BELOIT—One of Beloit College’s most explosive offensive teams roared to the 2021 Midwest Conference North Division championship and is well-represented on the All-North squad.
Head coach Dave DeGeorge was named the North Coach of the Year after leading the Buccaneers to a 24-4 record. In his 31st season, DeGeorge has amassed 484 victories and this was his fourth Coach of the Year honors (2009, 2011, 2016). The Bucs finished runnerup to South champ Illinois College in the MWC Tournament.
Beloit is also represented on the All-North team by Bronson Balholm, Matt Crandall, Garrison Ferone, Brett Kiger and Matt O’Leary. Balhom is the lone senior in the group.
Despite playing about 10 fewer games than in a typical season due to COVID-19, the Bucs set a number of records in 2021. They had finished 2020 with eight wins and they added nine more before suffering their first 2021 loss. The 17-game streak was a program record.
• A catcher, Balholm was a team captain. He posted a .342 batting average with 40 hits, which ranked among the top 15 in the3 league. His 45 runs scored and six triples were second in the MWL and top two in the program record book. He also had 12 doubles, seventh among MWC players. Balholm’s four walks in game and four runs scored in a game both led the league. He played in 107 games in his four-year career. He ranks second in the Buc record book with seven career triples and fifth with 116 career hits.
Center fielder Crandalll started all 30 games. A strong defender, he also hit .362 and his .638 slugging percentage was sixth-best in the MWC as he posted nine doubles, a triple, six home runs and drove in 29. His seven RBI against Ripon tied a program record and led the MWC this season.
Shortstop Ferone had an outstanding season in the field, starting all 30 games, and also hit .377. His average and his 46 hiatus both were eighth in the league this season. Ferone had four triples, giving him six for his career. He led the team in walks (24) and had a hit in the team’s first 26 games of the season. That streak was 34 dating back to 2020.
Kiger, operating mostly as designated hitter, lived up to the term. He ripped eight homers, fourth-most in the league and tied the program record. His .745 slugging percentage was second in the MWC. Half of Kiger’s 36 hits went for extra bases with 10 doubles and eight homers. He drove in 47, third in the league and third in program history. The sophomore from Beloit had seven RBI in a game this season, tying the program record. He was hit 11 times. Kiger hit .383 and posted an on-base percentage of .519, top six marks in the MWC.
O’Leary had a breakout season, one of the best in BC history offensively. The sophomore led the team in batting average (.420), slugging percentage (.768), hits (47), home runs (8), RBIs (49) and on-base percentage (.527). His marks for on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI and batting average all ranked among the top three in the MWC this season.
O’Leary also wrote his name all over the program record book, setting season marks for homers and RBIs and ranking second with four triples. He had the fifth-best batting average in a season in program history. He had a two-triple game against Lawrence and a three home run, seven RBI game against St. Norbert.
The Bucs set program records for doubles in a game (8 vs. Ripon), home runs in a game (5 vs. Knox), runs in a season (324), doubles in a season (88) and extra base hits (120) and RBIs (291).