By Hutchinson CC Sports Information
HUTCHINSON – Hutchinson Community College sophomore third baseman Ben McLaughlin earned four postseason honors and led a group of eight Blue Dragon Baseball players to garner Jayhawk Conference and/or Region VI awards on the 2022 teams, which were announced on Tuesday.
McLaughlin earned first-team All-KJCCC and first-team All-Region VI honors as well as a Region VI Gold Glove award and being named the 2022 Region VI Defensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore outfielder Sterling Sutcliffe was named to the all-KJCCC first team and was voted second-team All-Region VI.
Sophomore pitcher Jack Whitlock was named second team all-conference. Sophomore second baseman Hunter Gotreaux , freshman first baseman Ryan Henderson , sophomore designated hitter Braedyn Sommer and sophomore outfielder Jack Torosian were named all-KJCCC honorable mention. Freshman center fielder Kael Babin earned a Region VI Gold Glove.
BEN McLAUGHLIN – Def. Player of the Year; Region VI Gold Glove; 1st-team All-KJCCC/All-Region VI
McLaughlin is the first Blue Dragon to be named Region VI Defensive Player of the Year, while he and Babin are the first regional Gold Glove winners since Shane Cooper in 2017.
The sophomore from Golden, Colorado, started the season at first base and then moved to third base on March 24. He committed no errors at third base over the final 32 games of the regular season and had just two errors at the hot corner all season long.
The University of Arkansas commit fielded .986 this season with only three errors in 222 fielding chances this season.
McLaughlin was the Blue Dragon undisputed offensive leader this season, hitting .411 (88 of 214) with 19 home runs and 83 RBIs. He also had 23 doubles and posted a .511 on-base percentage with team highs of 34 walks and 13 hit-by-pitches.
McLaughlin ranked third in RBIs, tied for fourth in home runs, fourth in hits, tied for second in doubles and is tied for ninth in runs score in Blue Dragon single-season history.
In conference games this season, McLaughlin hit .431 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, 50 total hits and 39 RBIs with 23 walks. He fielded .991 in 32 KJCCC games this season.
McLaughlin had a 16-game and 13-game hitting streak this season. He had 29 multi-hit games (17 two-hit games and 12 three-hit games) and 23 multi-RBI games this season.
McLaughlin was named the NJCAA National Player of the Week on May 11, going 11 for 16 with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs in a four-game series against Dodge City.
McLaughlin is a two-time first-team All-KJCCC selection.
STERLING SUTCLIFFE – 1st-team All-KJCCC; 2nd-team All-Region VI
A sophomore from Dallas, Texas, Sterling Sutcliffe turned around an extremely slow start to the 2022 season. Hitting just .069 on March 9, Sutcliffe hit .320 for the remainder of the season and had a power surge that led him to tie McLaughlin for the team home run lead.
Sutcliffe finished hitting .280 for the season. (51 for 182) with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs.
Sutcliffe had two stretches with home runs in four consecutive games. The Blue Dragon right-fielder tied a Hutchinson single-game record with three home runs and had eight RBIs – second most in Blue Dragon single-game history – against Colby on April 23. That game was part of a torrid six-game stretch where Sutcliffe was 12 for 20 (.600) with six home runs and 22 RBIs.
Sutcliffe’s longest hitting streak this season was 11 games.
JACK WHITLOCK – 2nd-team All-KJCCC
Jack Whitlock quickly assumed the No. 1 spot in the weekend rotation for the Blue Dragons. The right-hander from Cumming, Georgia, posted an 8-3 record with a 4.04 ERA this season.
Over a team-high 78 innings pitched, Whitlock allowed 82 hits, 41 runs and 22 walks with 44 strikeouts this season. Whitlock posted a record of 5-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight Jayhawk West starts. He also earned one postseason victory, defeating Fort Scott in the opening game of the Region VI opening-round series on May 11.
Perhaps Whitlock’s best single game of the season came on April at Seward County. Whitlock allowed just one unearned run and only five hits over seven innings as the Blue Dragons rallied with two runs in the top of the seventh for a 2-1 victory on April 1.
Whitlock also had a complete-game victory over Pratt on April 28.
HUNTER GOTREAUX – Honorable Mention All-KJCCC
Hunter Gotreaux wound up with the second-most hits and fourth-highest batting average this season and was among the team leaders in stolen bases.
The sophomore from Moss Bluff, Louisiana, hit .335 this season (64 for 191) with 10 doubles, five home runs, 52 runs scored and 38 RBIs. He was also third with 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts this season.
Gotreaux had a season-high 12 game hitting streak this season with 18 multi-hit games, including two four-hit games.
Gotreaux hit .374 with 40 hits in conference play this season.
BRAEDYN SOMMER – Honorable Mention All-KJCCC
Taking over as the full-time designated hitter and leadoff batter for the Blue Dragons on March 15, Braedyn Sommer became a dependable batter at the top of the order.
Sommer was second on team with a .366 batting average (48 for 131) with five doubles, four triples and seven home runs. The Stillwater, Oklahoma, product scored a team-high 69 runs and had 33 RBIs. He was a perfect 10 for 10 in stolen bases. Sommer posted a .475 on-base percentage.
He hit .386 in conference play this season with a .472 on-base percentage.
Sommer put together a 13-game hitting streak.
RYAN HENDERSON – Honorable Mention All-KJCCC
Freshman Ryan Henderson hit .311 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in his first season with the Blue Dragons.
The Buhler High School product had a .583 slugging percentage and had 28 extra-base hits, including 17 doubles this season.
Henderson’s biggest single game this season was as 3 for 4 game with two home runs, seven RBIs and a walk-off single to help the Blue Dragons defeat eventual league champions Barton 12-11 on April 9 at Hobart-Detter Field.
JACK TOROSIAN – Honorable Mention All-KJCCC
The sophomore from Omaha, Nebraska, also got off to a slow start with a .100 batting average over his first 20 at-bats. From that point, Jack Torosian ‘s average steadily climbed and reached .300 for the first time this season on April 2.
Torosian hit .311 this season (66 for 212) with 18 doubles, four triples and seven home runs. Torosian finished scoring 62 runs and driving in 41. He also had a team-high 19 stolen bases in 27 attempts.
Torosian hit .339 in KJCCC games this season (41 for 121).
KAEL BABIN – Region VI Gold Glove: Outfield
A freshman from Gonzalez, Louisiana, Kael Babin made several dazzling catches with long runs to rob opposing batters from extra-base hits.
Babin had just one error in 102 fielding chances this season. He had two outfield assists.
At the plate, Babin hit a solid. 308 (41 for 133) from the No. 9 spot in the order. Babin was 17 of 19 in stolen bases. He scored 39 runs and drove in 30 runs.