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Midland’s Gray named Co-GPAC Player of the Year

Midland’s Gray named Co-GPAC Player of the Year

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The 2017 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Baseball All-Conference team has been announced after a vote by league coaches. Midland University’s Cole Gray has been named the 2017 Co-GPAC Player of the Year.

He shares the award with Morningside’s Jacob Lamoreux.

In addition to Gray, a total of nine Warriors have been named to the All-Conference Team. Tanner Bos has also been selected as the Gold Glove recipient at first base.

Gray, Torrey Escamilla (SP) and Alex Bee (RP) were each named to the First Team for Midland. Bos, Chris Foster (OF), Robert Cummins (C) and Kiefer Musiel (SP) were each selected to the Second Team. Anthony Virgen (3B) and Conlon McKenzie (DH) received Honorable Mention recognition.

All-GPAC First Team

Gray becomes Midland’s first-ever GPAC Player of the Year, and first Conference POY since Peyton Lewis (1998) and Heath Mlnarik (1997) were named the NIAC Players of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

The senior from Ontario, California earns First Team honors for the second straight year after receiving honorable mention status as a freshman and sophomore. Gray won the GPAC regular season batting title and is hitting a career-best .415 entering nationals next week.

His GPAC-leading 80 hits this season are just four away from tying Midland’s single-season record; set by Dylan Steyer last year. Gray also leads the conference in doubles (20), total bases (128) and slugging (.663), while ranking second in runs (56) and third in OBP (.466).

Gray showcased his versatility over the past month after the four-year starter in center field took over at shortstop for the Warriors and has played excellent defense up the middle of the infield.

Escamilla, a junior, led the GPAC and ranks third in the NAIA this season in wins with a perfect 12-0 record on the mound. The Fremont native has a career-best 3.08 ERA and ranks second in the conference in innings pitched (84.2) and fourth in strikeouts (72).  This marks his first career All-GPAC distinction.

Bee was named to the First Team as a relief pitcher, but also excelled for Midland at the plate. On the mound, the senior is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA and a team-best seven saves. Bee is hitting .333 with 13 doubles, seven homers, 36 runs scored and 38 RBI.

All-GPAC Second Team

Bos earns All-Conference and Gold Glove honors after his first season with the Warriors. The junior is batting .305 with 11 doubles and led the team in homers (10) and RBI (40). Bos has committed just two errors this season at first base while routinely making great plays to help bail his fellow infielders out of throwing errors.

Foster earns All-GPAC recognition for the first time in his career. The senior is hitting a career-high .331 with nine doubles, four home runs and 30 RBI.

Cummins is named to the Second Team for the second consecutive season. The senior catcher is batting .341 with five doubles, seven homers and 32 RBI.

Musiel, the 2016 GPAC Pitcher of the Year, has posted career highs in wins (9-1) and ERA (3.64). The Lincoln native is tied for second all-time in program history for wins (23) and owns sole possession of second place for career strikeouts (248).

Honorable Mention

Virgen is an honorable mention for the second straight year. The senior is hitting .363 with career highs in hits (49), doubles (11), triples (2), homers (5), runs (36) and RBI (33).

McKenzie concludes his Warrior career with his first-ever All-Conference nod. The senior designated hitter has been another key contributor with his versatility this season. McKenzie has posted career highs both at the plate and on the mound. He is batting .402 with 10 doubles, six homers and 29 RBI. On the mound, he is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 26 over 25.1 IP while six saves.

The 2017 GPAC All-Conference Team consists of 17 first-team members, 18 second-team members and an honorable mention list. The complete All-GPAC Team can be found, here.

Midland (40-18) won the 2017 GPAC Postseason Championship on Tuesday night and awaits its NAIA National Opening Round assignment which will be announced Thursday at 3 p.m. The Warriors are heading to the Opening Round for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

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