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WIAC Baseball Player of the Year and All-Conference Awards Announced

05/17/2018, 12:45pm CDT

From the WIAC -- 

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Daytona Bryden and Michael Kaska were selected the Position Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, to lead the individuals chosen to the 2018 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Baseball Team by the league coaches. In addition, UW-Whitewater’s John Vodenlich was tabbed the Coach of the Year.

Bryden is the sixth Warhawk to win the Position Player of the Year honor, joining Pat Tobiasz (1998), Jared Fon (2012), Marty Herum (2012 and 2013), Mikole Pierce (2014) and Blake Fleischman (2017). He leads the conference with a .507 batting average, .571 on-base percentage, .899 slugging percentage, 75 hits, 70 runs scored, 27 stolen bases and nine triples, while ranking second with eight home runs, fourth with 16 doubles and sixth with 38 runs batted in. Bryden has hit safely in 33 of 37 games, including 23 multi-hit performances. He started the season with a 16-game hitting streak and hit for the cycle against Grinnell College (Iowa) on March 25 and Ripon College (Wis.) on March 30.

Kaska is the seventh player in program archives to receive the pitching award, along with Ryan Brookman (1998), Brady Endl (2001 and 2004), Greg Reinhard (2005), Adam Dominick (2008), Riley Tincher (2010) and Heath Renz (2017). Kaska tops the WIAC with a 1.33 earned run average and nine victories, while ranking fifth with a .222 opponent batting average, eighth with 61.0 innings pitched and ninth with 53 strikeouts. He recorded at least six strikeouts in five games, including a career-best 11 against UW-Stevens Point on May 5. In five of his starting assignments, Kaska did now allow an earned run.

Repeat selections on the first team from a season ago included:  UW-La Crosse’s Nate Heili and Caleb Willems; UW-Oshkosh’s Colan Treml; and UW-Whitewater’s Cal Aldridge, Austin Jones and Heath Renz (Pitcher of the Year). Heili and Aldridge were also first team honorees in 2016, while UW-Oshkosh’s Andy Brahier was a first team pick in 2015.

Vodenlich secured the coaching plaque for the second straight year and ninth time in his career. UW-Whitewater won the 18th regular-season conference title in program archives and has compiled a 31-6 record heading into regional action of the NCAA Division III Championship.

An All-Sportsmanship Team was chosen for individuals that displayed exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season. It included one member from each school.

2018 All-WIAC Baseball Team
Name, School, Year, Position, Hometown (High School)

Mike Aiello, Whitewater, Junior, Catcher, Racine, Wis. (Horlick)
Cal Aldridge, Whitewater, Junior, Thirdbase/Designated Hitter, Crystal Lake, Ill. (Prairie Ridge)

Andy Brahier, Oshkosh, Senior, Firstbase, Jefferson, Wis.

Daytona Bryden, Whitewater, Senior, Centerfield, Rockton, Ill. (Hononegah)

Alex Doud, Whitewater, Sophomore, Outfield, Waukesha, Wis. (Mukwonago)

Taylor Grimm, Oshkosh, Senior, Catcher, Cedarburg, Wis.

Nate Heili, La Crosse, Junior, Shortstop, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Austin Jones, Whitewater, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Wauwatosa, Wis. (West)

Michael Kaska, Whitewater, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, Spring Grove, Ill. (Richmond-Burton Community)

Alex Koch, Oshkosh, Junior, Outfield, Oshkosh, Wis. (North)

Nick McLees, Oshkosh, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Hartland, Wis. (Milwaukee Marquette)

Ben Miller, Stevens Point, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Union Grove, Wis.

Josh Moses, Platteville, Sophomore, Rightfield, Cedarburg, Wis.

Nathan Mulzer, Stevens Point, Senior, Lefthanded Pitcher, Neenah, Wis.

Logan Reckert, Oshkosh, Senior, Outfield/Designated Hitter, Mundelein, Ill.
Heath Renz, Whitewater, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Jefferson, Wis.

Nick Schrader, Whitewater, Junior, Shortstop, Cambridge, Wis. (Jefferson)

Colan Treml, Oshkosh, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, Sycamore, Ill.

Caleb Willems, La Crosse, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, Luxemburg, Wis. (Luxemburg-Casco)

Jordan Wilson, Stout, Junior, Outfield, Eau Claire, Wis. (Memorial)

Honorable Mention

Kasey Bass, Stout, Sophomore, Firstbase, Sun Prairie, Wis.

Zach Carney, La Crosse, Freshman, Centerfield, Appleton, Wis. (Kimberly)

Ian Duke, Illinois Tech, Freshman, Righthanded Pitcher, Manhatten, Ill. (Lincoln-Way West)

Cole Erickson, Stevens Point, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Deerfield, Wis.

Jonathon Kelso, Platteville, Freshman, Centerfield, Villa Park, Ill. (Willowbrook)

Jon Krueger, Stout, Junior, Outfield, River Falls, Wis.

Payton Nelson, Stevens Point, Freshman, Centerfield, Wausau, Wis. (West)

Dylan Ott, Oshkosh, Junior, Thirdbase, Helenville, Wis. (Jefferson)

Zack Radde, Oshkosh, Junior, Utility, Downers Grove, Ill. (South)

Brendon Reifsteck, Platteville, Freshman, Thirdbase, Yorkville, Ill.

Brad Rindfleisch, Stout, Junior, Righthanded Pitcher, West Bend, Wis. (West)

Nate Roethle, La Crosse, Senior, Catcher, Slinger, Wis.

Drew Spaeth, Stevens Point, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Stratford, Wis.

Jesse Sustachek, Oshkosh, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Oak Creek, Wis.

Mitch Sutton, La Crosse, Junior, Firstbase, Mequon, Wis. (Homestead)

Ben Vanhove, Stout, Sophomore, Shortstop, Edina, Minn.

James Witt, La Crosse, Junior, Lefthanded Pitcher, River Falls, Wis.

All-Sportsmanship Team

Ryan Connor, Stout, Senior, Firstbase, Fall Creek, Wis. (Eau Claire North)

Andrew Holzli, Stevens Point, Senior, Lefthanded Pitcher, Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Noah Polcyn, Oshkosh, Senior, Secondbase, Green Lake, Wis.

Nate Roethle, La Crosse, Senior, Catcher, Slinger, Wis.

Jeff Szubert, Whitewater, Senior, Infield, Tinley Park, Ill. (Victor J. Andrew)

James Tarala, Illinois Tech, Senior, Righthanded Pitcher, Crown Point, Ind. (Andrean)

Ben Zwitter, Platteville, Senior, Lefthanded Pitcher, Franklin, Wis.


Position Player of the Year:  Daytona Bryden of Whitewater
Pitcher of the Year:  Michael Kaska of Whitewater
Max Sparger Scholar-Athlete:  Blake Fleischman of Whitewater
Coach of the Year:  John Vodenlich of Whitewater


UW-Whitewater’s Fleischman Named Max Sparger Baseball Scholar-Athlete

MADISON, Wis.--University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Blake Fleischman has been selected the recipient of the 2018 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Max Sparger Baseball Scholar-Athlete Award. 

A senior from Germantown, Wis., Fleischman maintains a 3.91 grade point average and is majoring in chemistry with a minor in biology. In 2017, he was named to the Academic All-America® NCAA Division III Baseball Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Earlier this year, Fleischman earned a spot on the Academic All-District® First Team for the second straight season. He is a two-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll and been recognized on UW-Whitewater’s Dean’s List numerous semesters.

Fleischman helped UW-Whitewater win its second straight WIAC regular-season championship this season. A year ago, he was named the WIAC Position Player of the Year and secured a spot on the All-Midwest Region First Team and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Midwest Region Third Team. In 2016, Fleischman received All-WIAC First Team recognition and was selected to the NCAA Division III Central Regional All-Tournament Team as UW-Whitewater advanced to the finals of the NCAA Division III Championship.

Fleischman worked on a NASA grant with an assistant professor on synthesis of thermoelectric particles used by radioisotope thermoelectric generators to power spacecraft. He presented a project titled “Salt Melt Synthesis of Higher Manganese Silicide Nanoparticles” at a Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium conference last summer.

Fleischman was recognized as UW-Whitewater’s Most Outstanding Chemistry Student, as selected by faculty for the 2017-18 academic year. In 2016-17, he was one of 366 students in the nation to receive the American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Undergraduate Award. Fleischman was also named UW-Whitewater’s Organic Chemistry Student of the Year.

He has held internships through the UW-Milwaukee chemistry department and SACO Polymers. Fleischman serves as a tutor on campus, conducts independent undergraduate research and has coached baseball clinics and youth baseball teams.

Also nominated for this year’s scholar-athlete award were:  UW-La Crosse’s Nate Roethle (Sr., Slinger, Wis.); UW-Oshkosh’s Andy Brahier (Sr., Jefferson, Wis.); and UW-Stout’s Ryan Connor (Sr., Fall Creek, Wis./Eau Claire North).

In order to be nominated for the scholar-athlete award, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.50 grade point average. In addition, he must be in his last year of competition, or on schedule to graduate this academic year, and have competed for a minimum of two years.

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