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Baseball - Thu, May 4, 2017

Valley City State University had several baseball players pick up conference awards Thursday night as the North Star Athletic Association held its Baseball Awards Banquet at the Valley City Eagles Club.

Jared Meiklejohn and Brady Anderson were named 1st Team All Conference; Andrew Frank, Ben Bruenjes and Anthony Necochea were named 2nd Team All Conference; and Meiklejohn and Necochea were both named Gold Glove winners.

Joe Demers was named VCSU's Champion of Character, and Steven Velarde and Tyler Ukestad were named Honorable Mention All Conference.

The awards were announced Thursday night on the eve of the conference tournament, which runs Friday through Monday in Valley City. The Vikings are the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament after finishing third in the NSAA standings with an 18-6 conference record.

Meiklejohn, a senior shortstop, led the Vikings with a .373 batting average during the regular season. He also led the team in runs (42), hits (69) and home runs (5). He was second on the team in doubles (16) and RBIs (38). Meiklejohn played stellar defense at shortstop as well, committing just nine errors in 219 chances for a .959 fielding percentage at shortstop.

Anderson, a senior catcher and utility player, was named 1st Team All Conference as an infielder. He batted .366 this season for the Vikings and led the team with 48 RBIs and a school-record 18 doubles. He became the all-time hits leader at VCSU earlier this season when he surpassed 200 career hits.

Senior outfielder Anthony Necochea was perfect in the field this season, not committing an error in 84 chances in center field. At the dish, Necochea batted .344 with 25 runs and 10 doubles. He's also drawn 15 walks and has a .407 on-base percentage.

Ben Bruenjes was named 2nd Team All Conference at catcher for the Vikings. The senior batted .315 with 24 runs, 10 doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs. He's third on the team with a .508 slugging percentage .

Despite featuring a very successful pitching staff this season, Andrew Frank was the only Viking pitcher to be named All Conference. He was named 2nd Team as a starting pitcher. The senior right-hander posted a 5-5 record in 15 appearances. He had a 3.39 ERA over 66.1 innings and struck out 62 batters. Opponents are hitting just .219 against him.

Pitcher Steven Velarde was named Honorable Mention after going 5-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 46 innings pitched. The senior struck out 48 batters and opponents are hitting just .201 against him.

Ukestad also earned Honorable Mention after emerging for the Vikings as the plate this season. The junior batted .359 with 21 runs and 19 RBIs. Ukestad leads the team with 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts.