ABCA All-Mideast Region Awards
Kyle Niermann and Tyler Stephenson named All-Mideast Region by ABCA
May 23, 2012
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Bluffton University junior Kyle Niermann (Napoleon) and senior Tyler Stephenson (Springfield/Northwestern) were recently named All-Mideast Region by the ABCA for their outstanding work on the diamond this season. They are the fifth and sixth Beavers to be named All-Region in the past seven seasons. Riordan McClain and Tony Moore were both selected to the second team in 2006. Tim Kay was recognized in 2007 and Nick Broyles was one of the 15 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference players named All-Mideast Region a season ago.
Niermann earned Second Team All-Mideast Region honors and he was also Bluffton's first baseball player to win the ABCA/Rawlings Mideast Region Gold Glove Award after finishing with a spotless 1.000 fielding percentage and three outfield assists to go along with 91 putouts. Stephenson was a Third Team All-Mideast Region selection.
Michael Tucker (Anderson), Bryce Murphy (Manchester), Nathan Ellis (Franklin) and Corey Marchant (Manchester), the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, were all named to the First Team All-Mideast Region for their efforts in 2012. Senior shortstop Tim Saunders (Marietta) and senior hurler Austin Blaski (Marietta) were named Mideast Player of the Year and Mideast Pitcher of the Year, respectively, by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Earning his third straight All-HCAC honor was junior Kyle Niermann. He was named first team for the second consecutive season after being a second team selection as a freshman. Niermann equaled his own school record with 178 at bats and his 66 hits were just two off his Bluffton record 68 safeties in 2011. His 41 runs scored are third all-time while his 13 doubles and four triples placed him in the top 10 all-time for a single season. Niermann racked up 102 total bases (fourth all-time) and he also tied the school record with 40 games played and 40 starts this season. He hit .371 with a team-best .573 slugging percentage to go along with 31 RBI from his leadoff position.
Niermann stands eighth all-time with a .375 career batting average following his junior campaign. He is in position to make Stephenson's stay at the top of the all-time hits list a short one, having surpassed former leaders Buckingham and Moore in just three seasons. Niermann is already third on the list with 177 hits, trailing 2012 graduates Stephenson (215) and Broyles (192). His 105 runs scored are fifth all-time, while his 249 total bases (fourth), seven triples (tied for fourth) and 88 RBI (tied for sixth) are all in the top 10. Niermann is tied for third in doubles with former record-holder John Holzwart (34) and his 18 stolen bases are tied for 14th all-time. A perfect 1.000 fielding percentage that included three assists this season helped him move into 10th place all-time (.988).
Wrapping up us his career with another monster season at plate was all-time hits leader Tyler Stephenson who was named First Team All-Heartland Conference for the first time in his career after a pair of honorable mention selections the past two seasons. He equaled the Bluffton single-season record with 40 games played and 40 starts this year. Stephenson's 20 doubles also established a new school mark for a season. He finished 2012 with 62 safeties, tied for fourth all-time and the third straight season Stephenson eclipsed 50 hits. His 162 at-bats are the fifth-highest total in school history while his 90 total bases are sixth all-time. Stephenson also drove in 32 runs, scored 26 times and led the Beavers with a .383 batting average.
Stephenson made an even larger imprint on the career record books, starting with his school-record 215 hits. He shattered the previous mark of 168 hits held by Brad Buckingham and Tony Moore. His school-best 52 doubles left John Holzwart's previous record 34 two-baggers in the dust as well. He stands second to fellow graduating senior Nick Broyles with 151 games played and 148 career starts. Stephenson and Broyles stand one-two in career at bats with 595 and 574, respectively. He crossed the plate 116 times (third all-time) while his 127 RBI and 323 total bases left him trailing just Broyles in the career records. The third baseman pounded 14 homers, placing him in a tie for fourth all-time. Defensively, Stephenson ended his career third with 278 assists and tied for ninth with 25 double plays.