Morningside broke numerous school records during a banner 2016 baseball campaign. Photo / Gene Knudsen
Morningside enjoyed one of its most successful baseball seasons in school history during the 2016 campaign.
The Mustangs rode the exploits of a record breaking offensive attack en route to a 44-16 record to set a school record for victories in a season, breaking their former standard of 42 triumphs when they went 42-18-1 in the 2005 season. Morningside finished third in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular season standings with a 13-7 record before it won the GPAC’s post-season tournament championship to advance to the Tabor Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round for its first national tournament appearance since the 1960 NAIA World Series.
Morningside finished the season with a school-record 630 hits in 1894 at-bats to smash its former single-season standards of 556 hits and 1801 at-bats in 2005. The Mustangs set a school record with a .333 team batting average to break their former record of .328 in 2002. Eleven of the Mustangs’ 19 players with an at-bat hit .300 or higher.
Morningside belted a school-record 68 home runs to shatter its former single-season best of 53 round trippers in the 2005 campaign. The Mustangs also set school records with 119 doubles, 412 runs batted in, and 472 runs scored to break their former records of 105 doubles in 2005 and 2008, 452 runs in 2005, and 412 RBIs in 2005. Morningside’s batters walked 234 times to tie a school record previously set in 2005.
Jacob Lamoreux, a junior outfielder from Le Mars, Iowa, was an individual record breaker for the Mustangs. Lamoreux was the Mustangs’ leading hitter with a school-record 91 hits in 222 at-bats for a .410 batting average. His 91 hits broke the former Morningside record of 85 hits in a season by Casey Baker in the 2000 campaign and his 222 at-bats shattered the former Morningside single-season standard of 201 at-bats by Baker in 2000 and matched by Lamoreux last season.
Lamoreux has collected a school-record 238 hits during his Morningside career to smash the former record of 217 hits set by Bret Hoch from 2007 to 2010. Lamoreux has 238 hits in 613 at-bats for a .388 batting average during his Morningside career.
Lamoreux’s .410 batting average this past season was the ninth highest batting mark in Morningside history. Aside from leading the Mustangs in hitting, Lamoreux also topped the team with 65 runs scored, 21 stolen bases, and a .473 on-base percentage and was their co-leader with three triples. He finished second on the Mustangs with 15 doubles and 44 RBIs and ranked among the team leaders with seven home runs and 24 walks. His 65 runs scored was the second highest total in Morningside history.
Lamoreux led the Mustangs with 26 multiple hit games, including four four-hit performances, and had the team’s longest hitting streak of the season when he hit safely in 12 consecutive games from March 20 to April 5. He was also the Mustangs’ best contact hitter with only 14 strikeouts in his 222 at-bats. Lamoreux struck out only one time over the Mustangs’ first 17 games of the season.
Nathan DeChaine, a sophomore third baseman from Brainerd, Minn., was the Mustangs’ top power hitter and run producer. DeChaine batted .363 with a team-high 17 doubles, 16 home runs, 67 RBIs, 28 walks, and a .691 slugging percentage. DeChaine’s 16 home runs and 67 RBIs were the second highest single-season totals in Morningside history, while his 17 doubles ranked eighth among the college’s single-season bests. DeChaine ranked second on the team with 74 hits and 57 runs scored for the fifth and eighth highest single-season totals, respectively, in the school record book.
Cole Chapin, a junior infielder from Carson, Iowa, was the Mustangs’ second leading hitter with a .369 batting average and their co-leader with three triples. He finished second on the team with 15 doubles and third with 42 RBIs.
Nolan Hoff, a junior infielder from Walnut, Calif., had a .316 batting average, led the Mustangs with nine sacrifices, and was the team’s co-leader with 28 walks.
Cole Halgerson, a senior outfielder from Sioux Falls, S.D., was the Mustangs’ third leading hitter with a .363 batting average and one of their top sluggers and run producers with 12 doubles, 10 home runs, and 40 RBIs. His 10 home runs was the seventh highest single-season total in Morningside history. Halgerson led the Mustangs with a .424 batting average with runners on base and a .491 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Cody Selig, a sophomore pitcher from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, was the Mustangs’ ace with an 8-3 record and a 3.28 earned run average. Selig was the Mustangs’ co-leader in victories to finish one triumph shy of the Morningside record of nine pitching wins in a season he matched last season. Selig was the workhorse of the Mustangs’ staff with a team-high 14 starts and 68.2 innings pitched. He allowed 57 hits and 25 walks while holding the opposition to a .224 batting average and led the Mustangs’ hurlers with 81 strikeouts for the sixth highest single-season total in Morningside history. His 68.2 innings pitched was the ninth highest total in the Morningside record book.
Doug Vanecek, a senior pitcher from Tabor, S.D., also finished one win shy of a school record with an 8-2 record with a 5.68 earned run average. Vanecek allowed 50 hits and 23 walks and struck out 36 batters in 52.1 innings pitched.
Lance Spongberg, a senior pitcher from Sutton, Neb., had a 2-1 record and topped the Mustangs with eight saves, a 2.96 earned run average, and 34 appearances as the Mustangs’ closer. His eight saves was the fifth highest total in Morningside history. Spongberg allowed only 36 hits and struck out 58 batters in 45.2 innings pitched while limiting opposing hitters to a .211 batting average.
Richard Mitchell, a sophomore pitcher from Bakersfield, Calif., had a 7-1 record with a 2.98 earned run average as a spot starter and long reliever. Mitchell had the best control on the Mustangs’ pitching staff with only 11 walks in 51.1 innings pitched.
Mitchell and Lucas Henning, a junior pitcher from Worthington, Minn., with a 7-2 record and a 3.71 earned run average, matched the seventh highest single-season victory totals in Morningside history with their seven triumphs.