Four from Bluffton named All-Heartland Conference
May 16, 2017
By: Cameron Rife, sports information intern
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University baseball team had four of its members named All-Heartland Conference when the post-season awards were handed out on Tuesday, May 16. Seniors Luke Hickey (Toledo/Whitmer), Dyson Bowman (Coshocton/Coshocton), and Jaylen Von Sossan (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) all received 2nd Team All-Heartland Conference. Dante D’Andrea (Westerville/North) was named Honorable Mention All-Heartland Conference following a superb 2017 season out of the bullpen.
Luke Hickey capped off his memorable career with a 4th straight All-Heartland Conference award. He had an excellent senior season in which he led the Beavers in almost all statistical categories unrelated to pitching. Hickey started all 35 games this year and had a batting average of .361 which led the team. Hickey also topped the Beavers in runs (33), hits (53), doubles (15), home runs (2), runs batted in (27), total bases (80) and slugging percentage (.544).
After an extraordinary senior season, Hickey has left an indelible mark in the career record books. Hickey finished his Bluffton career with 153 games played and 149 games started, placing him second in both categories. Hickey is second all-time in most at bats with 623 and his 52 doubles is tied for the top spot. He finished third on the all-time hit list with 210 and runs scored with 133. Hickey is fifth all-time list with eight triples, seventh with 101 runs batted in and fourth in total bases with 299. He walked 56 times in his career (tied for 5th all time). Hickey also excelled with the leather, finishing his career first on the all-time list with 379 assists and 75 double plays.
Senior pitchers Dyson Bowman and Jaylen Von Sossan also garnered 2nd Team All-HCAC honors for 2017. Von Sossan finished the season with an earned run average of 2.35, putting him ninth on the single season list. He and Dante D’Andrea were the only Beaver hurlers to post a sub 2.75 ERA since 1991. Von Sossan also finished second in conference play with an earned run average of 2.01. Batters hit a measly .213 off Von Sossan, good for fifth on single-season list. Von Sossan was a workhouse during his Bluffton career, finishing fifth on the all-time list in games started with 31 and 12th in innings pitched with 169.2.
Dyson Bowman had a record-setting senior campaign, finishing first in the conference in strikeouts per 9 innings with 13.41. The talented southpaw shattered Bluffton single-season marks with 77 strikeouts and 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings. The flame-throwing Bowman finished his career ranked second on the all-time list in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.17. His 184 career K’s are third all-time list. His .289 opponent batting average placed him in a tie for 9th on the all-time list. Bowman won 11 games during his career (10th all-time) and his 42 appearances are tied for 9th all time.
Bluffton sophomore Dante D’Andrea was named Honorable Mention All-Heartland after a breakout season. D’Andrea finished with a miniscule 2.28 earned run average this year which ranks eighth on the single-season list. D’Andrea held opposing batters to an absurd .198 average, putting him first on the single-season list. He ranks 11th with a 3.83 career earned run average after two years as a Beaver. Batters are hitting .267 against the righty, putting him third on the all-time list.
The three Beaver pitchers honored played a huge part in Bluffton posting a superb 4.44 ERA, the best team earned run average in the past 40 years! Bluffton’s hurlers fanned 8.25 batters per nine innings (295.2 IP), the second-best average to the 9.35 K’s per game in 1970 (119.1 IP). The 271 strikeouts this season are second all-time to the 284 in 2016 when the Beavers played five more games.
In conjunction with the All-Heartland Conference awards, the conference has announced the All-HCAC Sportsmanship Team for the 2017. This award has been developed as part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative. Members of the All-HCAC Sportsmanship team are selected by the coaches and their teammates as individuals who demonstrate the ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field/court of competition. Bluffton senior Blake Merrill (Toledo/Whitmer) was recognized for his sportsmanship this season.