Baseball | 5/23/2022 11:28:00 AM
MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Golden Gophers baseball team announced its team awards at the annual team banquet on Sunday afternoon. For the 2022 season, Minnesota finished 16-36 (6-18 Big Ten).
DICK SIEBERT MEMORIAL TEAM MVP & PAUL MOLITOR BATTING CHAMPION
Jack Kelly; Utility, Redshirt Senior; St. Michael, Minn.
Kelly played six different positions in 2022, including catcher, third base, second base, first base, left field and right field. Appearing in 51 of 52 games (50 starts), Kelly hit a team and career-best .324. The senior led the team in RBI (45), doubles (18), triples (3), slugging percentage (.592) and on-base percentage (.421). He also hit a career-high eight home runs, which ranked second on the Gophers. Kelly’s 18 doubles and three triples each ranked seventh in the Big Ten. His versatility, consistency and production earne the St. Michael, Minn., Native both the team MVP and batting champion awards.
GEORGE THOMAS MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Brett Bateman; CF, Sophomore; Arden Hills, Minn.
Bateman was the spark plug for the Gophers in 2022. He was the only Gopher to start in all 52 games, playing each one in center field. The former Mounds View HS standout led the team in hits (67), at-bats (215), stolen bases (21) and runs (39). His 21 stolen bases ranked him No. 7 in the conference. He was three swiped bags away from joining the single-season top 10 all-time in program history. From April 8 to April 29, Bateman went on a team-best 14-game hitting streak, upping his average from .295 to .325. He wouldn’t drop below .300 for the rest of the season and finished with a .312 average.
PHIL ISAAKSON TEAMMATE OF THE YEAR
Randon Dauman; RHP, Junior; Columbus, Wis.
An honored award for former Gopher Phil Isaakson (2008-11), junior pitcher Randon Dauman was voted by his teammates as the Phil Isaakson Teammate of the Year. Dauman transferred last summer from Saint Louis University and from the day he arrived on campus, he built trust and relationships with his teammates and constantly thought about how he could make the team better. On the field, he made 10 appearances out of the bullpen, striking out nine in 7.1 innings of work.
DUGOUT CLUB PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tom Skoro, LHP, Redshirt Senior; Medicine Lake, Minn.
Mr. Dependable, Tom Skoro was named the Dugout Club Player of the Year by club president Billy Soule and the ‘A-Team.’ Skoro made a team-high 27 appearances out of the bullpen in 2022, holding a 4.50 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 32.0 innings pitched. The southpaw tallied one save and allowed just 16 earned runs on the season. With the game on the line, there was no doubt that Skoro wanted the ball and tried to do everything he could to help his team win games. He allowed runs in just nine of his 27 appearances on the season and did not surrender a run through his first six outings.
DAVE WINFIELD PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Aidan Maldonado, RHP, Redshirt Junior; Rosemount, Minn.
An Illinois transfer last year, Maldonado came to Minnesota last year with the hopes of proving himself with his hometown school. He did that and more, cementing himself as the most consistent starter and one of the better pitchers in the Big Ten Conference. In 13 starts (14 appearances), Maldonado registered a 3.91 ERA with 90 strikeouts and just 35 walks in a team-high 73.2 innings pitched. Opposing batters hit just .232 off him for the year, also a team-best. Maldonado took his game to another level in Big Ten play. In his final seven starts, he was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, 53 strikeouts and just 12 earned runs allowed. He pitched 42.0 innings during this span. He finished fifth in the league in strikeouts (90) and ninth in innings pitched (73.2).
DAVID CHELESNIK JR. MEMORIAL AWARD
Riley Swenson, C, Redshirt Junior; Chaska, Minn.
This award memorializes former Gopher David Chelesnik, who battled brain cancer his first year with the team in the 1980’s before tragically succumbing to his illness. It’s given to someone who has fought through injury and adversity while maintaining a positive attitude each and every day. This year winner is Riley Swenson, who battled through injury for the past eight months and worked tirelessly to get back on the field to be with his teammates. He appeared in just 12 games prior to this season, but came on late in 2022 to play in 12 games, hitting .319 with three home runs, nine RBI and 15 hits. Swenson became one of the most productive Gophers in the past quarter of the season, tallying four multi-hit games. He had three-hit performances against Nebraska (3-for-5, HR) and Northwestern (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI).
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE & EXCELLENCE IN ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Chase Stanke, C, Senior; Sugar Grove, Ill.
An absolute warrior on and off the field, Chase Stanke epitomizes what it means to be an elite student-athlete. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten and Co-SIDA All-District selection, Stanke holds a 3.95 GPA in his master’s program. On the field, he caught in 51 of the 52 games for Minnesota this season, boasting a .996 fielding percentage and 439 putouts. He hit a team and career-best 13 home runs while driving in 42 RBI. He’s the first Gopher to hit 13 home runs in a season since Derek McCallum hit 18 in 2009. According to athletic performance coach Scotty McWilliams, Stanke never missed a lift or conditioning session and repeatedly upped his numbers in the weight room this spring despite catching every single day.