Narodowski Tabbed Newcomer of the Year, Four Others Named All-Big 12

May 19, 2009


Junior shortstop David Narodowski has been named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year to highlight Kansas’ postseason awards. The Jayhawks placed four other players on the All-Big 12 First and Second Teams. Third baseman Tony Thompson was named to the First Team while catcher Buck Afenir, right fielder Brian Heere and starting pitcher T.J. Walz were All-Big 12 Second Team selections.

Narodowski, a junior college transfer Vernon College (Texas), becomes the first Jayhawk to earn the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. The Vancouver, B.C. native hit .357 in his first year in the conference with 19 doubles and a team-high 56 runs scored. He also hit .353 against Big 12 opponents and was second on the team in multiple-hit games with 24. He was the team’s starting shortstop from day one and played exceptional defense.

Thompson, a sophomore from Reno, Nev., becomes KU’s first First Team All-Big 12 selection since Don Czyz and Jared Schweitzer in 2006. Thompson led the conference in home runs (18), RBIs (74) and slugging percentage (.711). His 18 home runs are tied for the single season record at KU with Travis Metcalf. Thompson was second on the team with a .362 batting average, and had three multi-homer games.

Afenir, a senior from Escondido, Calif., leads the team in both batting average (.370) and hits (40) in Big 12 play. Afenir is batting .351 overall with nine home runs and 59 RBIs. He finished the regular season batting 81 points higher than his career average. He had a tremendous year behind the plate as well, throwing out 42 percent of would-be base stealers.

Heere, a sophomore from Lawrence, Kan., leads the team with a .363 batting average and a .463 on-base percentage. He hit .396 over his last 25 games, showing surprising power with four home runs down the stretch. He was fourth on the team with 19 multiple hit games and tied Robby Price for the team lead with three triples.

Walz, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb., posted a team-best 8-1 record during the regular season with an ERA of 3.50. Walz earned five wins against Top 25 teams, including a 12-strikeout performance versus then-No. 11 Kansas State and a complete game shutout against then No. 9 Baylor in April. Walz also allowed opponents a .246 batting average.

Kansas starting pitcher Shaeffer Hall, second baseman Robby Price and relief pitcher Paul Smyth were selected All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

Oklahoma’s J.T. Wise was named the Big 12’s Player of the Year, while Kansas State’s A.J. Morris was selected the conference’s Pitcher of the Year. Kansas State’ Brad Hill was tabbed coach of the year.

The Jayhawks will face Kansas State on the first day of competition Wednesday at the Big 12 Baseball Championship at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m.