Bethel's Rowley, St. Thomas duo headline 2012 MIAC Baseball Awards

Bethel's Matt Rowley
Bethel's Matt Rowley
Bethel's Matt Rowley

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The 2012 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) baseball season saw dramatically improved weather from a season ago, but the product on the field continued to be first-rate, with numerous highlights, unforgettable games and standout performances. Tuesday, the conference honored the best from an outstanding spring with the announcement of the 2012 MIAC Baseball Awards.

Conference-champion St. Thomas, which nearly completed a perfect run through the MIAC with a 19-1 record, took home two of the four top individual awards, as Dylan Thomas was named the 2012 MIAC Mike Augustin Pitcher-of-the-Year, and UST Head Coach Chris Olean was named the 2012 MIAC Jim Dimick Coach-of-the-Year. Bethel's Matt Rowley was honored for his incredible season with the 2012 MIAC Max Molock Most Valuable Player award, and Gustavus freshman Grant Soderberg was selected as the 2012 MIAC Rookie-of-the-Year.

Rowley's numbers as either a hitter or a pitcher would have been All-Conference worthy in 2012, but the fact he excelled so mightily in both areas made him the league's MVP. The Royals' junior ranked in the top five in nearly every major hitting and pitching statistical category, including first in batting (.427), hits (61), total bases (91), on-base percentage (.494), innings pitched (80.0) and starts (12) in overall games. He was even better in conference play, leading the league in average (.493), hits (36), doubles (10), total bases (49), slugging percentage (.671) and innings pitched (42.1).

On the mound, Rowley was Bethel's ace and one of the best in the league, going 4-2 with a 1.91 ERA in conference play (2.47 overall ERA). He was a triple-crown contender as the league's leader in average, third in RBI (36) and tied for fifth in home runs (four). To top it off, Rowley racked up a .989 fielding percentage on the mound and in centerfield, making just one error in 89 chances. This is Rowley's first All-MIAC honor, and the league's MVP led the Royals to a spot in the conference postseason tournament in 2012.

Thomas was a similar all-around contributor to the Tommies' immense success in 2012, and his work on the mound earned him top pitching honors in the MIAC this season. Thomas settled into UST's dynamic rotation this season, going 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA overall, with just 47 hits and 16 walks allowed in 59.0 innings pitched. he struck out 64 batters and opponents hit just .214 off him with four complete games, two shutouts and two saves. Thomas didn't allow a home run in the regular season.

In conference play, Thomas was even better as UST's ace. In four starts he was a perfect 4-0 with an ERA of 0.93, which led all MIAC starters. He struck out 34 in 29.0 innings (10.55 Ks per nine) and allowed just 22 base runners (16 hits, six walks). Thomas went the distance in three of his four MIAC starts with two shutouts and opponents hit just .167 against Thomas in conference play.

Gustavus' Soderberg was named the league's top rookie after he emerged as the Gusties' ace in 2012, going 3-5 with a 3.51 ERA and just nine walks against 46 strikeouts. He went the distance in five of his eight starts and always had Gustavus in the game. In conference play he was third in strikeouts (35), fourth in innings pitched (39.0 and ninth in opponent's average (.247) while throwing four complete games in six starts. Soderberg peaked at the right time, dealing St. Thomas its only MIAC loss of the season in his final start, allowing just one earned run on four hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in the 9-3 victory over UST.

Olean received his first MIAC coaching honor in 2012 in just his third season as the Tommies' head coach. UST had a remarkable regular season, going 19-1 to claim the MIAC regular-season championship and earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division III Midwest Region with a 34-8 overall record. Olean's club set a new school record with a 21-game winning streak from March 23 to April 29, and his team led the MIAC in hitting (.314) and ranked second in pitching (3.04 ERA). Olean coached the MIAC Pitcher-of-the-Year in Thomas, as well as seven All-MIAC selections and three All-Defensive team picks this year. The 2012 UST team led the conference in hits, runs, RBI, runs allowed, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.

The regular-season champion Tommies led the way with seven All-Conference selections. The runner-up and MIAC Playoff champ Saint John's was next with five selections, and the league's other two postseason teams - Bethel and Saint Mary's - each had two players honored. Hamline, Macalester and Concordia each placed two players on the team and Augsburg, Gustavus and Carleton had one representative apiece. The All-Conference team featured eight seniors, 10 juniors, eight sophomores and one freshman.

Seven of the 27 players honored has previously been named All-MIAC in their careers. St. Thomas third baseman Charles Bruchureceived his third-straight selection in 2010, and Bethel catcher Jay Slick is also a three-time honoree with All-Conference awards in as a sophomore (2010) and freshman (2009). Hamline's Jordan Buck, St. Thomas' Bryce Gapinski and Macaleter's Robbie Williams all received their second-straight All-MIAC nod, while Saint John's Hayden Zimmerman returns to the squad after earning All-Conference honors in 2010, and Carleton's Alex Wirta bookended his career with the honor as a freshman and a senior.


For the third-straight season, the MIAC coaches selected an All-Defensive team to reward one player's great work with the glove at each position, including a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. Honorees were chosen for their arm strength and range, as well as defensive statistics from the conference season. St. Thomas led the way again with three selections, while Concordia and Bethel each had two and Saint John's, Bethel and Augsburg had one each. All 10 members of the All-Defensive team are making their first appearance on the squad as there were no repeat selections from 2011.


As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the sixth-annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for baseball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.

2012 MIAC Baseball Awards

Max Molock Most Valuable Player - Matt Rowley, Bethel (Jr., Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins)

Mike Augustin Pitcher-of-the-Year - Dylan Thomas, St. Thomas (Jr., Lakeville, Minn./North)

Rookie-of-the-Year - Grant Soderberg, Gustavus (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.)

Jim Dimick Coach-of-the-Year - Chris Olean, St. Thomas (3rd season)

2012 MIAC All-Conference Team

Name  Team  Year  Position  Hometown/High School 
Andrew Block Gustavus Jr. IF Rochester, Minn./Mayo
Charles Bruchu St. Thomas Sr. 3B Lake Elmo, Minn./Hill-Murray
Jordan Buck Hamline Jr. DH/OF Apple Valley, Minn.
Adam Carl Augsburg So. SS Eagan, Minn.
Connor Cline Saint John's Jr. P/IF Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson
Dan Ellefson Hamline Jr. 3B/RHP Burnsville, Minn.
Buddy Flaherty Bethel Sr. P Victoria, Minn./Southwest Christian
Kevin Gannon Saint Mary's So. 1B Roselle, Ill., St. Viator
Bryce Gapinski St. Thomas Sr. P Foley, Minn.
Dylan Graves Saint John's So. OF/P Mora, Minn.
Jon Kinsel St. Thomas Jr. SS St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Durham Hall
Tim Kuzniar St. Thomas So. OF Lakeville, Minn./North
Paul LaNasa Saint Mary's So. 2B Mahtomedi, Minn.
Joe Long Saint John's Jr. IF/P Rockford, Ill./Rockford Boylan
Steve Maher St. Thomas So. P Richfield, Minn./Holy Angels
Nick Meerson Macalester Sr. P Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake
Michael Olson Concordia Jr. OF Monticello, Minn.
Ben Podibinski St. Thomas Fr. OF Roseville, Minn.
Braden Rahman Concordia So. SS Moorhead, Minn.
Matt Rowley Bethel Jr.  OF/P Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins
Jon Schlemmer Saint Mary's So. DH/1B DePere, Wis./DePere West
Jay Slick Bethel Sr. C River Falls, Wis.
Ryan Spengler Saint John's Jr. P St. Cloud, Minn./Tech
Dylan Thomas St. Thomas Jr. DH/P Lakeville, Minn./North
Robert Williams Macalester Sr. C West Covina, Calif./Northview
Alex Wirta Carleton Sr. IF Corte Madera, Calif./Redwood
Hayden Zimmerman Saint John's Sr. P New Richmond, Wis.

2012 MIAC All-DefensiveTeam

Name  Team  Year  Position  Hometown/High School 
Brian Guler Concordia Sr. 1B  Rockford, N.D.
Nick Kulla St. Olaf So. 2B  Lakeville, Minn./North
Charles Bruchu St. Thomas Sr. 3B  Lake Elmo, Minn./Hill-Murray
Jon Kinsel St. Thomas Sr. SS  St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall
Matt Rowley Bethel Jr. OF Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins
Michael Olson Concordia Jr. OF  Monticello, Minn.
Chris Paradise St. Olaf So. OF  Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville
J.D. Dorgan St. Thomas So. Eagan, Minn.
Hayden Zimmerman Saint John's Sr. SP New Richmond, Wis.
Tanner Oakes Augsburg Fr. RP Jordan, Minn.


2012 All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team

Augsburg - Bobby Monsour (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Roseville)
Bethel - Matt Rowley (Jr., Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins)
Carleton - Paul Dimick (Sr., Northfield, Minn.)
Concordia - Erik Stoa (Sr., Highland Village, Tex./Marcus)
Gustavus - Erik Sveen (Sr., Excelsior, Minn./Minnetonka)
Hamline - Dylan Olson (Sr., Richfield, Minn/DMACC)
Macalester - David Melms (Jr., Wauwatosa, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran)
Saint John's - Ben Moen (Sr., Rochester, Minn./John Marshall)
Saint Mary's - Teddy VanRanst (Jr., St. Paul, Minn./Highland Park)
St. Olaf - Nick Kulla (So., Lakeville, Minn./North)
St. Thomas - Charles Bruchu (Sr., Lake Elmo, Minn./Hill-Murray)