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Former Billings baseball standout Cole McKenzie gets all-Big Ten recognition

Posted at 2:59 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 16:59:38-04

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Billings native Cole McKenzie was selected to the Big Ten’s all-conference baseball team, the league announce Tuesday.

McKenzie, a 2016 graduate of Billings Senior High School, just completed his first year playing at Purdue, where he had an impressive season as a utility player. McKenzie was the Boilermakers’ lone player to start all 54 games, and he spent time at first base and all three positions in the outfield. McKenzie led Purdue in batting average (.317), hits (65), walks (25), on-base percentage (.407) and stolen bases (10).

McKenzie reached base safely in 47 of 54 games and will carry a 22-game streak into next season.

After an all-state career playing American Legion Baseball with the Billings Royals, McKenzie spent his first two collegiate seasons at Yakima Valley (Wash.) College. He was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) first-team all-American in his freshman season and earned third-team all-America honors as a sophomore.

McKenzie first burst onto the Montana sports scene in 2011 when he was a key player on Billings’ Big Sky Little League All-Star Team. That team represented the Northwest Region at the Little League World Series, advancing to the LLWS championship.

Purdue posted a 20-34 overall record, including a 7-16 conference mark, on the season.