Sophomore catcher Steven Ring set records during a breakout 2017 season for the Hillsdale College baseball team. Friday afternoon, he found out he will eventually, join the distinguished list of athletes with a photo in the sports complex basement.
Ring was named honorable mention All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association. He earned his honor at the utility/non-pitcher position, one he was eligible for thanks to his split time between catcher and first base. In most of Hillsdale's doubleheaders this season, Ring played the first game at catcher and game two at first base.
The D2CCA program is one in which sports information directors at Division II institutions nominate and vote on All-Region and All-American candidates.
He was one of the players who had a new opportunity to become a contributing player after the big senior class of 2016 graduated. To say he took advantage of that opportunity is a gross understatement.
Ring set school single-season records for both home runs (17) and runs batted in (63) while leading Hillsdale to 25 wins and its second consecutive berth in the GLIAC Tournament. He set both records with one memorable swing in the conference tournament against Grand Valley State May 13, blasting a towering home run that fell among the top of the trees at Grady's Field in Xenia, Ohio.
He set Hillsdale's single-season home run record with a similarly memorable blast May 6 at home against Lake Erie College. His then-record 16th home run was his second grand slam in as many at bats, which came as part of a game where he drove in a single-game school record nine runs.
The 2016 and 2017 seasons were Hillsdale's last two in the GLIAC, but they represented a renaissance in the program. From 1990-2015, no Charger baseball player had earned athletic All-American recognition. But in the past two years, four players have picked up those honors: Luke Ortel and Chris McDonald in 2016, and Ethan Wiskur and Ring in 2017.