The Gustavus Adolphus College baseball team had its entire starting infield recognized Monday as this year’s All-MIAC selections were released by the league office. Senior third baseman Tony Konicek (Rochester, Minn./Mayo), a three-time All-MIAC selection and Gustavus’ only repeat selection, was named the league’s MVP for the second straight year by a vote of the league’s coaches. Also recognized were first baseman Pat Siering (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.), shortstop Mike DesLauriers (So., Minnetonka, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s), and second baseman Nate Ruff (So., Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson). In addition, junior starting pitcher Dave Wold (Woodbury, Minn.) was named to the Baseball All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team.
Konicek, who made the transition from center field to the hot corner midway through the season, claimed the Max Molock MIAC Most Valuable Player award for the second straight season after hitting .535 in conference games and leading the MIAC with 38 hits and 38 RBI. He also added 25 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 12 walks, and posted a league-leading .986 slugging percentage in 20 MIAC games played. In 36 games overall this season, Konicek batted .452 with 56 hits, 15 doubles, five triples, and 10 home runs in 124 at-bats. He also scored 38 runs and drew a team-high 20 walks, including five (four intentional) against Hamline April 9.
A recipient of All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association and Midwest Region Position Player of the Year recognition from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association last season, Konicek finished as the Gustavus career leader in batting average (.440), hits (228), triples (12), RBI (178), and runs scored (135, tie) and is second all-time in home runs (31), doubles (53), and at-bats (518). Konicek is Gustavus’ single-season record-holder in at-bats (171 in 2004) and hits (74 in 2004) and has posted the top three marks for RBI (55 in 2007, 54 in 2004, and 48 in 2006).
Heading into the MIAC Playoffs, Konicek was third in NCAA Division III in overall slugging percentage (.874), fourth in RBI per game (1.53) and 18th in batting average (.459).
Konicek is the third Gustie to be named league MVP in baseball. Brad Mazer and Ben Sherer were recognized with the honor in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Konicek is also the fourth player to received the award multiple times, joining three-time winners Chris Coste of Concordia (1993, 1994, 1995) and Brian Sprout of St. Olaf (1999, 2000, 2001) and two-time winner John Nielson of Carleton (1989, 1991). Coste is a catcher in the Philadelphia Phillies (NL) farm system, while Sprout is the starting shortstop for the St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association.
DesLauriers finished second on the team in batting average (.415) while posting team-highs in hits (59), at-bats (142), runs scored (40), and stolen bases (9). He also led the team in fielding assists with 95, a mark that ranks third all-time for a single season at Gustavus. In 20 MIAC games, DesLauriers hit .402 with 33 hits and 26 runs scored, second in the league in each of the latter two categories while his 82 at-bats led the league. In addition, DesLauriers was the only Gustie named to the MIAC All-Tournament team which was also released by the conference office Monday. He hit 4-for-9 with an RBI and a run scored and committed only one error in 12 opportunities at shortstop during Gustavus’ two MIAC playoff games.
Siering hit .353 with 42 hits, 33 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, five home runs, and 31 RBI in 36 games this season. In 20 league games, he hit .379 with 25 hits, 20 runs scored, three doubles, two triples, five home runs, and 24 RBI, ranking 15th in the MIAC in batting average, tenth in runs scored, 13th in hits, and fourth in RBI. Siering also ranked ninth in slugging percentage (.712), eighth in total bases (47), fifth in fielding chances (147) and fifth in putouts (141). Siering also posted a .989 fielding percentage during the season, making only 3 errors in 279 chances.
Ruff, the other half of Gustavus’ double-play combination, hit .320 in 36 games overall with 40 hits, 31 runs scored, 4 doubles, and 13 RBI in 125 at-bats. During league play, Ruff started all 20 games hitting .377 with 26 hits, 20 runs scored, four doubles, and 12 RBI in 69 at-bats. His 26 hits ranked eighth in the league, while his 20 runs scored was tied for tenth. Ruff and DesLauriers each had a hand in 22 double plays throughout the year, while Siering led the team with 28. Konicek was fourth on the list with six.
Wold was one of Gustavus’ primary starting pitchers this season, compiling a 4.95 earned run average in 36 1/3 innings of work. Wold posted a 3-2 record in 10 appearances (7 starts) and struck out a team-high 32 batters. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.
Gustavus finished 21-15 overall and fourth in the MIAC with a 14-6 league mark, qualifying for the MIAC Playoffs for the fourth time in the eight-year history of the event. As a team, the Gusties led the MIAC in team batting during league play. Gustavus’ .370 batting average was five points higher than league co-champ St. Olaf (.365) and 50 points higher than Saint John’s in third place. Gustavus also scored 171 runs during league play, 18 more than the second-place Oles. Heading into the MIAC Playoffs, the Gusties ranked ninth in NCAA Division III in batting average with a .353 mark.