The Kellogg Community College baseball team this week again cemented its status as one of the top programs in the nation with a third place finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series.
The Bruins fought their way to the final rounds of the tournament but ultimately fell in the semifinals to the top-ranked Louisiana State University Eunice late Wednesday, wrapping up a 10-team double-elimination national title series that kicked off last Friday in Enid, Oklahoma. It was KCC’s eighth World Series appearance since 1999 and the team’s best finish since a fourth-place run in 2011.
This season also saw the Bruins’ second consecutive NJCAA Region XII championship title – the first time in College history the team has won back-to-back regional championships – and the team’s fourth consecutive Michigan Community College Athletic Association state and conference championship titles.
Head KCC Baseball Coach Eric Laskovy crossed the 500-career-win mark in April, earning the MCCAA Western Conference Coach of the Year title for the fourth consecutive year and sharing MCCAA Co-Coach of the Year honors with Head Lansing Community College Baseball Coach Jordan Kuer.
Laskovy wrapped up the season by thanking the College’s administration, support staff, alumni “and everyone that made this season possible.”
“Your incredible support was felt by our student athletes,” Laskovy said. “This team was long on heart and character. They left it all on the field and made us all proud.”
KCC Athletic Director Tom Shaw said the College is proud of the team for continuing the program’s long tradition of excellence, tipping his hat to Laskovy for continuing the program’s staggering success rate. The season’s success is especially satisfying after a trying year that cut the Bruins’ last baseball season short due to COVID-19, he said.
“Once again the Bruins have proven their status as an elite baseball program nationally with their third place finish at the NJCAA National Championship tournament,” Shaw said. “We are so proud of our Bruins and can’t wait to congratulate and celebrate with them when they return to campus.”
Standout Bruins at the World series include freshman pitcher/infielder and Northwood University commit Jayden Dentler (Allegan/Otsego High School), who opened the series with a complete game victory on the mound in the opening game against Madison Area Technical College. Dentler gave up just two hits, striking out eight. He finished the year with a 7-3 record, posting a 2.33 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 65 innings.
Sophomore infielder Connor Hnilo (Caledonia/Caledonia High School) led the Bruins from the plate in Enid, batting .500 for the tournament including going 4-4 in the opening game against Madison. Hnilo scored six runs during the tournament and hit four RBIs, two doubles and a home run. He finished the year with the second highest batting average on the team at .405 (second only to freshman outfielder Tate Peterson, of Grandville/Grandville High School, who hit .430).
Sophomore pitcher/outfielder and Davenport University commit Connor Brawley (Dowagiac/Lakeshore High School) was also a key player in the national tournament for the Bruins, hitting .333 for the tournament including four RBIs and a team-high two home runs. He also added a save from the mound in game three’s win over Madison.
KCC baseball finished the year with a 19-7 conference record and a 37-13 record overall. For more information about KCC’s baseball team, including a full schedule, roster and links to official team and player photos available for download by fans and the press, visit www.kellogg.edu/baseball.
Head KCC Baseball Coach Eric Laskovy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-965-3931 ext. 2536.
For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at https://daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.