By Noah Gatsik | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time in Flagler College history, two players were selected for the prestigious NCAA Division II National Hitter of the Week back to back. Second baseman Andrew “Opie” Brodbeck, a junior, and outfielder Nick Kranick, also a junior, were selected for the honor.
The Hitter of the Week is selected by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association and goes to whichever player the writers believe to have performed the best at the plate throughout the entire Division II for a certain week.
Brodbeck was selected for the week ending on February 23. He hit for an astounding batting average of .600 with a slugging percentage of 1.000 during that week. In a three game series against Georgia College he went 10-15 with seven runs scored, two triples, one homerun and 12 runs batted in. In the series’ opener he had a career day by going 6-6, tying the Flagler record for hits in one game. He became the seventh player in Peach Belt history to record six or more hits in a single game.
“It was a great honor to recognized as the nation’s best hitter for a week,” Brodbeck said. “I think it gave not only myself, but the whole team some well-deserved recognition. It will only motivate me to get better from here on out.”
Not only did the recognition seem to motivate Brodbeck, but his teammates seem to have been motivated as well, including subsequent winner and teammate Kranick.
“When one of your teammates is recognized like that it sparks up some friendly competition,” Kranick said. “I was proud of him, but, at the same time, it made me want to get better.”
Kranick did just that, going on a tear the following week ending March 1, which led him to be named the NCAA Division II Hitter of the Week. He had a huge weekend series against USC Aiken, leading the team with a .636 batting average, seven hits and seven runs scored. He hit what ended up being a game-winning three-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning in the second game of the team’s doubleheader that put the Saints up 10-9 on Saturday.
“I was seeing the ball very well,” Kranick said. “It was awesome that I could win the award one week after Opie did. It’s a great honor and hopefully we, as a team, can keep this little streak we have going.”