Kansas Wesleyan’s Jarrett Gable (SR/Colleyville, Texas) was named the KCAC Baseball Player of the Year and Coyote skipper Bill Neale was named the KCAC Coach of the Year, headlining the Coyotes’ selections to the 2023 All-KCAC Baseball teams as selected by conference coaches and announced by the conference office.
In addition to the two major individual awards and the 11 All-KCAC selections, two Coyotes received the KCAC Gold Glove for outstanding defensive work at their position.
Gable led the Coyotes with a .430 batting average during conference play this season. He ranked fourth in the KCAC in batting average, led the KCAC in homeruns (18) and slugging average (.950), ranked second in RBI (55), sixth in hits (52). He played a key role in helping the Coyotes win the KCAC Championship this season.
Neale’s unanimous selection as KCAC Coach of the Year comes after he led the Coyotes to KWU’s first KCAC Regular Season Championship since the 2011 season. The Coyotes posted a 27-6 KCAC record, breaking the school record for conference wins, and during the KCAC tournament the Coyotes broke the school record for regular season wins, when KWU posted its 41st victory of the year over Ottawa University. Neale also became KWU’s all-time coaching wins leader earlier during the season.
Gable was one of seven Coyotes named to the All-KCAC first-team along with Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.), Dustin Sipe (SR/Aztec, N.M.), Kendall Foster (SR/Prosper, Texs), Nathan Righi (JR/Pekin, Ill.), Jarrett Brannen (JR/Bakersfield, Calif.) and Ritter Steinmann (SO/Oroville, Calif.).
Brown was named to the first-team at first base. During conference play, Brown hit .405 for the Coyotes, which ranked him 10th in the KCAC. He had a .860 slugging average that ranked third in the KCAC, and ranked second in homeruns (14), seventh in on base percentage (.510), eighth in RBI (40), 10th in hits (49), and 11th in doubles (11). Brown was also excellent defensively for the Coyotes at first base. He had a .992 fielding percentage in 250 total chances during conference play, committing only two errors all season, and was part of 15 double plays. His defensive excellence earned him the KCAC Gold Glove at first base.
Sipe was named to the first-team at third base. He hit .305 for the Coyotes during conference play this season and had a .610 slugging average and a .447 on base percentage for the season. He had 36 hits which ranked 40th in the KCAC and had five doubles and two triples (ranked ninth), and hit nine homeruns (ranked ninth) during conference play. He had 34 RBI which ranked No. 15 in the KCAC as well.
Foster was named to the first-team in the outfield. Foster hit 14 homeruns for the Coyotes during conference play which ranked second best in the KCAC. He also had 33 hits overall ranking 52nd, eight doubles that ranked 32nd, and two triples which ranked ninth in the KCAC in conference play. He had 36 RBI which ranked 11th in the KCAC. He hit .295 during conference play and had a .460 on base percentage and a .777 slugging average which ranked eighth in the KCAC. He ranked third in the KCAC in runs scored with 48.
Righi was named to the first-team as a starting pitcher. He posted a 5-1 record in nine starts during the conference season for the Coyotes. He tossed 52 innings in conference play, and recorded 61 strikeouts, which was second best in the conference. His 10.56 strikeouts per nine ratio ranked fourth best in conference play. Opposing hitters hit .247 against him, and his ERA of 4.50 was ninth best in the KCAC in conference play.
Brannen was named to the first-team as a starting pitcher. In nine starts during conference play, Brannen posted an 8-0 record, leading the KCAC in wins during conference play. Brannen is also currently the NAIA wins leader with 14 wins and a 14-0 record in 15 starts and 16 appearances. He ranks 11th in the KCAC in innings pitched and is seventh in the KCAC in strikeouts with 44 and ranks 12th in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.08. Opposing hitters hit .251 against him during conference play this season and his 4.22 ERA ranks fifth in the KCAC in conference play.
Steinmann was named to the first-team as a relief pitcher. Steinmann led the KCAC in appearances with 20 during conference play and posted a 3-2 record as a key middle inning reliever for the Coyotes. He pitched 32 innings, and recorded 22 strikeouts, averaging 6.19 strikeouts per nine innings. Opposing batters hit just .147 against him, which ranked sixth lowest in the KCAC. He posted a 1.97 ERA during conference play.
KWU had two named to the All-KCAC second-team in Kevin Esquilin-Cruz (SR/Trujilo Alto, Puerto Rico) and Zack Beatty (JR/Maple Park, Ill.).
Esquilin-Cruz was named to the second-team in the outfield. He hit .395 during conference play for the Coyotes, which ranked 13th in the conference. He had 49 hits which ranked 10th in the KCAC and two triples that ranked him ninth. He had seven doubles during conference play and hit four homeruns. He stole 17 bases during conference play, ranking fourth in the conference. He had a .454 on base percentage and a .581 slugging average. He was also outstanding on the defensive side, posting a .971 fielding percentage and had three outfield assists during the conference season and was part of two double plays started from the outfield. His defensive efforts earned him a KCAC Gold Glove in the outfield.
Beatty was named to the second-team as designated hitter. He led the KCAC in walks during conference play, drawing 30 free passes. He had 14 homeruns that ranked second best in the conference and had 42 hits that ranked No. 22 during conference play. He hit .362 during conference play, ranking 25th, and had a .493 on base percentage ranking 11th and a .767 slugging average ranking 10th in the KCAC during conference play.
KWU had two named to the All-KCAC honorable-mention team in William Dryburgh (SR/St. Joseph, Mo.) and Tyler Triano (SR/Hollister, Calif.).
Dryburgh ranked first in the KCAC in hit-by-pitch in conference play, being hit 18 times. He also led the KCAC in stolen bases with 23 during conference play and ranked sixth in runs scored with 41. He ranked 44th in batting average, hitting .328 during conference play and ranked 18th in on base percentage at .474 and had a .454 slugging average all from the leadoff position.
Triano made his pitching debut midway through the season for the Coyotes after retuning from injury that caused him to miss the 2022 season. He appeared in and started seven games and posted a 5-0 record, all in conference play. He pitched 32 innings with a 3.66 ERA and recorded 28 strikeouts and a 7.88 strikeout per nine ratio. Batters hit .203 against him during the conference season.
The Coyotes are 42-13 overall heading into the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. Opening Round site assignments and match-ups will be announced during the NAIA Baseball National Championship Selection Show on Thursday at 4 p.m., broadcast on the NAIA YouTube channel.