Baseball | 05/02/2010

4 Matador Baseball players dot postseason teams

Young, Keller, Huffer earn All-ACCAC, All-Region I spots; Morten named 2nd Team All-ACCAC

Yuma, Arizona May 3, 2010 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that 4 AWC baseball players have been named to the postseason All-Region I and All-ACCAC teams. Matadors' sophomore outfielder Josh Young was named 1st Team All-ACCAC and 2nd Team All-Region I. Freshman pitchers Tim Keller and Tyler Huffer earned 2nd Team honors on both postseason teams, and freshman catcher Wade Morten joined the two hurlers on the 2nd Team All-ACCAC team. The announcements were made following the postseason coaches' meetings in Phoenix.

For Josh Young, the 1st Team All-ACCAC selection is validation that he's matured to becoming one of the top outfielders in the conference. Young has been an 'iron man' in the Matador outfield for the past 2 years, playing in all but 3 of the Matadors' games in 2009 and being the only Matador to participate in all 56 Matador Baseball contests this season. Young showed enough of an arm in the outfield last year that by the time the 2010 campaign started, opposing base coaches were hesitant to gamble by sending runners to extra bases. Young didn't disappoint, committing only 3 errors in 128 opportunities for a .977 fielding percentage. At the plate, the Lake Havasu, Arizona, product built up steam throughout the season, and wound up as the team's leading hitter with a .360 batting average (which was 13th-best in the ACCAC). Young also led the squad in hits (72), doubles (13), runs scored (41) and runs batted in (31). He also hit both of his 2 of his 3 home runs on the season in the same twin bill to help sweep 9th-ranked Central Arizona last Tuesday.

Tim Keller may have finished with a 6-5 overall record, but very few in the conference weren't completely aware that he was the Matadors' staff ace all season long. Keller-a native of Eugene, Oregon, sent a message to his future opponents when-in his 2nd start of the season-he no-hit the 9th-ranked team in the nation at the time, Western Nevada, for 6 2/3 innings but not getting a decision. He also fired a two-hitter against nationally ranked Yavapai in late February, and threw a one-hit shutout over Phoenix College in late March. His finest freshman moment came two weeks ago when he kept the Mats in the playoff race with his first complete-game no-hitter against Cochise College. Keller was among the league leaders in strikeouts (98, 3rd ACCAC) and earned run average (2.60, 16th ACCAC) while also leading the team in innings pitched (83), complete games (4), starts (16) and wins.

By the end of the season, though, Keller got a run for his money for the 'staff ace' title from Tyler Huffer. The Matador coaching staff knew it would take a little time for Huffer-a native of Kingman, Arizona-to adjust to the college game, but once he did, every part of his game took off. Even in limited duty at the plate, Huffer's average ballooned some 170 points in just an 8-game stretch during the season (reaching as high as .368) before he finished 5th on the team in that category at .308, with 2 doubles, 5 runs scored and a RBI in just 26 at-bats. His fielding also improved, since he played third base in the latter half of the season when he wasn't on the hill, and it was his quick thinking that snagged a line drive and subsequent quick throw to first base to pick off the lead runner and end the game, preserving Keller's no-hitter April 20th. But it was on the mound that the coaches really took notice in the latter half of the season when he was moved into the starting rotation. Huffer lasted into the 7th inning or later in 5 of his 8 starts, including going a full 9 innings in his final start last Tuesday against Central Arizona. During that time, he became the ERA leader of the Matadors' starting pitchers, and his season-ending 1.96 ERA ranked him 8th in the conference. Huffer finished with a perfect 3-0 record, allowing just 14 earned runs and 45 hits in 64 1/3 innings pitched (3rd-best on the team). He also ranked 2nd on the team with 67 strikeouts

Finally, Keller and Huffer can thank Wade Morten in part for their success, since he was their battery-mate much of the time, and when behind the plate, he threw out 44% of potential base stealers. Like Huffer, Morten-who hails from Manteca, California-had to progress to the college game gradually, but it never hurt his ability to hit opposing pitchers. Morten was among the Mats' top 5 hitters all season long, finishing with a .314 batting average, with 43 hits in 137 at-bats. He was 2nd on the team in doubles (12) and runs scored (29), 4th in RBI (20) and runs scored (43) while tied for the team lead with 3 triples. His lone homer of 2010 came April 20th against Cochise.

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