Webster University junior-to-be All-American first baseman Kyler Kent (Pottsboro, Texas/Pottsboro) and senior-to-be outfielder Nate Tholl(Tinley Park, Ill./John A. Logan CC) have been rewarded for their outstanding play this summer in the New York Collegiate Baseball League by being named to the 2018 NYCBL All-League Team.
Kent and Tholl, who both played for the Hornell Dodgers, were two of the 21 position players named to the NYCBL All-League Team. Along with naming 21 position players representing all 12 of the league's team, the league also named 14 pitchers to the All-League Team.
Hornell and league champion Onondaga led the way with five players selected, including Hornell having a league-best four position players named to the All-League Team. In addition, Cortland and Niagara each had four players selected.
On the summer, Kent, who was named a Third-Team ABCA/Rawlings All-American and a First-Team All-St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection for the Gorloks in 2018, finished sixth in the league in batting with a .368 average and led the league in both runs scored (38) and hits (63) and was tied for sixth in doubles with 11 and was third in RBIs with 36. In addition, he hit one triple, two home runs and was 14-for-16 in stolen bases. Kent, who earned NYCBL Offensive MVP honors at this year's All-Star Game, recorded a slugging percentage of .480, an on-base percentage of .431 and an OPS of .911.
In 42 games, Kent, who was named an NCYBL Player of the Day two times and also earned the league's Player of the Week accolade for July 2-July 8, recorded 19 multi-hit games, including a 5-for-6 effort at the plate on June 16 at Niagara and also had 10 multiple RBI games, scored two or more runs in a game 10 times and struck out just 16 times in 171 at-bats. In his final game of the summer against Wellsville, a game the Hornell Dodgers won 10-7, Kent was 2-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored, a double.
During his sophomore campaign for the Gorloks in 2018, Kent hit .435 during the regular season and finished the season with a .428 batting average. On the season, Kent recorded a single-season school record 83 hits and also scored 44 runs, hit 17 doubles and led the Gorloks in both home runs (6) and RBI (46) and struck just 15 times in 194 at-bats. In addition, Kent was 9-for-12 on the stolen bases and led Webster with 28 multi-hit games, including just the 17th 5-hit game in school history in late April against Iowa Wesleyan. The 83 base hits this season bettered the old single-season mark of 75 set by Tom Henke in 2012.
Meanwhile, Tholl, who hit .306 and had 41 hits, 11 doubles, and was 9-for-10 on stolen bases during his junior year campaign with the Gorloks, earned his spot on the All-League Team after posting a batting average of .340 and finishing second in the league in stolen bases with 28 as he was 28-for-31 on steals for the season. In addition to the 28 stolen bases, Tholl recorded 48 hits, which was tied for fifth-best in the league and scored 27 runs and hit six doubles. He also drew 11 walks, had 14 RBIs and struck out just 19 times in 141 at-bats.
On the summer, Tholl had six games of recording at least two stolen bases and also had 16 multi-hit games, including a four-hit game in a 5-2 loss on July 14 at Olean and also scored two or more runs in a game twice, including scoring five runs in Hornell's 19-6 win in is second to last game of the season against Olean. In his final game of the summer, Tholl was 3-for-5 at the plate in Hornell's 10-7 win over Wellsville.
Despite having a league-high tying five All-League players, the Hornell Dodgers finished the NYCBL season with a 15-27 overall record and tied for last in the Western Division of the NYCBL standings. Hornell finished 11 games behind Rochester (26-16) in the Western Division, but the Dodgers ended the season winning its last three games, including picking up that 19-6 win over league runner-up Olean in the second-to-last game of the season. Onondaga finished with a league-best 28-14 record en route to earning the 2018 NYCBL Championship.
The NYCBL, which was founded in 1978, is comprised of 12 teams in the Upstate New York region that compete in two six-team divisions. The season runs from June 1-July 23 and the teams play a total of 42 regular season games with the top three teams in each division advancing to the playoffs.
The NYCBL had numerous former players on Major League rosters in 2017. From the likes of J.D. Martinez, Rajai Davis, Hunter Pence, Mike Fiers, Jason Motte and Tim Locastro. The league has also had great success over the years throughout Major League Baseball. All-Stars Brad Lidge and Tim Hudson along with Gold Glover Kirt Manwaring, perfect game pitcher Dallas Braden along with other notable names like Clay Bellinger, Jeremy Accardo and Tim Naehring all played in the NYCBL during their collegiate careers.
Along with Kent and Tholl, the Hornell Dodgers also had two other Gorlok baseball players on their roster this summer - sophomore-to-be shortstop Matt Staker (El Cajon, Calif./Saint Augustine) and sophomore-to-be pitcher Trey Neighbors (Mabank, Texas/Mabank).
For the summer, Staker played in all 42 games for the Dodgers and finished with a .299 batting average. In 137 at-bats, Staker recorded 41 hits, scored 27 runs, hit four doubles, drew 21 walks, and had 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts and 12 RBIs. He finished the summer season with a .423 on-base percentage, a .328 slugging percentage, and a .751 OPS.
As a freshman for the Gorloks in 2018, Staker, who was named to the SLIAC All-Sportsmanship Team and also to the SLIAC All-Tournament Team, played in all 48 games and recorded a .252 batting average as he had 34 hits, scored 28 runs, hit four doubles, had 18 RBIs, was second on the team in walks with 20 and was 8-for-11 on stolen bases.
For the summer, Neighbors made 15 appearances and two starts on the mound and posted an 0-4 record and a 10.50 ERA. In 30 innings of work, he struck out 30 and walked 30 batters and finished with a 2.47 WHIP on the season. He recorded two or more strikeouts in eight of his 15 appearances, including back-to-back six strikeout efforts against both Rochester (6/9) and Niagara (6/13).
As a freshman for the Gorloks in 2018, Neighbors made three appearances in relief and tossed 2.1 innings and recorded five strikeouts and walked six batters in those three appearances.
Kent, Tholl, Staker and Neighbors helped lead the Gorloks to a 38-10 overall record and its 12th consecutive SLIAC regular season championship and also the school's ninth all-time SLIAC Tournament title, but the first tournament title since 2014. Along with the way, the Gorloks won a school record 21 consecutive games and entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 7 ranked team in the final ABCA Division III Coaches' Poll and the 38 wins this season were also a new single season school mark.
STORY COURTESY OF WEBSTER UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION