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2014 Spalding® NJCAA Baseball Players of the Year announced
 June 5, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The NJCAA national office announced the 2014 Spalding® NJCAA Baseball Pitchers and Defensive Players of the Year Thursday.

Pitcher of the Year honors were presented to Hutchinson (Kan.) sophomore Kyle Simonds, Mercer County (N.J.) sophomore Heath Fillmyer and Tyler (Texas) freshman Daniel Brown. Garden City (Kan.) sophomore shortstop Tyler Alitz, Jones County (Miss.) sophomore catcher Tyler Graves and Cumberland County (N.J.) sophomore center fielder Jordan Glover received Defensive Player of the Year accolades.

Selections are made by each division’s respective committee. For more information, please visit www.njcaa.org.  

NJCAA Division I Pitcher of the Year
Kyle Simonds – Hutchinson (RHP / So.)

With the best record across all three divisions of NJCAA baseball, Kyle Simonds was undefeated during the 2014 season and claimed a win in all 13 of his starts for the Blue Dragons. The right-hander totaled 94 innings on the mound where he boasted a 2.30 ERA and ranked sixth in the country with 103 strikeouts. Simonds ranked second in the land with nine complete-game performances, including three shutouts – two of which came in nine-inning games. The freshman became the only first-team All-American in Hutchinson baseball history after setting new single-season school records for wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. Simonds is headed to Texas A&M where he will play in the Southeastern Conference next season.

NJCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year
Tyler Alitz – Garden City (SS / So.)

Utilizing his exceptional range and athleticism in the middle infield, Tyler Alitz put his defensive skill on display for Garden City in 2014. In 277 total chances during the season, the shortstop tallied 88 putouts and ranked fourth in the nation with 175 assists. Alitz also showcased his ability to turn two with 13 double plays on the year. The sophomore compiled a .949 fielding percentage after falling victim to 14 errors. Honored for his defensive efforts earlier in the week, Alitz was one of nine DI players to receive an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award®. Alitz signed a letter of intent last month to continue his collegiate baseball career at Morehead State in 2015 but sadly perished in car wreck a week later. 

NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year
Heath Fillmyer – Mercer County (RHP / So.)

Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 28th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Heath Fillmyer opted to return to Mercer County in 2014. The right-hander saw that decision payoff with a phenomenal season for the Vikings. In 66 innings pitched, Fillmyer amassed a 0.68 ERA which was lowest in the DII ranks and placed third across all three divisions of NJCAA baseball. His nine wins in 10 starts ranked 12th in the nation and a 9-0 record made him one of only two pitchers to reach nine wins without a loss. Fillmyer ranked third in the nation with 94 strikeouts and 12.82 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. After improving his draft stock with a fantastic sophomore campaign, Fillmyer is projected to go in the top 10 rounds of this week’s MLB First-Year Player Draft. 

NJCAA Division II Defensive Player of the Year
Tyler Graves – Jones County (C / So.)

Tyler Graves’ presence behind the plate was a game changer for the Jones County during the 2014 season as the Bobcats went 46-11 with a runner-up finish in Region 23. Gunning down 27 base runners during the season, Graves compiled a 35.5 runners caught stealing percentage. Ranking seventh in the country with 415 total chances, the sophomore catcher also ranked seventh in putouts with 385 on the year. Graves added 28 assists and three double plays to his 2014 numbers. Giving up just two errors on the year, he accumulated a team-high .995 fielding percentage. Following two seasons at Jones County, Graves will continue his collegiate baseball career next season at the NCAA DII level when he joins the Statesman of Delta State. 

NJCAA Division III Pitcher of the Year
Daniel Brown – Tyler (LHP / Fr.)

Despite making seven of his 13 starts against DI opponents – and two more against DII top 10 program LSU Eunice – Tyler freshman Daniel Brown was sensational on the mound in his first season of college baseball. At 10-1, the freshman finished with the best record in the country and was one of only three DIII pitchers to reach the 10-win mark. Brown overcame the Apaches’ tough schedule to compile a 1.76 ERA and baffled hitters with 87 strikeouts on the year – second most in the nation. The left-hander gave up just 36 hits in 71 and two-thirds innings of work in 2014. After just one season at the two-year level, Brown will join DI Pitcher of the Year Kyle Simonds in the SEC next year where he will suit up for Mississippi State.

NJCAA Division III Defensive Player of the Year
Jordan Glover – Cumberland County (CF / So.)

Patrolling centerfield for Cumberland County in 2014, Jordan Glover was a ball hawk for the Dukes this year. With a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, Glover failed to give up an error in 126 total chances during the 2014 season. The sophomore racked up 122 putouts and four assists as the Dukes enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in their program’s history. Behind his stellar play, Cumberland County finished the year with a 49-10 record, the Region 19 championship and a runner-up finish at the NJCAA DIII World Series where Glover was one of 12 players named to the all-tournament team. Continuing his collegiate baseball career next season, Glover will move up to the NCAA DI level to play for the Delaware Blue Hens.

About Spalding®
A Division of Russell Brands, LLC, Spalding is the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world, and America’s first baseball company.  Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA, the official baseball of the Little League World Series and the official volleyball of King of the Beach.  In addition to being the leading producer and marketer of basketballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls, Spalding produces softballs under the Dudley brand. The SPALDING® and DUDLEY® trademarks are owned by Russell Brands, LLC.  For more information, visit www.spalding.com.

Photos courtesy of Hutchinson Athletics, Brad Nading/Garden City Telegram, Susan Glasgow Photography, Donna Black/Special to JCJC, TJC Athletics and Press of Atlantic City.

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