The Iowa Conference announced its 2017 All-IIAC Baseball Team Tuesday afternoon, and five Buena Vista players were named to either the First or Second Teams with one other earning Honorable Mention honors.
Senior starting pitcher Jake Lewis, along with junior starting shortstop, Noah Paper, were named to the league's First Team. Seniors Dalton Mason, Kolby Hilgenberg and Kendall Candor were Second Team selections while senior Jake Hadaway was an Honorable Mention honoree.
Paper and Candor are the only two of the group who have landed all-conference accolades in the past. Candor was voted to the First Team in 2016 while Paper was an Honorable Mention selection. It marks the fourth straight season with at least five all-conference selections and also the fourth straight time the program has been recognized with at least two First Team picks.
Lewis had a strong final season in a Beaver uniform, going 4-2 during conference play with a 1.32 ERA that ranked fourth overall among all pitchers. His 47.2 innings pitched was the second-highest total of the group. He worked into the sixth inning during all seven starts, including a complete-game effort against Central where he allowed just one run and struck out two.
Paper's .367 average against conference opponents was a team-best and also ranked sixth in the league. He also led the team in hits (33) and runs (17). Defensively, he was one of the best in the league, committing just four errors in over 120 attempts. He also helped turn 16 double plays. He failed to record a hit in just one conference game all season and had multiple hits in seven of the 24 league games. He matched a career-best with four hits against Central when he also scored a pair of runs. His nine assists against Loras was also a single-game conference high for the year.
Candor is now a two-time all-conference selection for the Beavers. He hit .256 during conference play with three doubles and a pair of home runs. He finished the year with a five-game conference game hitting streak which included a pair of hits, including a home run and four RBI during the regular season finale at Coe.
Mason led the IIAC this season with eight saves. That total was also the second-highest single-season total in program history. He made 11 appearances out of the bullpen and pitched 16.2 innings during league play. His worked the final three innings in relief to earn the win during the series finale against Central where he allowed just one hit and struck out three. He registered a save in his final four outings of conference play and ranked second in the league in ERA (1.08). In those 11 appearances, he struck out 17 and walked only four.
Hilgenberg turned in a stellar final collegiate campaign. After seeing limited playing time the last two years, he became the team's starting right fielder this season and made the most of the opportunity. He hit .315 during conference play and his eight doubles gave him the third-highest total in the league. He had 10 multi-hit games, including a 4-for-5 effort with three RBI and a run scored during a victory over Central. Defensively, he made just three errors in over 50 chances.
Hadaway, who was a First Team selection as a junior last season, just missed out on consecutive all-conference selections and was voted Honorable Mention to end his career. He tied for the team lead in wins overall and went 4-2 with a 4.23 ERA in six starts during IIAC play. He had a team-best 33 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched during those games and allowed just five extra-base hits. He finishes his stellar career with 13 IIAC victories over the four years.
Buena Vista finished third in the league standings in 2017 with a 15-9 conference mark. The team went 26-17 overall and fell one win shy of reaching the IIAC Tournament championship game.