Student-athletes from institutions in the Northwest Conference, American Southwest Conference, and New England Collegiate Conference are off to hot starts in 2022 and took home the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Div. III Awards for the month of February. The February honors cover all games played February 1-27 and the committee will resume the traditional weekly selections and weekly submission criteria next week with the uptick in Div. III teams beginning action this week.
HITTER OF THE MONTH
Senior infielder Jack Thomson slashed .471/.557/1.059 over 12 games for Lewis & Clark College (Oregon). He went 24-of-51 at the dish in February with 22 runs, 17 RBI, 10 doubles, 10 walks, and six home runs. Thomson reached base safely in all 12 contests and had at least one base knock in 11 of them. He went 5-for-6 with three runs, three RBI, two doubles, and a triple in a 15-4 win at California Institute of Technology on February 11. Thomson capped his month with consecutive multi-homer games against Whitman College and Linfield College. He currently leads Div. III in hits, runs, home runs, and doubles and ranks fourth in RBI.
Honorable Mention Hitter: Rob Marinec, Sr., C, North Central College (Illinois) – Went 12-for-20 (.600) with 14 RBI, eight runs scored, and three home runs over five games. Had multiple hits in each contest, headlined by a 4-for-5 game against Wilmington College. Finished a double shy of the cycle against Wilmington and had three RBI in that contest.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH
East Texas Baptist University junior Sayers Collins is off to a 4-0 start and has allowed just one run in 27 innings. Collins opened the year with 22 2/3 shutout innings before allowing a run in the second inning of a 7-1 win over Howard Payne University on February 27. The right-hander struck out 43 and is holding the opposition to a tidy .130 average. Collins opened the year with seven innings of three-hit shutout baseball during ETBU’s 15-0 rout of Centenary College of Louisiana on February 6. He followed that up with consecutive complete-game shutouts against Belhaven University (February 13) and University of the Ozarks (February 19). Collins allowed just one hit and struck out 13 during a 1-0 win over Belhaven and he had a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts against Ozarks.
Honorable Mention Pitcher: Brandon Pond, Sr., University of Lynchburg (Virginia) – Went 2-0 with 11 scoreless innings in February. Allowed just two hits and struck out 16. Opened the year on February 18 with six perfect innings and a career-high 12 strikeouts against then-No. 15 Trinity University (Texas). Followed that up with five innings of two-hit shutout baseball in a 10-0 rout of Dickinson College on February 27.
ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
Lesley University’s (Mass.) Andrew Gryniewicz batted .769, going 10-for-13 in a four-game sweep over University of Valley Forge. The infielder tallied a hit in each of the four games, including three multi-hit affairs. He posted a 1.000 slugging percentage with three doubles over the four games. Gryniewicz drove in three runs and tacked on two stolen bases. Lesley outscored Valley Forge 44-23 during the four-game set.
ABOUT THE NCBWA
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters, and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates, and official votes in the Dick Howser Player of the Year Award, Regional Player of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-America awards, publication contests, and writing contests.