GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the first time in five years, Oklahoma Christian landed two players on an All-South Central Region team, as pitcher Gabe Rodery and outfielder Hunter Markwardt both received second-team recognition on the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings list, released Wednesday.
The ABCA's All-South Central Region teams were voted on by coaches from each of the three leagues in the region — the Heartland, Lone Star and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences.
"We couldn't have done what we did this season without those two guys," OC coach Lonny Cobble said of Markwardt and Rodery. "We knew when we handed the ball to Gabe that he'd give us his best effort every time out and his best is really, really good. He just battles and battles. Hunter was a threat from the leadoff spot every time he came to the plate and was an outstanding on defense as well. Both of them led by example."
Rodery, a junior left-hander from Verdigris, Okla., went 7-3 with a 2.79 ERA for OC this season, pitching seven complete games, including three shutouts — a one-hitter, a three-hitter and a four-hitter. He was a three-time Heartland Conference pitcher of the week and won the South Central Region pitcher of the week award once.
He issued only 19 walks in 84 innings while striking out 80 batters. He ranked in the top six in the Heartland in ERA (fifth), innings pitched (sixth), strikeouts (fourth), strikeouts looking (third) and wins (fourth). He made the All-Heartland first-team list.
Markwardt, a junior from Argyle, Texas, starred as a leadoff hitter and slick-fielding outfielder for the Eagles, who were a surprise team this season, finishing 28-20 overall, including a 9-5 mark against teams that were selected to play in the NCAA Division II tournament.
He hit .372 with three home runs and 23 RBIs for the Eagles, adding 18 doubles and four triples for a .551 slugging percentage. He led the Heartland in stolen bases with 21 (in 24 attempts) and set what is believed to be a conference record with a 28-game hitting streak.
Markwardt, also a first-team All-Heartland pick, earlier was named to the All-South Central Region second-team list chosen by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
The last time OC produced more than one All-Region player in a season was 2014, when Dillon Endecott and Blake Stringer both made the ABCA and NCBWA first-team lists and Jordan Lopez was named to the second-team list by both organizations.
OC now has had eight players make one of the three major All-Region lists (ABCA, NCBWA and Division II Conference Commissioners Association) since the Eagles began competing at the NCAA Division II level with the 2013 season. Joining Endecott, Stringer, Lopez, Markwardt and Rodery on that elite list are Ben McKenzie (D2CCA second team in 2016), Kolton Brown (D2CCA first team and NCBWA second team in 2017) and Jake Collins (D2CCA second team in 2018).