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Seven Larks named to Jayhawk League first team

By The Hays Daily News

The Hays Larks landed seven on the Jayhawk League first team, and boasted the Most Outstanding Pitcher and Most Valuable Player.

The all-league team was released Tuesday.

Left-hander Chandler Hawkins, of Arkansas State University, was named the top pitcher, while Clayton Garland, a senior at Fort Hays State University, was named the top player.

The Larks were 35-13 overall and finished 23-10 in league play for their second consecutive league title.

Hawkins finished 7-2 with a 2.11 earned-run average in 11 appearances (nine starts). He struck out 69 with 19 walks and allowed just 15 earned runs in 64 innings. Only starter Nick Goza, also named to the first team, pitched more innings with 68. Goza finished 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA.

Garland, the team's second-leading hitter among players with at least 30 games played, batted .352 and was second on the team with 38 RBIs. He also finished 11 of 14 in stolen base attempts.

Also named to the first team: Aaron Cornell, Jake Placzek, David Owen and Ty Gilmore.

Cornell, who was Jayhawk Player of the Year in 2011, was in the mix again. Cornell batted a team-best .373 among players with at least 30 games. He missed time early in the season due to injury. Cornell collected 33 RBIs and five home runs, two triples and nine doubles.

Placzek, who finished 26 of 27 to lead Hays in stolen bases, batted .345 -- third best among those with at least 30 games played. He recorded a team-best 16 doubles with two home runs. He also had 25 RBIs.

Gilmore batted .304, and was tied with Zair Koeiman for the most games played with 45. Gilmore drove in 24 runs, and drew 29 walks, second best on the team behind Placzek (37).

Owen, the Larks' primary closer, recorded six saves in 22 appearances with a 0.61 ERA and 2-1 record. He pitched 29.1 innings with 29 strikeouts to seven walks, and allowed just two earned runs.

The Larks also had three players named to the second team in catcher/DH Taylor Petersen, Koeiman, and relief pitcher Ian Bentley.

Petersen was hot early for the Larks, and finished the season batting .297 with 37 RBIs, eight doubles and seven homers (tied for the team lead). Koeiman also recorded seven homers, batting .303 with 11 doubles and two triples.

Bentley made 19 appearances with no starts, and earned a 3-1 record with a 2.37 ERA in 30.1 innings.