Sam Hellinger Named Summer All-American
Aug. 26, 2016
SPOKANE, Wash.—For the second consecutive year, a Gonzaga University baseball player has earned Summer Collegiate All-American honors from Perfect Game as Sam Hellinger turned in one of the best summer performances in the nation.
The rising senior dominated out of the Bellingham Bells’ bullpen this summer, tallying a miniscule 0.32 ERA while saving 13 games for the Bells. Through 24 innings, he posted a 24/9 strikeout/walk ratio, scattering just 13 hits throughout the season. From Aug. 1 to Aug. 9, the righty saved five consecutive games, striking out six batters and walking just one, and he posted a nine-inning hitless stretch from July 2 to July 21 (eight games). He led the Bells to the West Coast League’s Championship Series, saving game two and forcing a deciding game three. In addition to the national honor, Hellinger was also named First Team All-WCL as a reliever.
Hellinger is the second Bulldog in as many years to earn Summer All-American designation; Eli Morgan picked up the honor last summer after a stellar season in the Alaska Baseball League.
In addition to Hellinger, five other Zags earned All-League honors for their respective leagues. In the Golden State, Nick Brooks earned All-California Collegiate League designation at third base after leading the league with a .405 batting average during league play. In all, he posted a 1.229 OPS, collecting 38 hits – half of them for extra bases – while driving in 29 RBIs and drawing 11 walks. The Auburn, Washington, native also represented his team, the Menlo Park Legends, in the California Collegiate League All Star Game.
Four more Zags joined Hellinger on the various All-WCL teams. Jace VanDeBrake nabbed a spot on the league’s Second Team as an outfielder, hitting .281 for his hometown Yakima Valley Pippins. He also added nine hits for extra bases, 18 RBIs, 18 walks, and 13 stolen bases. Nick Nyquist, Gunnar Schubert, and Jake Vieth each picked up All-WCL Honorable Mention accolades. Nyquist posted a .254 average and .741 OPS in Walla Walla, driving in 29 RBIs and ripping 15 extra-base hits for the Sweets. Back in Bellingham, Schubert hit .249 and with a .400 on base percentage, collecting 43 hits and 16 walks, and Vieth hit .235 with a .368 slugging percentage, bashing four home runs and representing the club in the league’s All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
Three Zags spent their summer in the Alaska Baseball League with Justin Vernia leaving a champion. He pitched the Mat-Su Miners to the Top of the World Series, starting the championship finale. The rising-senior was strong all summer, posting just a 0.58 ERA in 46.1 innings and seven starts. Two more pitchers posted strong stats in the Land of the Midnight Sun: Wyatt Mills posted a 0.55 ERA in 16 innings, striking out 15 and saving five games, while Daniel Bies fanned 17 in 18.1 frames of work, tallying a 1.47 ERA. Both played for the Anchorage Bucs.
Besides the contingent on the Bells and Miners, 10 other Bulldogs reached the playoffs of their respective leagues. In Canada’s Western Major Baseball league, Daniel Fredrickson helped the Okotoks Dawgs claim a regular season championship with the league’s best record. During the year, the rising junior posted a .287 average, collecting 35 hits and 25 walks while scoring 32 times. The Dawgs were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, however.
Also reaching their divisional semifinal rounds were Jake Roberts with the Mankato MoonDogs (Northwoods League), Calvin LeBrun with the Orleans Firebirds (Cape Cod League), and Jack Krauel with the Portland Stars (Northwest Collegiate Baseball League – Portland). In Alaska, Mills and Bies also reached the opening playoff round but were eliminated by Vernia’s Miners, and in the WCL, four Zags – VanDeBrake, Zach Bonneau, Trent Schulte, and Branson Trube – made the playoffs with Yakima Valley before also being eliminated by the eventual champions, the Corvallis Knights.
Below is a complete list of GU’s summer ball involvement. The Fall academic semester will begin Tuesday, Aug. 30 with Fall practice starting in the first few weeks of school.
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