By: Brandon Vickrey
Chicago, Ill. – Aug. 28, 2017 – The Midwest Collegiate League released its 2017 all-league team on Monday, honoring 14 players based on their performance during the league’s regular season.
The team is headlined by Bloomington Bobcats outfielder Jack Butler (Illinois State / Downs, Ill.), who posted a .425 average to go along with a robust .561 slugging percentage, 68 hits, 30 RBIs and 36 runs scored to help the Bobcats reach the MCL Championship Series as a second-year league member. Earlier this month, Butler was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
One Bobcat teammate joins Butler with all-league honors, as Nick Brune (Illinois Wesleyan / Mundelein, Ill.) receives a nod as one of three all-league starting pitchers. He logged 45 2/3 innings, posting a 2.30 ERA while appearing in nine games and making six starts this summer.
The league-champion Southland Vikings, who became the first team in MCL history to notch a third league title, have two representatives from their starting pitching staff on the squad. Kevin Glynn (South Suburban / Chicago, Ill.) was named the league’s pitcher of the year after making 11 starts and compiling a 1.72 ERA to go along with 50 strikeouts and a 6-2 record in 69 innings. Southland’s Hunter Kraynak (South Suburban / Portage, Ind.) is also an all-league honoree after tossing 56 1/3 innings and posting a 1.99 ERA to go along with a 5-2 record.
After winning a share of the MCL regular season title and entering the postseason as the No. 1 seed for the first time in franchise history, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen have three all-league players. Rory Gard (Trinity Christian / Schererville, Ind.), named the MCL Reliever of the Year earlier this month, also collected this honor. He made 16 appearances and nailed down four saves, striking out 11 in 20 innings. He limited opponents to a .203 average and shattered the team’s ERA record with a 0.41 mark.
Richard Yelnick (Trinity Christian / New Lenox, Ill.) also nailed down a spot on the all-league team courtesy of his 1.39 ERA in 26 innings with the Oilmen. He struck out 24 and issued just five walks. Outfielder Amir Wright (Saint Leo / Griffith, Ind.) is on the all-league team after making a splash in his first season with the Oilmen and second in the MCL. He posted a slash line of .352/.484/.488, belted one home run and drove in 25.
The DuPage County Hounds won a share of the MCL regular season title and were the No. 2 seed in the postseason by virtue of losing the head-to-head season series with the Oilmen. They have two members on the all-league squad in shortstop Joe Stewart (Michigan State / Portage, Mich.) and outfielder Tristan Welch (Louisiana State-Eunice / Baton Rouge, La.). Welch slugged seven home runs and racked up an eye-popping 52 RBIs while hitting .298 with a .372 OBP and .503 slugging. Stewart enjoyed a .337 average to go along with one homer and 29 RBIs.
The Joliet Admirals placed four on the all-league squad – catcher Sean Arnold (Incarnate Word / Bryan, Texas), second baseman Ben Zordani (St. Xavier / New Lenox, Ill.), pitcher Mikey Rivera (Denison / Chicago, Ill.) and third baseman Ranko Stevanovic (Southern Illinois / Chicago, Ill.). Arnold batted .384 and drove in 17 in 40 games, while Zordani posted a .298 average and Stevanovic checked in at .366 with 24 RBIs. Rivera finished the year with a 1.71 ERA in 12 games, 10 in relief.
First-year league member Crestwood had one all-league representative, first baseman Brady West (Illinois Wesleyan / Rockford, Ill.). He paced the Panthers with a .271 average and 15 RBIs.
The Midwest Collegiate League is entering its ninth season in existence in 2018. Numerous players have gone on to play professionally after honing their skills in the MCL, including St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tony Cingrani and 2016 Milwaukee Brewers first-round draft pick Corey Ray.
2017 MCL All-League Team
C-Sean Arnold (Joliet Admirals)
1B- Brady West (Crestwood Panthers)
2B-Ben Zordani (Joliet Admirals)
SS-Joe Stewart (DuPage County Hounds)
3B-Ranko Stevanovic (Joliet Admirals)
OF-Tristan Welch (DuPage County Hounds)
OF-Amir Wright (Northwest Indiana Oilmen)
OF-Jack Butler (Bloomington Bobcats)
SP- Hunter Kraynak (Southland Vikings)
SP- Kevin Glynn (Southland Vikings)
SP-Nick Brune (Bloomington Bobcats)
RP-Mikey Rivera (Joliet Admirals)
RP-Richard Yelnick (Northwest Indiana Oilmen)
RP-Rory Gard (Northwest Indiana Oilmen)
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