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College notebook: Wojcik, Nickles named state's best on diamond

College notebook: Wojcik, Nickles named state's best on diamond

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The coronavirus halted a promising college baseball season for several former local high school standouts, but it didn’t prevent them from earning honors.

Marymount junior third baseman Bill Wojcik (Caroline) was named state college division player of the year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors, and Randolph-Macon senior Matt Nickles (Colonial Forge) was chosen player of the year.

Wojcik was in the middle of a breakout season for the Saints, leading the Atlantic East Conference with a .540 batting average when the season was canceled. He had a .652 on-base percentage, a .920 slugging percentage, seven doubles, four home runs, 21 runs scored, and 14 RBIs.

Nickles was 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA for Randolph-Macon, which started 15-1. He ranked second in Division III with 54 strikeouts. His twin brother Shawn Nickles (Colonial Forge) was named to the all-state second team as an outfielder after batting .339 with two homers and a team-high 25 RBIs.

Bridgewater senior second baseman Jacob Talley (Louisa) was also a first-team all-state selection after batting .362 with two homers and 17 RBIs. Eastern Mennonite sophomore Garrett Howard (Courtland) was a second-team choice at designated hitter after batting a team-best .412.

SOFTBALL/BASEBALL

Former Longwood catcher

  • Megan Baltzell

(Mountain View) and pitcher

  • Elizabeth McCarthy

(St. Margaret’s) and former Radford infielder

  • Nichole Beall
  • (Culpeper) were all named to the Big South Conference’s all-decade team.

Baltzell was a two-time conference player of the year who set a league record with 76 career home runs (including 30 as a sophomore to lead the nation) and holds Longwood school marks for RBIs (230) and runs scored (242). She now plays for USA Baseball’s women’s national team.

McCarthy holds Longwood’s school record with 654 strikeouts, won 76 games and was named 2017 conference tournament MVP.

Beall was named Big South player of the year and a third-team All-America as a senior in 2012. She holds Radford’s school record with 52 career homers and shares the mark with 158 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Spotsylvania grad

  • Cody Wheeler
  • was named to the Big South all-decade baseball team. He was a two-time all-America pitcher at Coastal Carolina and led the league in strikeouts in 2009 and 2010.

ACADEMICS

Recent Concord (N.C.) graduate

  • Nathan Neff
  • (Mountain View) was named to the College Sports Information Directors’ Academic All-America baseball second team. He graduated summa cum laude with a 3.97 grade-point average and batted .322 for his career while starting 160 straight games, twice earning all-Mountain East Conference honors.

Neff and his brother Andrew were both named to Concord’s Dean’s List with GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Also making the list were basketball’s Lauryn Avery (Brooke Point) and women’s soccer’s Ashleigh Fairfax (Culpeper).

Recent Bridgewater graduate

  • Calista Ariel
  • (Chancellor) was named a third-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She posted a 3.92 grade-point average as a health and exercise major and was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s female scholar-athlete of the year as a senior. She qualified for five career NCAA Division III championship meets in track and cross country and placed seventh in the nation in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as a junior in 2019.
  • Kutztown (Pa.) freshman volleyball player Lauren Jackson (Mountain View) earned her second straight spot on the school’s Dean’s List with a 3.60 or better GPA and was named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference scholar-athlete, which requires a 3.25 GPA.

Also named to the PSAC scholar-athlete list were Shepherd softball player Allison Baker (Stafford) and volleyball standout Peyton Lindblad (Riverbend) and Shippensburg baseball player Jacob Pollock (Mountain View) and softball player Hannah Marsteller (Riverbend).

Steve DeShazo: 374-5443

sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

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