RedStorm ranked 30th in preseason poll


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



Rio Grande sophomore Clayton Surrell (41) gets a big lead at second base during a 2019 spring game held at the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio.

Rio Grande sophomore Clayton Surrell (41) gets a big lead at second base during a 2019 spring game held at the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio.


Courtesy photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Rio Grande sophomore second baseman Clayton Surrell was among those named to the 2020 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Association Preseason All-America Team.

The 17-player list was released by the NAIA-BCA All-American Committee.

Surrell, who is one of only four non-seniors on the list, batted .368 with one home run and 48 runs batted in last season for head coach Brad Warnimont’s club. He also had 21 doubles, two triples and 23 stolen bases, while tallying a .491 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage.

The Carroll, Ohio native also saw action as a pitcher, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.89 earned run average and one save in 14 appearances on the mound. He allowed 42 hits and 25 runs – 17 of which were earned – over 39-1/3 innings, while striking out 35.

No other player from a River States Conference school was named to the list, which included four starting pitchers, a reliever, two catchers, a utility selection, a designated hitter, four outfielders and a player at each infield position.

The list included five NAIA First Team All-America selections from a year ago in Colton Williams of Science & Arts (Okla.), Mitchell Lundholm of Fisher (Mass.), Josh Sears of Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Tyler Williams of Oklahoma City, and Drenis Ozuna of Oklahoma Wesleyan. Sears is the lone player on the list whom was both a preseason All-America selection in 2018 and a first-team All-America selection in the Spring of 2019 to make the list.

The University of Rio Grande also garnered 37 points, good enough for 30th place, in the NAIA Baseball Preseason Coaches’ Top 25 poll.

The RedStorm returns four regulars from last year’s team, which finished 39-21 after winning the River States Conference Tournament championship and going 1-2 in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship.

Defending national champion Tennessee Wesleyan took the top spot in the poll, while St. Thomas grabbed one first place vote and grabbed second place. Science & Arts, Southeastern (Fla.) and Georgia Gwinnett rounded out the top five.

The RSC was also represented in the preseason poll by Indiana University Southeast, while tied Middle Georgia State – the team whom Rio posted its one national tournament victory – for 22nd place.

Rio Grande sophomore Clayton Surrell (41) gets a big lead at second base during a 2019 spring game held at the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2019/11/web1_RIO-Surrell.jpgRio Grande sophomore Clayton Surrell (41) gets a big lead at second base during a 2019 spring game held at the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio. Courtesy photo

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.