Ruzek, Huber headline 2009 LC baseball all-conference awards
Athletics - posted on 5/15/2009
A pair of Lakeland student-athletes were named to the 2009 All-Northern Athletics Conference baseball team, as the league announced the squad late Thursday.
Sophomore pitcher Mike Ruzek led the way for the Muskies, garnering first-team honors. After struggling in his first outing of the season against NCAA qualifier Carthage, the 6-foot-2 right-hander cruised from there on out, finishing in the top 10 in the conference in earned run average (3.77), opponent batting average (.258), innings pitched (62.0), strikeouts (53) and wins (five).
A Manitowoc native, Ruzek also led the team in complete games (three) and shutouts (two), including a memorable 158-pitch gem in a 6-1 victory over NAC champion Concordia Chicago on April 19 at Lakeland.
"The biggest thing for Mike is he wanted to be the team's ace," Lakeland coach Chris Thousand said. "We had a chance to win every game he threw, and like I've been saying all season, I think it boosted the team when Mike was on the hill. He's very competitive."
Ruzek also batted .326 with six RBIs as one of the team's three left-handed hitters. He is the first player for Lakeland to be named first-team all-conference since the NAC came into existence in 2007.
Freshman left fielder Mike Huber was named to the league's All-Freshman team. The Reedsburg native batted a cool .289 and finished second on the team with 11 doubles in 32 starts. Huber's energy and attitude boosted the Muskies in the lower half of the batting order and in the field.
"Huber has a very positive attitude," Thousand said. "He was hot during the Florida trip at the start of the season, batting well over .300. He didn't finish the year as well as he wanted to, but I'm glad the conference honored and recognized his achievements."
Senior pitcher Mike Phillips, the team's captain, represents the Muskies on the NAC All-Sportsmanship team. Players and coaches recognized Phillips, a Green Bay native, as the team leader. Phillips posted a pair of wins and tied a team-high with 12 appearances, mostly in relief.
"'Phil' was the leader of our team and the pitching staff," Thousand said. "I think he was a little disappointed with how he pitched, but he carried a lot of leadership on his shoulders. He's a kid we'll miss a lot next year."
Concordia Chicago, the NAC's regular season and tournament champion, garnered a league-high nine all-conference selections.
To see a complete list of the 2009 Baseball All-Northern Athletics Conference Awards, click here
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