WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Seven players on the Whitman College baseball team have earned All-Northwest Conference recognition.
Whitman's representatives on the All-NWC team, each of whom earned honorable mention recognition, include seniors Kyle Carothers, Ryan Toivola, Adam Zaitz, Matt Brewer and Bobby Jones. Junior Danny Richards and freshman Sean Kinney round out the group.
A total of 18 players from the nine-team conference earned spots on the All-NWC First Team. Rather than name a second team, coaches picked 32 players for honorable mention.
Honored for a third straight year, Toivola was recognized this season as both a starting pitcher and designated hitter.
The 6-foot-3 left-hander won five of nine decisions, which matched his won-loss record from his junior and sophomore campaigns. Toivola, a graduate of Inglemoor High School in Bothell, Wash., earned NWC Pitcher of the Week honors in early May after hurling a complete-game victory against Pacific University's high-powered offense.
As a part-time designated hitter, Toivola hit .312 on the season with four doubles and a home run. Most of his at-bats came in 20 NWC games, when he hit .324.
There were times when Toivola, as a hitter, was able to help his own cause as a pitcher. In one game, he stroked three hits and scored a pair of runs while tossing the Missionaries to a victory over Lewis & Clark. He continued to rip the ball in the next two games against the same team, finishing the series with eight hits in 16 trips to the plate.
Zaitz, who played high school ball with Toivola at Inglemoor, also made the All-NWC team for a third straight season. A catcher, Zaitz hit a career-high .308 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI.
Zaitz saved his best for the NWC season, hitting .373 in 21 games. He helped the Missionaries gain a split on the road in one conference double-header, ripping eight hits in nine at-bats. He belted a grand slam home run and three doubles in notching eight RBI and scoring five runs.
Carothers, a left-handed power hitter who switched from the outfield to first base this season, earned honorable mention recognition for a second consecutive year. He hit .350 on the season (.380 in NWC games), capturing the team batting title for a second straight season.
A graduate of Oak Harbor (Wash.) High School, Carothers also whacked 11 home runs, the most for a Missionary in recent memory, and led the squad in RBI with 33. He ranked fourth in the NWC in home runs, fifth in slugging percentage (.692), sixth in on-base percentage (.484), and second in walks (28).
Carothers had several big games at the plate this season. He terrorized Lewis & Clark with two home runs, including a grand slam, in his first three at-bats in a three-game series in April. He mashed two more home runs in the third game, giving him nine RBI for the series.
One month later, Carothers blasted two home runs in the first game of a series at Pacific. He finished those three games with eight hits in 14 at-bats, scoring six runs and driving home eight more.
Carothers actually had 12 home runs on the season. One of those 12 -- a two-run, tape-measure shot over the trees beyond the right field fence at Borleske Stadium -- does not count in the official NCAA statistics because it came against the Prairie Baseball Academy, a team of top Canadian collegiate players.
Brewer, a graduate of Eastlake High School in Redmond, Wash., helped anchor Whitman's pitching staff with a 4-3 record and a team-leading 5.30 earned run average, the 11th-best mark in the NWC. His season statistics do not include the seven-inning shutout he tossed against the Prairie Baseball Academy.
Jones, a third baseman who graduated from Seattle's Eastside Catholic High School, earned honorable mention for the second time in three seasons. Jones hit .284 with 42 hits, the second most on the team. His 11 doubles led the squad.
Jones, who missed last season after hitting .365 two years ago, wasted little time in bringing some pop back to the Missionary line-up. In his first game as a senior, Jones collected six RBI with a grand slam home run and a triple.
Richards, a second baseman and graduate of Bend (Ore.) High School, hit a solid .295 on the season, although his batting average in 21 NWC games was a more spectacular .341.
In two games against one conference opponent, Richards laced seven hits, including a pair of doubles, in 11 trips to the plate. He scored three runs and knocked in three.
Kinney, who hit lead-off and played left field in his first season at Whitman, hit .331 on the season and led the Missionaries in hits with 47, runs scored with 35 and stolen bases with 10 in 11 attempts.
Kinney, a graduate of Seattle's Blanchet High School, collected 23 RBI with nine doubles, two triples and two home runs. He also drew 22 base on balls.
Midway through the season, Kinney jump started the Missionaries to a double-header sweep of Eastern Oregon University. Hitting from the left side of the plate, the freshman rapped two doubles, a triple and a home run, knocking in six key runs, as Whitman won a pair of close decisions.