The American Baseball Coaches Association is proud to honor nearly 300 member college and high school programs with the 2018 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award. Teams from every level of college and high school baseball were recognized with this year's award, which highlights programs coached by ABCA members that posted a GPA over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the entire 2017-18 academic year. Included among the honored teams are the Ventura College Pirates who posted a team grade point average of 3.21 for the fall and spring semesters.
"We are thrilled to be able to honor all of this year's Team Academic Excellence Award recipients," said ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz. "It is a privilege for our association to have the opportunity to highlight so many deserving teams and recognize all of the hard work they put in off the field throughout the year."
Among the honored schools, only 21 are community college teams with three being in California, De Anza, Ohlone and Ventura. First-year head coach Jimmy Walker's squad is the only Southern California program recognized for academic excellence by the ABCA.
The Pirates were led in the classroom by freshmen Ethan Balolong-Reyes, TJ Foreman and Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama, all of whom posted a perfect 4.0 GPA. Sophomores Eric Thrower, Shane Gipson and Jacob Valdez, along with freshmen Hakeem Yatim, AJ Medrano, Joseph Cormier, Chris Kauffman and Jackson Hickert all earned above a 3.50 GPA for the academic Year.
Coaches were able to nominate their teams for the ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award following the conclusion of their spring semesters prior to the nomination deadline of July 18. To be honored, teams had to meet the following criteria:
- Must be a high school or college team.
- Head coach must be a current ABCA member.
- Team must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.0 scale during the 2017-18 academic year.
The American Baseball Coaches Association has a long tradition of recognizing the achievements of baseball coaches and student-athletes. The ABCA/Rawlings All-America Teams are the nation's oldest, founded in 1949, and the ABCA's awards program also includes the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Awards, the ABCA/Diamond Regional & National Coaches of the Year and several other major awards such as the ABCA Hall of Fame and the Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award.
Junior College Winners of the 2018 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award
Colby Community College (KS)
De Anza College (CA)
Kankakee Community College (IL)
Lincoln Trail College (IL)
Louisiana State University Eunice
McLennan Community College (TX)
Meridian Community College (MS)
North Iowa Area Community College
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Northwest Mississippi Community College
Ohlone College (CA)
Pasco-Hernando State College (FL)
Scottsdale Community College (AZ)
Sinclair Community College (OH)
Snead State Community College (AL)
South Mountain Community College (AZ)
Southwest Mississippi Community College
State College of Florida
Ventura College (CA)
Wabash Valley College (IL)
Weatherford College (TX)