Andy Heimbach, a member of the Mount Vernon Nazarene College baseball team, highlighted the 1999 NAIA All-American Teams when they were released on Tuesday.
Heimbach, a junior pitcher from Wheelersburg, Ohio, was named the NAIA National Player of the Year and became the fourth Cougar player to be selected as an NAIA First Team All-American. The former All-Ohioan at Wheelersburg High School posted a 13-2 record with a 1.54 earned run average in 93 1/3 innings of work this year. He also set school single-season records for victories (13), shutouts (6), and strikeouts (141).
Heimbach, who was also selected as the American Mideast Conference and NAIA Great Lakes Region Player of the Year, became the career shutout leader in all levels of college baseball this year as he increased his total to 16. He also became MVNCís career strikeout leader with 272 and tossed the first perfect game in school history against Malone College on April 27.
"What an amazing honor to be named as the NAIA National Player of the Year," exclaimed head coach Keith Veale. "There are 235 NAIA schools that play baseball with approximately 25 people on each team. You do the math and see how tough it is to be the one person that is chosen for this award. It was a great way for Andy to end the year with the kind of season that he had."
Dave Byard, a junior pitcher from Byesville, Ohio, was one of two Cougar players to be named as NAIA Honorable Mention All-Americans. The former Meadowbrook High School star posted a 10-1 record with a 1.66 ERA. In 87 innings of work, Byard struck out 92 batters with just 32 walks.
Jeff Lavin, a junior catcher from Mercer, Pennsylvania, joined Byard as an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American. The former West Middlesex High School standout batted .345 with 61 hits, seven doubles, two homeruns, and 42 runs batted in. Lavin also caught all but one of the teamís 55 games this season and committed just four errors and allowed just one passed ball.
"It is an incredible honor to have three players selected as NAIA All-Americans," said Veale. "It shows the kind of respect that these players have earned for our program. All three guys are very deserving of these awards."