O’Laughlin, Johnson are NCBWA Division II National Players of the Week

DALLAS (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its first NCAA Division II National Players of the Week awards for the week ending on February 5. For the first week of the 2023 season, Azusa Pacific senior outfielder Casey O’Laughlin is the National Hitter of the Week and Arkansas Fort Smith junior righty Brayden Johnson is the National Pitcher of the Week.

O’Laughlin (Chicago, Ill. / Northwestern) hit five home runs, drove in 15 RBI, and went 8-for-20 for a .400 average and a 1.150 slugging percentage with No. 25 Cal State Monterey Bay.  O'Laughlin hit his first home run on opening night, and the following day, in the first game of a Friday doubleheader, he launched three home runs, starting with a first inning grand slam. He would finish game one of the twin bill with eight RBI to lift the Cougars to their first victory of the season. O'Laughlin added another home run in the second game of the double-header, as he hit his second grand slam of the day in the third inning of the Cougars' 10-0 victory.

Johnson (Alma, Ark. / Alma HS) tied his program record with 13 strikeouts in a 6-0 season opening win over East Central. He allowed just one hit over seven innings, taking a no hitter into the sixth inning. He struck out the side in the second inning.

Division II Regional Players of the Week:

  • Atlantic: Andrew Chronister, Shippensburg (Hitter); Carson Kulina, Millersville (Pitcher)
  • Central: John Nett, Saint Cloud State (Hitter); Cole Woods, Missouri Southern (Pitcher)
  • East: No Nominees
  • Midwest: No Nominees
  • South: Anthony Calabro, West Georgia (Hitter); Dalton Neuschwander, West Florida (Pitcher)
  • South Central: Eduardo Acosta, Lubbock Christian (Hitter); Brayden Johnson, Arkansas Fort Smith (Pitcher)
  • Southeast: Dylan Driver, Catawba (Hitter); Drew Moore, King (Pitcher)
  • West: Casey O’Laughlin, Azusa Pacific (Hitter); Justin Fuson, Fresno Pacific (Pitcher)

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 Howser Award Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-America awards, publication and writing contests.