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Seven Panthers earn postseason awards, Todd Lillpop named Coach of the Year

May 17, 2022 | 12:04 am

Updated May 16, 2022 | 12:15 pm

After an 1-17 start to the season, which included being winless through the first 14 games, the head coach of the Kentucky Wesleyan College baseball team, Todd Lillpop, has been named Great Midwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, as announced by the league office on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the Panthers’ head man being recognized by the league’s coaches, seven players on the 2022 squad received All-Conference honors.
 
The Panthers returned to the Great Midwest Tournament after finishing fourth in the league this season, their eighth straight appearance to Prasco Park. Wesleyan went 26-13 after a winless start. Head Coach Todd Lillpop and the entire staff guided the Panthers through the G-MAC schedule with a 20-12 record en route to a fourth-place finish in the regular season. Wesleyan won their first two games at Prasco Park before being ousted by Walsh and Ashland on Friday.
 
In addition, Robert Chayka was selected as the Panthers’ lone representative on the First Team. Ben Wilcoxson earned Second Team honors while Seth Wright, Ike Speiser, Coy Burns, Hunter Combs and Kyle Werries were named to the Third Team.
 
Chayka led the team with a .336 average this season. He also recorded 11 doubles, one triple and nine homeruns. The Panthers’ centerfielder drove in 43 runs while scoring 53. He held a .521 slugging percentage while stealing nine of 10 bases.
 
Wilcoxson ended his five-year career with the Panthers with one impressive stat line. A career .300 hitter, the Panthers’ shortstop played in 203 games including 201 starts. He collected 199 hits with 26 doubles, four triples, and 85 RBIs. More impressively, Wilcoxson holds a career .403 on base percentage and 39 steals. This season Wilcoxson hit .305 with five doubles, one triple, and 22 RBIs. He was also sixth in the G-MAC with 19 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
 
Speiser ranked second in the league with eight saves this season. This season the right-hander appeared in 20 games, completing 23.1 innings with a 4.29 ERA and 21 strikeouts. Burns earned his way into the Panthers rotation by the season’s end, posting a 4-1 record in 13 appearances. He held a 4.63 ERA and completed 44.2 innings of work with 34 strikeouts.
 
Wright led the Panthers rotation as the game one starter. He started 12 games and posted a 6-4 record. He led the team with 61 innings of work. Wright held opponents to a .251 batting average against while recording 53 strikeouts on the season. In his final appearance of the year Wright pitched a complete game against Trevecca in the conference tournament, helping the Panthers to a 14-2 win.
 
Combs started 54 games this season and posted a .320 batting average with four doubles, five home runs, and 37 RBIs. Werries supplied the power in the Panthers’ lineup as he hit .313 with 16 doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. He drove-in 55 runs which ranks fourth in the G-MAC this season.
 
The Panthers went to the conference semifinals for the fifth straight season and finished 26-28 overall.

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May 17, 2022 | 12:04 am

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