CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Senior center fielder Kent Reeser leads a quintet of University of Rio Grande players named to the 2021 All-River States Conference Baseball Team.
The all-league first and second teams, as well as the RSC Gold Glove Team and individual award winners — all of which were determined through voting of the 10 head coaches in the conference — were announced as part of the RSC Baseball Championship at VA Memorial Stadium.
Reeser, a native of Miamisburg, Ohio, was the RedStorm’s lone honoree on both the first team and the Gold Glove squad.
Defensively, Reeser recorded 150 putouts in 154 chances with one assist and only three errors for a .981 fielding percentage.
Offensively, he batted a team-high .391 with six home runs, 12 doubles, two triples, 50 runs scored and 26 stolen bases. He led the team in home runs, runs scored and stolen bases and tied for the team lead in triples.
The RedStorm was represented on the second team by graduate senior starting pitcher Zach Kendall (Troy, OH), sophomore second baseman Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH), senior third baseman Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) and senior designated hitter Jesse Watson (Las Cruces, NM).
Kendall finished with 8-5 record and a 3.26 earned run average, with two of his losses coming in the RSC Tournament. The right-hander allowed 90 hits and 38 earned runs over 105 innings, while walking 26 and striking out 104.
Surrell batted .318 with four home runs and 44 runs batted in. He also doubled six times, tripled twice and stole 14 bases.
Cluxton hit. 317 with nine doubles and 13 RBI. He also ranked second on the club with 47 runs scored.
Watson’s one and only season with Rio was a memorable one. He batted .353 with five home runs and a team-best 52 runs batted in, while also recording a team-high 23 doubles — one off the program’s single-season record.
Regular season and tournament champion Indiana University Southeast headlined the list of individual award winners, pulling in RSC Player of the Year Matt Monahan, RSC Freshman of the Year Cade Reynolds and RSC Coach of the Year Ben Reel.
Point Park (Pa.) University’s Ruben Ramirez was named the RSC Pitcher of the Year.
The All-RSC Baseball First & Second Teams featured 17 players each — four starting pitchers, one relief pitcher, two catchers, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, four outfielders, one designated hitter and one utility player. The RSC Gold Glove Team was also chosen with one player at each of the nine positions on the field.
Monahan, a senior first baseman from New Lenox, Illinois, began the post-season hitting .428 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs in 51 games. He ranked second in the NAIA in hits with 83, which led the RSC. He also stood out defensively as the RSC Gold Glove selection at first base.
Reynolds, a true freshman from Greensburg, Ind., started 10 games as a right-handed pitcher, eight of which were in conference play, and posted a 4-2 record with a 3.42 ERA.
Reel, in his 13th year as head coach at his alma mater, led the Grenadiers to a 41-13 overall record and a 26-1 mark in the RSC during regular season play. IU Southeast is ranked No. 18 in the NAIA Top 25 and secured an NAIA National Championship bid prior to tournament play as the league’s regular-season champion.
Ramirez, a relief pitcher from Juncos, Puerto Rico, led the NAIA in earned run average (0.49 ERA), total runs allowed (3) and earned runs allowed (4). He was fourth in the nation with nine saves, and he worked in 25 games and 54.2 innings, all in relief.
Joining Reeser, Monahan and Ramirez on the first team were starting pitchers Tyler Morrison of Asbury, Nick Beardsley from Point Park, IU Southeast’s Hunter Kloke and Renton Poole of Indiana University Kokomo; catchers Brody Tanksley of IU Southeast and Dylan Janke from IU Kokomo; IU Southeast second baseman Clay Woeste; shortstop Trevor Campbell of Asbury; WVU Tech third baseman Andrew Sharp; outfielders Marco Romero of IU Southeast, Jouseph Renovales from Point Park and Colton Back of Asbury; Ohio Christian designated hitter Ian Rycenga; and utility selection Walker Paris from Asbury.
Also named was the RSC Baseball Champions of Character Team. One member from each team was nominated by their head coach for best displaying the NAIA’s five character values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Rio Grande’s representative on the list was freshman pitcher Josh Faro (Gallipolis, OH).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.