(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Adding two more All-American awards to his resume, Montana State University Billings junior third baseman Kaleo Johnson received baseball’s top honor by both the Division II Conference Commissioners Association and the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings on Tuesday.
Johnson, who became the second All-American in school history when the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association was the first to announce its selections last week, earned second-team honors from the D2CCA and was a third-team selection from the ABCA/Rawlings. The Alameda, Calif., native is the first player in MSUB history to receive All-America recognition from all three organizations during the same season. Brody Miller was a third-team NCBWA and honorable mention D2 All-American in 2014, and followed as a third-team selection by both organizations in 2015.
Only four other players in GNAC history have been consensus All-Americans, and Johnson is the first to achieve the feat since the 2012 season.
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and unanimous first-team selection, Johnson received first-team all-region recognition from all three organizations earlier this spring. Johnson broke Miller’s MSUB single-season home runs record, as he led the GNAC with 17 and finished one shy of the league record despite starting only 41 games.
Johnson became the first player in the history of the GNAC to achieve the triple crown, as he led the league with an MSUB-record .412 batting average, 17 home runs, and 54 RBIs. His slugging percentage of .845 was a GNAC single-season record, and is the second-highest mark in the entire NCAA Division II.
One of the most effective hitters in the nation, Johnson carried an OPS of 1.343 this spring which also ranks as the second-highest mark in the entire NCAA.
Johnson is one of just five players in the NCAA D2 west region – and the only player from the GNAC – to receive All-American recognition from the ABCA. There were seven west-region selections among the D2CCA All-Americans, and Johnson was the lone representative from the GNAC on that list as well.
Zack Shannon of Delta State University, who led the NCAA with 29 home runs, was named the D2CCA Division II National Player of the Year. He is the only player in the country ahead of Johnson in both slugging percentage (.955) and OPS (1.459). Josiah Gray of LeMoyne University was the National Pitcher of the Year, with both individuals winning the top award from both the NCBWA and D2CCA. The ABCA does not select national players of the year.
The D2CCA awards are voted upon by sports information directors across the United States. The ABCA/Rawlings awards are selected by the NCAA Division II baseball coaches.
Johnson helped MSUB break the program record for wins in a season, as the ‘Jackets went 33-18 overall and won their third GNAC regular-season title in 2018.