LUBBOCK, Texas – Even though they finished third in the Big 12 Conference and earned a top eight national seed in the NCAA postseason, consistency, at times, was hard to come by for the Texas Tech baseball team.
Injuries both prior to and during the season caused the Red Raider coaching staff to constantly shuffle positions and pitching roles. Through it all, however, there were a couple of consistent pieces who helped drive the Red Raiders to their third straight Super Regional appearance.
One of those was shortstop Cal Conley. The redshirt freshman started in all but one of the Red Raiders’ 56 games in 2021 and was a constant force both at the plate and in the field. He also upheld the long line of outstanding shortstops who have played a Rip Griffin Park-Dan Law Field, many of whom have gone on to pro careers.
For his efforts, dedication and leadership, Conley is this year’s winner of the Brooks Wallace Award, honoring the nation’s top shortstop.
“The nominating committee had such a phenomenal group of young men as finalists to choose from, and I feel like we made a great choice in Cal,” said Larry Wallace, co-chair of the Brooks Wallace Award selection committee. “The combination of leadership, hard work and perseverance that Cal exhibits are all qualities we look for in representing the award. Along with his defensive skills, hitting for average and the bonus of hitting with power made him a great choice.”
The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation during the virtual Night of Champions event June 26. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia in 1985 at the age of 27. Conley becomes the first Red Raider to win the award since it was established in 2004.
A native of Mount Carmel, Ohio, majoring in sports management, Conley showed all the tools coaches look for from a shortstop – athleticism, range and strong arm – while also displaying an ability at the plate to be a multi-dimensional hitter.
On the season, Conley hit .329 with 15 home runs and 55 RBs. The homers and RBIs were both second on the team. He also finished with a .987 OPS with 21 walks and just 38 strikeouts in 225 at-bats. He finished with 23 multi-hit games and hit safely in 43 of 56 games this season.
Just as importantly, Conley fielded at a .960 clip in the regular season with 133 assists and 71 putouts.
In addition to the Wallace Award, Conley was a first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection and was named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
“The entire Wallace family is excited to have Cal as our award recipient for this year” Larry Wallace said. “I know Brooks would be proud of his accomplishments and to see a fellow Red Raider win the award.”
For more information on the Brooks Wallace Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.