Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of Hawaii Pacific University
IRVINE, Calif. – Redshirt sophomore Nicholas Jio leads a group of four Hawai’i Pacific University players named to the 2022 All-PacWest Conference Baseball Team announced Monday by the conference office.
Jio was named to the All-PacWest Conference First Team at second base. Senior outfielder/pitcher D.J. Stephens was chosen All-PacWest Second Team as a utility pitcher, while sophomore outfielder Cole Kashimoto and sophomore pitcher Jack O’Brien were selected All-PacWest Third Team.
Jio, a 5-9 redshirt sophomore from San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch, came back from an early injury during the COVID-plagued 2021 season, playing in all 44 games with 43 starts. Jio led the Sharks with 55 hits and 33 runs scored, while ranking second on the team with a .346 batting average, which put him in the top three among PacWest middle infielders. He led HPU and was sixth in the PacWest with a .453 on-base percentage. He led HPU with 20 walks and 11 hit by pitcher, and was second on the squad with 25 RBI. He also had seven doubles, two triples and two inside-the-park home runs, while leading HPU with 16 steals (fourth in the PacWest and 142nd nationally) on 20 attempts.
Stephens, a 5-11 senior from Nanakuli, Hawai’i/Saint Louis School, played in 39 games for the Sharks with 37 starts in the outfield and came to the mound for four appearances. He led the Sharks and ranked fifth in the PacWest Conference with a .359 batting average, posting 52 hits with two doubles, two triples, one home run and 17 RBIs, going 13-of-15 on stolen base attempts. On the mound he had one start in his four appearances, with a 2.57 ERA and six strikeouts. He had a .966 fielding percentage with two outfield assists as well.
Kashimoto, a 5-3 sophomore from Kaneohe, Hawai’i/Saint Louis School, was known as much for his hustling defensive plays as for his bat. Kashimoto had just two errors in 78 chances for a .976 fielding percentage, picked up two outfield assists in throwing runners out a home from left field, and made numerous diving catches to rob hits this season. He was fifth on the team with a .307 batting average and a .376 on-base percentage. He chalked up 16 RBIs with five doubles, a triple, and scored 24 runs, with 12 walks and 10 hit by pitcher. He stole 15 bases (seventh in the PacWest) in 18 attempts in 2022.
O’Brien, a 6-4 sophomore right hander from San Diego, Calif./Westview, gained notoriety in his first game for the Sharks with 2022’s first perfect game in a five-inning 10-0 win against Providence Christian. It was the first perfect game in PacWest Conference history, the second in HPU history and the 28th perfecto in Division II history when he turned the trick on Feb. 11 in the HPU season opener. With a 3-3 record in 11 appearances and 10 starts, O’Brien led HPU with a 3.95 ERA (eighth in the PacWest), with 51 strikeouts in 54.2 innings pitched. Opponents hit just .238 against O’Brien (seventh in the PacWest), while his 33 runs allowed and 24 earned runs allowed both ranked among the top 10 in the league. His Walks and Hits Per Innings pitched (WHIP) ranked seventh in the PacWest at 1.21 and 112th nationally.
The All-PacWest Conference Special Awards announced at the same time, with Point Loma’s Baxter Halligan named both PacWest Player of the Year and PacWest Pitcher of the Year. Point Loma’s Scott Anderson was chosen the PacWest Defensive Player of the Year, while Biola’s Oscar Serratos was the PacWest Newcomer of the Year. Point Loma’s Jakob Christian was selected the PacWest Freshman of the Year. PLNU’s Justin James was honored as the PacWest Coach of the Year.
The Sharks finished the season at 17-27 overall, 11-21 in PacWest Conference in their first season under head coach Dane Fujinaka.
+++ HPU +++