Richter tabbed : Eight Pointers pick up All-WIAC honors
For the Gazette
MADISON – UW-Stevens Point head baseball coach Nat Richter was selected as the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Coach of the Year, highlighting a litany of honors bestowed by the league on May 26. The Pointers landed Bradley Comer (Rhinelander), Sidney Ferry (Paw Paw), Payton Nelson (Wausau) and Aaron Simmons (Franklin) on the All-WIAC first team. Pitchers Nick Carpenter (Lake Mills), Zack Haupt (Carlsbad), Casey Pickering (Naperville) and JD Schultz (Stevens Point) were named to the honorable mention team. UWSP’s Lucas Luedtke (River Falls) pocketed WIAC All-Sportsmanship team honors.
Richter led the Pointers to a 32-11 record in his first season at the helm, the most wins since 2015 and the best winning percentage since 2011. He becomes the fourth UWSP recipient of the Coach of the Year honor and just the second in league history to win the award in his first season. Richter’s team hit 57 home runs, second most in the nation this season, and the pitching staff allowed just 99 walks, the second fewest in program history.
Comer grabs his first league honor after leading UWSP with a .372 batting average this season. He belted 11 home runs, hit 15 doubles, with 46 RBI, 40 runs scored and a .663 slugging percentage. Comer had 21 multi-hit games this season, including seven three-hit performances.
Ferry also picks up his first conference honor. He went 3-0 with a 1.53 earned run average and nine saves, the second-most in program history. Opposing batters hit a dismal .163 on the year, the lowest batting average against any league hurler with more than 10 appearances. He posted nearly a strikeout per inning with 26 strikeouts in 29.1 frames. Ferry walked just three hitters all season.
Nelson racks up his third career first-team selection with honors in 2018 and 2019 as well. This year, Nelson batted .364 with a team-high 50 runs batted in. He was third on the team with nine home runs and 13 doubles. Nelson posted 18 multi-hit games, including a career-best five hit performance against UW-Platteville on May 12. He was named WIAC Athlete of the Week for the week of May 10-16.
Simmons snags his second first-team honor after receiving the award in 2019. He led the Pointers with 13 home runs this season and drove in 49 runs, second on the team. His 16 doubles and 51 runs scored were also team highs. Simmons hit five triples this year, the third most in program history, and became the career leader in UWSP history with 14. This season, Simmons drove in four or more runs in six different games, including six-RBI performances at UW-La Crosse (April 17) and against UW-Eau Claire (May 1). Simmons ended the year on an eight-game hitting streak and reached base safely in the final 21. He was named WIAC Athlete of the Week for the week of April 12-18.
Carpenter gets his first league award. He went 5-2 with a 4.75 earned runs average in 11 appearances. He tossed 47.1 innings on the year, second on the team. His 45 strikeouts were also second on the team. He posted a season-high 14 strikeouts in 6.0 innings against Finlandia in the home opener, part of a combined no-hitter by the Pointers.
Haupt also pockets his first league honor. He went 2-2 with 22 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. During league play, he was 1-0 with a 3.24 earned run average with 11 strikeouts in 16.2 frames.
Pickering earns his first league laurel as well. He went 5-3 in 10 starts with a team-high 54.2 innings pitched. He struck out 41, third-most on the team. All five of his victories were during league action. During conference play, he struck out 36 with just two walks allowed.
Schultz lands his first conference honor also. He went 4-0 in eight starts with a 3.63 earned run average, third-best on the team. He struck out a team-high 67 batters on the season, fifth-most in the league. Schultz had a season-high 14 strikeouts in the home opener win over Finlandia. One of two double-digit strikeout performances on the year.
Luedtke nabs all-sportsmanship honors after starting in 42 games this season. He hit .250 with seven home runs, 33 RBI and 24 runs scored. Luedtke led the Pointers with 32 walks on the year. He also had the longest streak of reaching base at 23 this season.
The Pointers reached the WIAC Tournament championship game before falling to eventual champion UWW. UWSP led the league in home runs, innings pitched, saves, fewest walks and putouts.