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Six Honored at 2014 Rawlings-NAIA Hall of Fame and Awards Luncheon

January 03, 2014
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Six individuals were honored Friday (Jan. 3) afternoon at the 2014 Rawlings-NAIA Hall of Fame and Awards Luncheon at the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention in Dallas, Texas. Headlining the group was the 2013-14 NAIA Baseball Hall of Fame class consisting of Keith Lytle of Oklahoma City, Chris Schroder of Oklahoma City and Benjamin “Ben” Zobrist of Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). Additionally, the 2013 Rawlings-NAIA Player and Coach of the Year were honored, along with the presentation of the Robert E. “Ish” Smith Achievement Award.

2013-14 NAIA Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees
Keith Lytle, Oklahoma City University
Lytle has played a key role in the Stars success since joining the coaching staff in 1989. As an assistant to fellow NAIA Hall of Fame coach Denney Crabaugh, Lytle has helped guide the Stars to 12 consecutive 50-win seasons, 10 Sooner Athletic Conference titles and 12 NAIA World Series appearances, including a national title in 2005. Oklahoma City owns 1,167 victories since 1991, which is the most among NAIA baseball programs during that time. In 2003, Lytle was named the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year – an award given to outstanding assistant coaches throughout the nation on both collegiate and high school levels. He is the first Oklahoma City University Athletic Hall of Famer to spend his entire tenure at the university as an assistant coach.

Chris Schroder, Oklahoma City University
Schroder became the first two-time first team NAIA All-American for Oklahoma City after receiving the honor in 2000 and 2001. In 2001, Schroder recorded an NAIA-best 13-1 record with a 1.28 earned run average (ERA), which ranked second in the nation. The previous season, Schroder was 11-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 87.2 innings. His highlight victory of that year came in Oklahoma City’s season opener against NCAA Division I Oklahoma. Schroder was picked twice in the Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft, including a 19th round selection by the Montreal Expos in 2001. Schroder made his MLB debut with the Washington Nationals on Aug. 8, 2006 against the Florida Marlins. He earned his first big-league win the following season against the San Francisco Giants on August, 7, 2007.

Benjamin “Ben” Zobrist, Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.)
Zobrist played three seasons for Olivet Nazarene, compiling a career record of 120-39-1 with the club, including NAIA World Series appearances in 2002 and 2003. He was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, first team All-Region VII and first team NAIA All-America in 2003. Zobrist, who played shortstop, second base and pitched for the Tigers, was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2004. As a professional, Zobrist is a two-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star (2009 and 2013) and was named the Tampa Bay Rays Most Valuable Player by the Tampa Bay, Fla., Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 2009. He has also played in one MLB World Series (2008) and represented the United States in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

2014 Robert E. “Ish” Smith Achievement Award
Lou Yacinich, Grand View University (Iowa)
Yacinich has served as the head baseball coach at Grand View for 39 years – the longest tenure among active NAIA coaches – and owns a career record of 1,024 – 717 (.589) with the Vikings, which ranks fifth on the active coaching wins list. He is one of only 15 NAIA coaches all-time to record more than 1,000 victories. Yacinich has led the Vikings to three NAIA World Series appearances, three NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Rounds, seven Midwest Collegiate Conference Championships and eight District 15 crowns. He is a member of the NAIA Baseball Hall of Fame, ABCA Hall of Fame, Grand View Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

2013 Rawlings-NAIA Player of the Year
Matt Page, Oklahoma Baptist University
Page, a native of Redwood City, Calif., led the NAIA in RBI with 85, while ranking second in home runs (15) and total bases (147), fifth in slugging percentage (.707) and 16th in doubles (20). The junior first baseman started all 63 games for Oklahoma Baptist last year. Page paced the squad in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.385) and hits (80). His previously mentioned national rankings were also team highs. Page recorded 27 multi-hit games, including a string of four-straight from April 21 to 25. Defensively, he owned a .981 fielding percentage, committing only six errors in 311 chances. Page is the second Oklahoma Baptist player to earn the honor since the award began in 1983.

2013 Rawlings-NAIA National Coach of the Year
Patrick McCarthy, Faulkner University (Ala.)
McCarthy, who competed his fourth season at Faulkner in 2013, guided the Eagle baseball program to its first-ever Avista-NAIA World Series championship. The Eagles, who compiled a program-best 56-11 record en route to the national championship crown, showcased one of the NAIA’s most prolific offenses, leading the NAIA in runs scored (549), RBI (480) and stolen bases (198). Additionally, Faulkner’s lineup ranked in the top 10 in at bats (2,110), hits (677), doubles (121), slugging percentage (.465) and triples (20). The pitching staff was third nationally in strikeouts (472), fifth in earned run average (2.64) and seventh in opponent batting average (.227).

2013 Rawlings-NAIA Regional Coaches of the Year
East Region – Randy Stegall, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.)
Mid-Atlantic Region – Patrick McCarthy, Faulkner University (Ala.)
West Region – Monte Brooks, The Master’s College (Calif.)
Mid-South Region – Jeremy Kennedy, Northwood University (Texas)
Southeast Region – Eddie Uschold, Missouri Baptist University
South Region – Mark Brew, Lee University (Tenn.)
Plains Region – Ron Bradley, Rogers State University (Okla.)
Southwest Region – Adrian Dinkel, Sterling College (Kan.)
Midwest Region – Nick Harlan, York College (Neb.)

Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

For more information on NAIA baseball, click here.