Aklinski's defense earns Spalding® DII award

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The NJCAA Division II Baseball Committee has named Ben Aklinski of Phoenix College (AZ) as the Spalding® NJCAA DII Defensive Player of the Year.

In his sophomore campaign, Aklinski committed just one error for the Bears in 149 total chances for a .993 fielding percentage. Aklinski also added a pair of double plays on the year.

Aklinksi honed his craft in the outfield for the Bears. “I’ve really taken a lot of pride in my defense, and I’m honored to be given this award. These past two years at Phoenix have been two of the most fun years I’ve had up to this point in my life. I made friends that will last a lifetime, and I can’t thank the NJCAA, ACCAC, and Phoenix College enough for the opportunity to continue my baseball career.”

Along with his stellar play in the field, Aklinski boasted a .364 batting average after collecting 87 hits on the year. The sophomore also tallied 14 home runs and finished the season with 47 extra base hits.

Phoenix head coach Kevin Kimball praised Aklinski for receiving the award. “I can’t think of a more deserving player for this honor. Ben worked extremely hard on the defensive side of his game and it paid off for both him and our program. To me, defense is all about effort and ‘want to.’ You have to want to be a great defensive player and Ben did. He’s a great example for future players in our program and he will be missed. I’m hopeful his approach to the game will stick around for years to come.”

Aklinski received an Associate of Science degree from Phoenix and has committed to play baseball at the University of Kentucky where he will enroll in the communications program.

About Spalding®

Spalding is the largest basketball equipment supplier in the world, and America's first baseball company. Spalding is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as well as the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA, the official baseball of the NJCAA and Little League World Series® and the official volleyball of the King of the Beach® Volleyball Tour. In addition to being the leading producer and marketer of basketballs, baseballs, footballs, volleyballs and soccer balls, Spalding produces softballs under the Dudley® brand. The SPALDING® and DUDLEY® trademarks are owned by Russell Brands, LLC. For more information, visit www.spalding.com.

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