OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Illinois Tech baseball team was well-represented in Tuesday's announcement of the All-Independent awards. The Association of Division III Independents named 10 different Scarlet Hawks to its AD3I teams, with Ian Duke (Pitcher of the Year) and Ed Zeifert (Coach of the Year) also earning individual awards.
Duke, who was also named to the AD3I's First Team, led the association with an ERA of 2.57 in 10 appearances (eight starts). He also ranked fifth in strikeouts (33) and strikeouts per nine innings (6.06). He was at his best against some of Division III's best teams, allowing just five earned runs in 14 innings of work against nationally-ranked opponents (three appearances, 3.21 ERA). He also recorded a seven-inning shutout victory over UW-Platteville on May 6, striking out eight while allowing just four hits and two walks in Tech's 1-0 win. Duke was also named to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Honorable Mention team last week.
John Zalewski, another member of the starting rotation, also was named to the All-Independent First Team. The Chicago product tied for the AD3I's lead in wins (five) while ranking second in strikeouts per nine innings (8.27), third in ERA (4.78), fourth in strikeouts (45), and tied for fifth in innings pitched (49). His two complete games (a seven-inning three-hit shutout against Fitchburg State on March 16 and an eight-inning, three run defeat at nationally-ranked UW-Stevens Point on April 29) also tied for second in the association. In addition, he defeated #7 UW-Oshkosh on May 12 with a six-inning gem, allowing just one earned run.
James Tarala, who was an All-Sportsmanship recipient from the WIAC a week ago, was also named to the First Team from AD3I. The senior captain led the association with 67.2 innings pitched to go along with four wins (tied for third), 49 strikeouts (second), 6.52 strikeouts per nine innings (fourth), and two complete games (tied for second). Tarala started the season strong and never looked back, as he led the Scarlet Hawks to an opening day victory in Florida over Beloit on March 10 (seven innings, three earned runs). He also dominated future Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference for MSOE on March 24, tossing eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts in a 2-0 win.
Orlando-Cardenas Juan was named AD3I's First Team shortstop after a Second Team honor at third base last season. The California native slashed .262/.305/.287 for the season to go along with 32 hits, 14 RBI, and four steals. Orlando began the season with a six-game hitting streak in Florida and was instrumental in Tech's victory of future NACC foe and NCAA Division III Tournament qualifier Aurora on April 26 at Guaranteed Rate Field, going 4-for-4 with three RBI in the 5-3 win.
After earning a Second Team honor last season as well, Zachary Dickey was named the All-Independent First Team catcher in 2018. Leading the Scarlet Hawks and all of AD3I in at-bats with 143, Dickey did much damage with the opportunity, ranking first in the association in doubles (16), third in hits (39), tied for third in triples (two), fourth in slugging percentage (.434%), and fifth in RBI (18). He also was tied for second in the association in walks (16) and stole eight bases. Throughout the course of the season, the catcher/right fielder amassed a 14-game hitting streak (April 5 – April 26), hitting .404 (23-for-57) with seven doubles, a triple, a home run, and 12 RBI during the 21-day stretch.
Michael Courtney was also named to the AD3I First Team as an outfielder. Bouncing back and forth between outfield and designated hitter this season, Courtney proved to be a force at the top of the order as a freshman. He was the toughest person to strikeout in the association, whiffing in just 9.2% of his plate appearances (12-of-131). The Lyons Township product recorded a slashline of .276/.349/.345 for the year, reached base safely in his first six collegiate games, stole seven bases, and recorded 32 hits.
Joining Courtney as a First Team outfielder is fellow freshman Jacob Sorenson. The Minnesota native ranked tied for second in the AD3I in walks (16), tied for fourth in runs scored (20), stole a team-high nine bases, and recorded a slashline of .257/.366/.295. His best stretch of play came in late April, as Sorenson reached basely in 10 straight games from April 17 through April 29.
The Scarlet Hawks also had three pitchers selected to the AD3I Second Team: starter Ryan Cantlin and bullpen arms Roberto Carselle and Jacob Geiger. Cantlin ranked in the top five in AD3I in wins (four) and innings pitched (61.2), Carselle ranked fifth with 13 appearances (recording a 4.58 ERA), and Geiger was the association's leader in saves with three.
For the second straight year, Ed Zeifert was named AD3I's Coach of the Year. Despite playing a much tougher schedule in 2018, the Scarlet Hawks finished with a four-win improvement from the previous season with just two upperclassmen on the roster. Tech defeated some of the Midwest's best competition, including NCAA Division III Tournament qualifiers UW-Oshkosh and Aurora.