LUBBOCK, Texas – The 2021 college baseball season has presented a unique challenge for coaches, players and schools in dealing with various protocols and restrictions, while some teams and conferences have played vastly different schedules.
But as the regular season came to an end, one thing that didn’t change was the best players in the country continued to rise to the top, leading their respective teams to outstanding seasons or berths in conference and NCAA tournaments. That certainly holds true for those selected as the five finalists for the 2021 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
The five finalists for the award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, are seniors Garett Delano from Mercer and Danny Hosley from Norfolk State, juniors Dylan Nedved from Iowa and Spencer Schwellenbach from Nebraska and freshman Justin Campbell from Oklahoma State.
“All season long, trimming this list to semifinalists and now to finalists has proven very difficult due to the outstanding seasons put forth by all our two-way players,” Olerud Award chairman George Watson said. “But these five finalists have differentiated themselves not only through the statistics they’ve racked up but by being leaders of their respective teams. Each one of these finalists is more than deserving of this award.”
The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.
Here is a closer look at the finalists:
- Justin Campbell, Fr., IF/RHP, Oklahoma State: Campbell came on about midseason and established himself not only as a key player for the Cowboys in 2021 but a foundation for the future of the program. Injuries thrust him into the starting rotation, and he has flourished, going 7-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 12 starts covering 78 innings. At the plate, he is hitting .269 with a home run and 10 RBI as OSU heads toward the NCAA postseason.
- Garett Delano, Sr., IF/RHP, Mercer: Delano has been a key cog for the Bears both on the mound and at the plate all season. A two-time winner of the weekly Olerud Award, Delano is 6-1 on the mound in 15 appearances (12 starts) with a 4.32 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 81.1 innings. He also is hitting an impressive .337 with nine home runs and 52 RBI and a .588 slugging percentage.
- Danny Hosley, Sr., IF/RHP, Norfolk State: A key member of a Spartans team that claimed the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, Hosley is hitting .375 on the year with a home run and 23 RBI, and on the mound is 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA. In 11 appearances (10 starts), he has struck out 79 batters in 73.1 innings, and opponents are hitting just .206 off him.
- Dylan Nedved, Jr., IF/RHP, Iowa: It was a challenging year in the Big Ten as teams did not play outside of conference, but Nedved proved he was the Hawkeye’s go-to arm in the back end of games. In compiling nine saves on the year, he also was 4-1 with a 4.19 ERA, striking out 31 in 34.1 innings. At the plate, he hit .246 with a home run and 23 RBI.
- Spencer Schwellenbach, Jr., IF/RHP, Nebraska: Schwellenbach helped guide a resurgence for the Cornhuskers in leading the team to the 2021 Big Ten championship and automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. He comes into the postseason hitting .289 with six home runs and 35 RBI, and on the mound is 2-1 with a 0.71 ERA and nine saves in 25.1 innings, striking out 29.
For more information on the Olerud Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.