Drury’s senior pitcher and infielder Ryan Colombo has been named the winner of the 2017 Josh Willinhgam Award as DII baseball’s Most Valuable Player. The award is named after former University of North Alabama Lion star, Josh Willingham, and honors a player who not only excels on the diamond, but in the dugout, clubhouse and practice field as well, and leads his team to national championship caliber status. This season Colombo paced the Panthers as they finished the season 37-20, won the West Division in the Great Lakes Valley Conference going 19-9 in the league and advanced to their fifth NCAA-II tournament in the 11-year history of the program.
As a pitcher, Colombo went 9-2 with a 2.62 earned run overage and set a team record working 106.2 innings. He recorded 78 strikeouts against 33 walks as Drury won 12 of the 14 games when he was their starting pitcher. In the field, Colombo led the Panthers with a .375 batting average hitting three home runs with 33 runs batted in. He tied for the team lead with 11 doubles. Colombo played nearly every inning of Drury’s 57 games logging time at pitcher, first base, second base, and shortstop and committed just six errors during the season.
In addition, Colombo has also been named a First Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and is an All-Midwest Region selection by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings. Colombo was one of 12 finalists for the Tino Martinez Division II National Player of the Year award.
2017 JOSH WILLINGHAM AWARD FINALISTS
- Brad Baldwin, Wayne State
- Brandon Benson, Georgia College
- Jancarlos Cintron Torres, Nova Southeastern
- Ryan Colombo, Drury
- Bryant Haralson, Henderson State
- Zack Mozingo, Mount Olive
- Pablo O’Connor, Azusa Pacific
- Adrian Orozco, UC San Diego
- Joseph Pena, St. Thomas Aquinas
- Logan Porter, Dixie State
- Trevor Rucker, Southern Arkansas
- Kyle Teter, Lindenwood
- Jake Walters, Quincy
- Tim Wages, Lincoln Memorial