The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.
Scott Hong (Glendale Community College, 2011) junior, Occidental College baseball: Occidental owes quite a bit of credit for its first winning season in 20 years to the former Vaquero, whose do-it-all skill set led the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in stat categories as diverse as stolen bases (31) and saves (six), while also winning a Gold Glove in the outfield.
Hong, now a member of the Glendale Angelenos collegiate summer league team, was named to the American Baseball Coaches Assn. All-West Region team on Monday following his efforts in leading the Tigers to a 23-16 overall record and an 18-10 third-place SCIAC finish, which was the best winning percentage since Occidental's last SCIAC championship team in 1982.
"Scott deserves the recognition," Occidental College baseball coach Luke Wetmore stated in a press release. "He had an outstanding season and it's great to see the people that put the time in be rewarded for their efforts."
Hong's Angelenos teammate Pedro Aldape, the SCIAC's leader in RBI (45), made the second team for Occidental as a first baseman.
Hong had a .438 on base percentage, scored 42 runs and fielded .992. As the Tigers closer, he had a 1.76 earned-run average and struck out 12 batters while walking five.
Eric Kleinsasser (Crescenta Valley High, 2007) senior, Occidental College men's track and field: The former Falcon is used to leading the pack, but nonetheless found himself in exclusive company recently, even by his standards.
Kleinsasser was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District 2011 Men's Track and Field/Cross Country team, an honor that only three other SCIAC male track and field or cross country athletes received in 2011-12.
The award recognizes not only Kleinsasser's athletic accomplishments — he led the Tigers men's cross country team to a SCIAC championship in 2001 — but also his achievements in academics, as he is set to begin a PhD program at USC in the fall.
Kris Kauppila (Crescenta Valley High, 2008) junior infielder, Portland University baseball: Kauppila went one for three with two runs batted in and a run scored in the Pilots' 11-1 season-finale win over Seattle on May 27.
The win saw Portland finish the year two games over.500 at 27-25. Kauppila, a shortstop, batted .272 on the season with 11 doubles, 21 RBI, 20 runs scored and a .951 fielding percentage.
Erik Suarez (Glendale Community College, 2011) junior, New Mexico baseball: The Lobos were eliminated in the NCAA Regional hosted by UCLA on Sunday with a 7-2 loss to Creighton in which they were held to just three hits.
Suarez, a catcher who batted .207 on the season with nine RBI and 10 runs scored in 23 games, did not play in the final game.
New Mexico went 37-24, which tied for the fourth-most victories in a single season in school history, and won the Mountain West Conference championship for the second year in a row.