Co-MVP O’Brien Headlines 4 Chargers on All-Conference Team

  Aaron Frey
  Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:42 AM

Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg College freshman Cacey O’Brien (Moline, Ill./Moline) was named co-MVP of the Arrowhead Conference, headlining four Chargers who earned baseball all-conference honors after leading the team to a share of its first league title in 10 years.

O’Brien shared the conference MVP award with outfielder Chris Liggett of fellow league champion Black Hawk, while Chargers center fielder Payton Hartbank (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon), catcher Tyler Womack (Moline, Ill./Moline) and pitcher Bryce Meyer (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone) also earned All-Arrowhead nods.

O’Brien, one of the leading hitters in all NJCAA Division II, paced the Chargers in virtually every offensive category against conference opponents. O’Brien had 76 plate appearances while playing in all 20 Arrowhead games and led the Chargers in average (.519), on-base percentage (.658), slugging (1.058), OPS (1.716), hits (27), extra-base hits (16), doubles (10), home runs (six), RBIs (30), runs (29), walks (21) and total bases (55). The first baseman also stole a base in his only attempt and hit an astounding .611 with runners in scoring position.

Hartbank earned a spot on the all-conference team in each of his two seasons with the Chargers. The sophomore hit .302/.403/.635 in 77 plate appearances over 20 conference games. He was second among Chargers in extra-base hits (12), doubles (seven), runs (27), and total bases (40). Hartbank's four homers and 18 RBIs in conference play were both good for third on the team, and he was 3 for 3 in stolen base attempts.

Womack gave O’Brien plenty of protection behind him in the order, batting .372/.451/.767 in 51 plate appearances over 16 Arrowhead games. Womack’s slugging percentage, 1.218 OPS, five homers and 20 RBIs trailed only O’Brien for the team lead. He was third among Chargers with 33 total bases, and he handled a pitching staff that sported a 2.96 ERA in conference play.

Meyer went a perfect 4-0 in four Arrowhead outings, allowing just two earned runs in 20 1/3 innings for a 0.69 ERA. The 6-foot-3 southpaw gave up just seven hits and struck out 33 in league action. Meyer didn’t allow more than two hits in any of his conference appearances and struck out at least seven each time. He fired a two-hit shutout April 21 at Illinois Valley, fanning out nine and walking just one in a five-inning complete game.

2018 All-Arrowhead Conference Baseball Team
Co-MVPs — Cacey O’Brien (Sandburg) and Chris Liggett (Black Hawk).

Infielders — Nick Acri (Black Hawk), Andru Baxley (Black Hawk), Cacey O’Brien (Sandburg), Brady Huebbe (Illinois Valley), Joey Locascio (Kishwaukee).

Outfielders — Chris Liggett (Black Hawk), Payton Hartbank (Sandburg), Killian Vasica (Highland), Tommy Hansen (Highland).

Catchers — Ryan Lorber (Black Hawk) and Tyler Womack (Sandburg).

Designated Hitter — Sam Stonskas (Black Hawk).

Pitchers — Nick Villasenor (Black Hawk), Devin Wessels (Black Hawk), Bryce Meyer (Sandburg), Alejandro Veiro (Kishwaukee).

Co-Coaches of the Year — Jake Tenhouse (Sandburg) and Arnie Chavera (Black Hawk).

Final Arrowhead Conference Standings
Sandburg 16-4
Black Hawk 16-4
Kishwaukee 13-7
Highland 9-11
Sauk Valley 3-17
Illinois Valley 3-17

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Aaron Frey