College Baseball

College notebook: Hawks' Birdsong earns preseason All-American nod

Quincy University senior second baseman Cody Birdsong was named a second-team preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. | H-W File Photo
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 30, 2019 1:30 am Updated: Jan. 30, 2019 3:29 am

The preseason honors continue to pile up for Cody Birdsong and the Quincy University baseball team, and the season opener remains three weeks away.

Birdsong, a senior second baseman, was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-America second team Tuesday and was one of three Great Lakes Valley Conference players to earn preseason accolades.

A second-team All-American last spring when the Hawks won 41 games and the GLVC Tournament championship, Birdsong hit .353 with 14 home runs, 17 doubles and 57 RBIs. He led the Hawks with 84 hits in 59 games and was solid in the field with a .953 fielding percentage and 27 double plays turned.

Illinois-Springfield had two players named to the All-America teams. Senior starting pitcher Justin Revels was a second-team selection, while senior starting pitcher Andrew Dean was an honorable mention selection.

Birdsong previously had been named to the NCBWA All-Midwest Region first team. Junior first baseman Michael Nielsen was named a second-team all-region selection. Nielsen, who spent last season almost exclusively as a designated hitter, hit .315 with 15 doubles, 11 home runs and 43 RBIs.

The preseason polls have varying opinions of the Hawks.

Quincy is picked third in the GLVC preseason coaches poll behind Bellarmine and 2018 regular-season champion Illinois-Springfield. Four teams received first-place votes -- Bellarmine with six, Southern Indiana with four and Illinois-Springfield and Quincy with two each. Southern Indiana, the reigning Midwest Region champion, was fourth in the poll.

In the NCBWA national poll, Quincy didn't receive any votes. Bellarmine was tied for 10th with West Texas A&M, while Illinois-Springfield was 15th and Southern Indiana was 24th. Ashland was the only other Midwest Region team to receive votes.

The NCBWA also released a preseason region poll which had Quincy seventh. Bellarmine, Illinois-Springfield and Southern Indiana were the top three, followed by Ashland, Ohio Dominican and Northwood.?In the Perfect Game Division II national poll, the Hawks are ranked 13th. Illinois-Springfield is 22nd and no other Midwest Region team is mentioned.


Leonard with?another honor

Quincy University senior linebacker Cody Leonard picked up another honor this week, earning honorable mention All-American plaudits from the Don Hansen Football Committee.

Leonard was the NCAA Division II leader in tackles (168) and tackles per game (15.3), which earned him GLVC Defensive Player of the Year honors to go along with unanimous first-team All-GLVC and first-team all-region honors.

The Carrollton, Ill., native was named a first-team All-American by and D2CCA and a second-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.


Clark earns Heart weekly award

Culver-Stockton College senior guard Lacey Clark was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Player of the Week after helping the C-SC women's basketball team to three victories last season.

Clark, a 5-foot-10 guard from Belle, Mo. averaged 20.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and three assists in three games. She shot 51.7 percent from the field and went 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. She scored 25 points in a mid-week game against Mount Mercy, matching her single-game career high.

This was the second time this season Clark has earned a weekly honor. Overall, Clark is averaging 13.7 points, 5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. She is shooting 44.1 percent from the field overall and 80.3 percent from the line. She needs 34 points to reach 1,000 points for her career.


Hawks picked 12th in GLVC poll

The Quincy University softball team was picked to finish 12th in the 14-team GLVC, according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches. The Hawks received 44 points in the voting, Southern Indiana, the defending national champion, is the preseason conference favorite and received 11 of the 14 first-place votes.

The Hawks are coming off a 21-27 season in which they went 9-19 in GLVC play. Quincy returns three of its top four hitters from that squad in senior outfielder Morgan Heckman, junior infielder Megan Sharpshair and junior catcher Kay Bettendorf.

Heckamn led the Hawks with a .362 average and 17 doubles. Sharpshair hit .352 with 15 extra-base hits. Bettendord hit .331 with six home runs and 32 RBIs.

Quincy also brings back its top two pitchers in sophomore Mac Kenzie Collier, who was 11-9 with a 4.46 ERA, and senior Sara DeMuth, who was 6-6 with a 5.25 ERA.


Johnson dishing?for Vipers

Former John Wood Community College point guard Jordan Johnson is getting a chance to play professionally with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA G League, and so far, the results have been encouraging.

Signed by the Vipers on Jan. 2, Johnson made his debut the next night against Santa Cruz Warriors with two points in 12 minutes. His best effort was an eight-point, five-rebound, 10-assist game in 33 minutes in a 129-125 victory over the Texas Legends.

In 11 games, Johnson is averaging 7.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 25.2 minutes per game.


GLVC is home?of the No. 1s

The Great Lakes Valley Conference can make a case for having the best NCAA Division II basketball in the country now that it boasts having the No. 1-ranked teams in both the men's and women's polls.

Drury moved to the top spot in the women's rankings Tuesday with its 19-0 record and 9-0 mark in the GLVC. The Panthers had been No. 2, but last week's No. 1, Indiana (Pa.), suffered a five-point loss to California (Pa.) and fell to No. 5. Drury received 23 of the 24 first-place votes.

This is the first time Drury has been ranked No. 1 nationally since 2005, and the Panthers are currently in their 88th consecutive week in the national rankings and 26th consecutive week in the top 10. They play host to Quincy at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the O'Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield, Mo.

On the men's side, Bellarmine continues to hold the No. 1 spot. The Knights have been the top-ranked team all season and are now 18-0 overall and 9-0 in the GLVC. Bellarmine and No. 2 Northwest Missouri State are the only undefeated teams in the nation. The Knights received all 16 first-place votes.