KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the 2017 Baseball All-America Teams as selected by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association All-America Committee. The University of Northwestern Ohio was one of five programs which boasted multiple individuals on the All-America teams with three Racers selected: Damon Proctor, Jeff Cardenas and Kyle Fisher.
Fisher, a junior from London, was named to the Honorable Mention team. He joined Cardenas as the other everyday UNOH player on an All-American squad, he started every game in centerfield. He was a major threat in the leadoff position as his hybrid offense of power and speed made him a difficult out. He hit .336 while leading the NAIA with 1.55 runs scored per game and ranked second with 87 total runs. Fisher also showcased his speed by going a perfect 37-for-37 on stolen base attempts. He also ripped nine home runs, 16 doubles and had six triples.
Fisher who spent the season hitting in the leadoff spot, a role that was new to him, but seemingly perfect for his skill set.
“It’s been an adjustment, the approach is a lot different,” Fisher said. “As the leadoff hitter I’m trying to see as many pitches as I can so I can pass the information on to my teammates.
“As the leadoff man, it’s all about finding a way to get on base.”
Earning recognition as one of the best NAIA players in America is something the London-native didn’t necessarily set out to do, but knew he had the ability to play well.
“This was a season of a lot of ups and downs, but a few more ups than downs,” Fisher said. “I always knew I had it in me to do this well, it’s just now starting to come out.
“It’s truly a family atmosphere here. I’ve been here for four years and have watched this program grow. I’m glad I’ve been a part of it.”
Fisher said he will take the summer off from playing ball, will take classes and get himself ready for his senior season.
Proctor, a senior right-handed pitcher from Cheboygan, Mich., leads the way for the Racers as the program’s first-ever First Team selection. The honor follows a 2017 season which saw Proctor go 13-0 on the mound as the first UNOH pitcher to exceed 100 innings pitched, 100 strikeouts, and 10 victories in a single season. He also pitched the program’s first perfect game and no-hitter against Union (Ky.) College on Feb. 11. Proctor’s 13 victories led all NAIA pitchers. He also ranked in the top five in ERA (1.50), total innings pitched (114.0), opponent batting average (.187), and hits allowed per nine innings (6.0).
Cardenas follows as UNOH’s first Second Team honoree after a standout season as the Racers’ everyday shortstop. The Fort Wayne, Ind. native was one of two players to play in and start each of the team’s 56 contests while leading the squad at the plate with a .410 batting average. His 87 hits and 70 RBIs are both single-season records for the Racers. In his final at-bat as a Racer, Cardenas ripped a solo home run to become the second Racer to hit 10 long balls in one season. His longest hitting streak was 16 games while he ended his career having reached base in 39 consecutive contests.
As a team UNOH was 44-12 this season, but had it’s season end with two untimely losses in the opening round of the NAIA tournament.
“I felt we had a strong season, it just ended before we wanted it to,” Fisher said.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports. The University of Northwestern Ohio athletic department contributed to this story.