School record five players earn All-Heartland Conference honorsBy Greg Steiner, SID intern
May 13, 2002
Bluffton College senior Brad Buckingham (Geneva, Ind./South Adams H.S.) and sophomore Kyle Alberson (Geneva, Ind./South Adams H.S.) were named first team All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in baseball for their efforts during the 2002 season. A total of five players picked up All-HCAC honors, the most in Bluffton's four years in the conference, as the Beavers won a school record 11 HCAC games and finished fifth in the league.
Buckingham started 34 of the 36 games, most of which came in centerfield, and led the team in runs scored with 32 on the campaign. He finished second in eight offensive categories, which included batting average (.382), slugging percentage (.545), homeruns (3) and runs batted in (21). He also tied for the team lead with 47 hits on the year. Against HCAC opponents, Buckingham ranked among the league's leaders in average (.415 ranks 3rd), slugging percentage (.610 ranks 8th), runs scored (23 ranks 4th), hits (34 ranks 3rd), doubles (7 ranks 7th) and homeruns (3 is tied for 7th). Buckingham owns school records in hits with 166 and runs scored with 106 and was an honorable mention All-HCAC selection each of his first three seasons.
Alberson led the Beavers in eight offensive categories during the 2002 campaign. He played in all 36 games, starting 34 of them, and led the team in doubles (12), homeruns (7) and slugging percentage (.722), while batting .380 with 41 hits. In HCAC games he led the conference in doubles (10) and slugging percentage (.817) and was among the league leaders in average (.408 ranks 6th), runs batted in (26 ranks 4th), and homeruns (5 is tied for 3rd).
Honorable mention HCAC awards went to senior Todd Pickthorn, junior Wes Hall and sophomore Jim Dwenger. Pickthorn (Miamisburg/Miamisburg H.S.) batted .372 and collected 18 RBIs during conference play along with a slugging percentage of .526, which was fourth highest on the team. Hall (Lewiston/Indian Lake H.S.) had an ERA of 2.96 in 52.1 innings of work. Hall's ERA was the sixth lowest in the conference and all of his five wins came during conference action to go along with two saves. Dwenger (Minster/Minster H.S.) led the team in overall batting average this season at .398 and his .409 average in HCAC games was second on the squad and fifth in the HCAC, while his team-best .494 on base percentage ranked fourth in the HCAC.