric Dawson, Sr., Emporia State
Outfield: Aaron Rea, Sr., Emporia State
Outfield: Kyle Simpson, Sr., Missouri Western
Outfield: Ryan Abernathy, Jr., Northwest Missouri
Designated Hitter: Eric McGlauflin, Jr., Northwest Missouri
Utility: Kyle Grieshaber, Sr., Central Missouri

Honorable Mention

Starting Pitcher – Ethan Sharp, Central Oklahoma; Tayler Davis, Fort Hays State; Ryan Bates, Missouri Southern; Payton Walker, Missouri Southern; Ryker Fox, Northwest Missouri; George Brandecker, Pittsburg State; Taylor Gentry, Washburn

Relief Pitcher – Jake Heissler, Central Missouri; Logan Hollingsworth, Missouri Western; Ryan McKay, Pittsburg State

Catcher – Mike Wilson, Lindenwood; Jake Schrader, Missouri Western; David Weber, Northeastern State; Jacoby Martin, Pittsburg State

First Base – Spencer Shockley, Missouri Western; Ryan Bilovesky, Pittsburg State; Paul Trenhaile, Truman

Second Base – Jon Cotter, Central Missouri; Blake Sturgeon, Emporia State; Chris Santoscoy, Fort Hays State; Landon Young, Southwest Baptist; Taylor Herrington, Washburn

Shortstop – Cesar Wong, Central Oklahoma; Nathan Pridle, Lindenwood; Kegan Knight, Northeastern State

Third Base – Matt Johnson, Central Oklahoma; Brad Foss, Pittsburg State

Outfield – Tyler Crabtree, Central Oklahoma; Jared Wright, Central Oklahoma; Brad Wilson, Central Missouri; Jordan Slade, Emporia State; Clayton Garland, Fort Hays State; Jordan Miller, Fort Hays State; Colby Shepherd, Lincoln; Wade Rothermich, Lindenwood; Will Wagner, Missouri Southern; Anthony Pacheco, Nebraska-Kearney; Kyle Singleton, Northeastern State; Tory Stoffregen, Pittsburg State; Ryan Ventura, Pittsburg State; Corban Williams, Truman; Parker Gibson, Washburn

Designated Hitter – Matt Malloy, Central Oklahoma

Utility – Ryan Busboom, Fort Hays State; Dallas Burke, Missouri Southern; Nate Ramler, Missouri Western; Blake Marino, Truman

— MWSU Sports Information —