Dec. 2, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Baseball celebrated a successful fall season with an awards dinner on Friday evening in which the program handed out its post-fall honors.
The squad, which features 19 returning letterwinners and 14 newcomers, had one of its best fall seasons on the field as well as in the weight room, classroom and community as the Wildcats prepare for the 2012 campaign, which begins Saturday, February 18, at CSU Bakersfield.
“The fall was very enjoyable from a coaching standpoint,” head coach Brad Hill said. “The kids were hungry to learn and practiced hard every day. We have a long way to go from being a polished group of baseball players, but the foundation of work ethic and a desire to get better were present in this group from day one. That is what made this group fun to be around and coach on a daily basis. I’m excited to see their progress when we get back in January.”
Infielder Matt Giller took home the inaugural Mike Clark Award, named in honor of the former K-State head coach and current Director of Development who is the winingest coach in program history with 435 victories from 1987-2003. The award is presented to the player that most represents what it means to be a Wildcat on and off the field and is the best representative of the program and university in everything that he does.
Giller, a fifth-year senior, walked on to the program and redshirted in 2008 before playing in 13 games in 2009. He then took over a starting role in the outfield during the 2010 season when he started 57 games but was hampered by injury last year. Giller, who hit .357 during the Fall World Series, was a 2010 Academic All-Big 12 honoree, a member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll from 2008-10, and has been a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee since his true freshman year.
Freshman Dusty Maas earned the Hustle Award, which goes to the player that never takes a day off in practice, the weight room, conditioning or a game. An infielder, Maas was a two-year letterwinner at Manhattan High School, earning second team all-state honors while helping the Indians earn a regional championship last season.
The Most Improved Position Player and Pitcher Awards were presented to freshmen Austin Fisher and Robert Youngdahl, respectively. Fisher, an infielder from Olathe, Kan., lettered four seasons at Olathe Northwest, picking up all-state honors from 2009-11, including first-team accolades in 2010, while leading the Ravens to a state championship in 2009.
A left-handed pitcher, Youngdahl was taken in the 2011 MLB Draft by Boston after being named the conference player of the year and the Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota in 2011. He was 7-0 with a 0.49 ERA last year as a senior. During the Fall World Series, Youngdahl allowed one run in three innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Senior shortstop Jake Brown picked up the Gold Glove Award by being the best defensive player on the squad throughout the fall. A 60-game starter in the middle infield last season, Brown posted a .958 fielding percentage in 2011 and did not commit an error during the five-game Fall World Series.
Sophomore Blair DeBord, who missed the 2011 season due to injury, was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 K-State Fall World Series. The catcher recorded four hits, including a game-winning single in game two to even the series. DeBord was also excellent behind the plate, throwing out four base runners and helping his top two starting pitchers record a 4.54 ERA with 10 strikeouts.
DeBord and Kayvon Bahramzadeh earned the Wildcat Ironman Award, which is presented to the position player and pitcher that shows the most improvement in the weight room and is able to exploit those efforts on the field. This award is measured throughout the calendar year starting in January and ending in November.
All awards winners were selected by their fellow teammates except for the Ironman Award, which is selected by Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Bird and the rest of the coaching staff.
Following winter break, Kansas State will begin full-squad practices in preparations for the 2012 season on January 27.
Season tickets for the 2012 home schedule are on sale through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office for as little as $85 for the 30-game home schedule ($2.66 per game). The most convenient way to order tickets is online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, but can also be purchased by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person at the ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.
2011 K-State Baseball Post-Fall Awards
Mike Clark Award: Matt Giller
Hustle Award: Dusty Maas
Most Improved Position Player: Austin Fisher
Most Improved Pitcher: Robert Youngdahl
Gold Glove Award: Jake Brown
MVP of the Fall World Series: Blair DeBord
Wildcat Ironman Award: Blair DeBord and Kayvon Bahramzadeh