By Bob Elliott
Two Canucks earned berths on the annual 2016 NAIA Baseball Preseason All-America Team.
UBC Thunderbirds RP Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, BC) and RHP Phillipe Graham (St. Chrysostome, Que.) of the MidAmerica Nazerene Pioneers were selected to the 17-man squad as chosen by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association (NAIA-BCA) All-America Committee .
Taylor is entering his draft year as a third-year T-Bird and wowed evaluators on UBC scout day hitting 94 mph with his fastball. He’s coming off an NAIA Honourable Mention All-American season when he went 4-2 last spring.
He ranked fifth overall in the NAIA with 12 saves, and had a team-best ERA of 1.02. The 6-foot-5, 210 pounder pitched 53 innings, striking out 51 and walking 13. He allowed 27 hits and six earned runs, holding opponents batted to a .153.
Graham was 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA and two in 16 games, making 10 starts. He walked 37 and struck out 79 in 72 innings, holding opponents to a .176 average. Graham allowed 42 hits and 17 earned runs He earned Heartland of America Player of the Week and First Team honors. .
He defeated Park, Evangel, Central Methodist, Avila, Baker, Graceland and Benedictine.
Headlining the team are returning 2015 First Team All-America selections Keivan Berges of Keiser (Fla.) and Adam Hines of LSU Alexandria (La.). Berges, a DH hitter from Wellington, Fla., ended last season ranked among the top 12 nationally in RBIs (73) and home runs (15). He tallied 24 multi-hit games en route to a .333 batting average, while also leading the team in doubles (20), total bases (173) and slugging percentage (.652).
Hines was dominant on the mound last season for the Generals. The Bunkie, La., native ranked in the top-five nationally in hits allowed per nine innings (4.7), opponent batting average (.155) and earned run average (0.96).
2016 NAIA Baseball Preseason All-America Team
Pos. Name Institution Class Hometown
C Ryan Crowe Westmont (Calif.) Sr. Ladera Ranch, Calif.
C Scott Morton Briar Cliff (Iowa) Sr. Ventura, Calif.
1B Alex Bush Westmont (Calif.) Sr. Menifee, Calif.
2B Houston Looser Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Jr. Muscle Shoals, Ala.
3B Alex Couch Tabor (Kan.) Sr. Castlewood, Va.
SS Cabe Reiten Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Sr. Spanaway, Wash.
UT Wardy Polanco Tennessee Wesleyan Sr. Haverstraw, N.Y.
DH Keivan Berges Keiser (Fla.) Jr. Wellington, Fla.
OF Logan Coughlin IU Southeast (Ind.) Sr. Brownsburg, Ind.
OF Jordan Espino Sterling (Kan.) Sr. Buena Park, Calif.
OF Preston King Bryan (Tenn.) Sr. Kingston, Tenn.
OF Colton Nash Bellevue (Neb.) Sr. Bonney Lake, Wash.
SP Adam Hines LSU Alexandria (La.) Sr. Bunkie, La.
SP Victor Arche Faulkner (Ala.) Sr. Miami, Fla.
SP Brandon Guske Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Jr. Spring Hill, Tenn.
SP Phillipe Graham MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) Jr. St. Chrysostome, Que.
RP Curtis Taylor British Columbia Jr. Port Coquitlam, B.C.