Nate Olson named NSIC Player of the Year; Jim Grimm named Coach of the Year
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
May 14, 2002

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State pitcher and second baseman Nate Olson was named 2002 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year, and head coach Jim Grimm named the league’s Coach of the Year, to headline a group of eight BSU players selected to this year’s All-NSIC Team.

Olson, a senior from Brainerd, Minn., led the Beavers in batting average (.456), on-base percentage (.544) and sacrifice flies (3), and was amongst the team’s top five in slugging percentage (.644, 3rd), runs scored (24, t-4th), hits (41, t-2nd), RBI (28, 2nd), doubles (11, 2nd), home runs (2, 5th), total bases (58, 2nd) and was one of just two BSU players to start all 30 games this year (Gunner Geller). As a pitcher, Olson was 2-2 with an 8.59 ERA and finished third on the team with 19 strikeouts. He led the squad with a 2.38:1 strikeout-walk ratio. Both of Olson’s wins came against NSIC foes.

An NSIC pre-season “player to watch,” Olson finished second in the conference (league games only) in on-base percentage (.532), sixth in doubles (7), eighth in batting average (.426), 10th in slugging percentage (.702) and 16th in RBI (17). Through games of May 5th, Olson was ranked 6th in the nation in batting average (.470).

Olson was also named BSU’s Male Athlete of the Year at the university’s annual awards banquet earlier this month. A three-time captain of the BSU squad and an All-America candidate, Olson will be playing in Australia with USA Athletes International this summer.

Grimm, in his seventh season as BSU’s head coach, helped lead the Beavers to a 19-11 record and a 13-3 finish in the NSIC. BSU’s 13 wins against NSIC foes was just one shy of the school record, and its 13-3 record was good enough to earn the No. 1 seed and hosting honors for the 2002 NSIC Championship. Grimm picked up his 90th career win at BSU in a 15-8 win over Minnesota, Crookston on April 17, and in seven years as BSU’s field general has won 96 games. Grimm has averaged 13 wins per year with the Beavers, the second-best mark of any BSU coach who has coached at least five seasons.

Joining Olson on the All-NSIC First Team are pitcher Shaun Zenner, catcher Shaun Ross, DH Derek Owen, outfielder Ben Woodford and utility player Brian Beuning. Outfielder Scott Petrowski and pitcher/outfielder Nate Heim were named Honorable Mention All-NSIC.

Zenner, a senior from Long Prairie, Minn., was the ace of the BSU pitching staff. He led the squad in wins (6), strikeouts (32) and innings pitched (44.0). In his last six starts of the year, Zenner struck out 25 batters and walked just seven. He threw a complete-game four-hit shutout against Minnesota, Morris on April 21 and struck out seven batters in a win at Minnesota, Crookston on April 17. Zenner is a two-time team captain and winner of this year’s Dan Olson Award, given to BSU’s hardest-working player who exudes the best qualities of hard work and dedication.

Ross, a sophomore catcher from Bemidji, was perhaps BSU’s finest offensive player this season. He finished second on the team in batting average (.443) and led the squad in slugging percentage (.711), base hits (43), RBI (35), doubles (14) and total bases (69). He also finished amongst the team’s top five in on-base percentage (.505, 2nd), runs scored (27, 2nd), home runs (4, 2nd), hit-by-pitch (4, t-3rd), and stolen bases (4, t-3rd). He struck out just 10 times in 97 at-bats this season, and in NSIC games only finished second in the league with a .466 batting average.

Woodford, a senior outfielder from Bemidji, was perhaps the finest leadoff hitter in the conference this season. Woodford played 28 games, and ended his 2002 season on a 26-game hitting streak, the longest by any NSIC player this year. He finished the year with a .394 batting average, led the team in runs scored (37), and finished amongst BSU’s Top 5 in slugging percentage (.452, 5th), on-base percentage (.466, 3rd), hits (41, t-2nd), total bases (47, t-3rd), and walks (13, 2nd). In NSIC games only, Woodford was third in the league in batting average (.460), fifth in on-base percentage (.521), and seventh in runs scored (22).

Woodford is now a three-time All-NSIC pick in baseball and also a two-time pick in football as a former receiver at BSU.

Owen, a senior designated hitter from Brainerd, hit .375 for the Beavers and led the team with five home runs. He was amongst the team leaders in slugging percentage (.644, 3rd), base hits (27, 5th), RBI (26, 3rd) and total bases (58, 2nd).

Beuning, a junior from Sauk Centre, Minn., who was BSU’s starting shortstop and closer this year, was fifth on the team with a .361 batting average and was 3-2 with a 2.30 ERA and a team-high four saves as a relief pitcher. He had a 17-game hitting streak snapped in BSU’s season finale in the NSIC Tournament and hit safely in 22 of the 26 games he played this season. As a pitcher, Beuning did not allow more than three hits in any of his 11 appearances, and earned two wins and two saves against NSIC foes. He struck out 15 batters and walked only seven; his K:BB ratio of 2.14:1 was second-best on the team.

Petrowski, a senior outfielder from Roseau, Minn. and Heim, a junior pitcher/outfielde from Kelliher, Minn., were named Honorable Mention All-NSIC.

Petrowski hit .293 for the Beavers with 21 RBI and 19 runs scored. He finished amongst the BSU leaders in slugging percentage (.507), on-base percentage (.411), RBI (21) and home runs (3). He hit two home runs against Wayne State on April 13, the first BSU player to accomplish that feat in the last four years, and had a grand slam against Robert Morris on March 13.

Heim hit .263 in 19 at-bats as a position player, but finished 4-1 as a pitcher in eight appearances (five starts). He led the Beavers in ERA at 4.42, allowing just 18 earned runs in 36.2 innings pitched. Heim threw a complete game against UM-Morris on April 20, allowing just one run on three hits. In his last five appearances of the season, Heim was 3-1 with a save.

Bemidji State finished its 2002 campaign at 19-11 overall, and was the No. 1 seed in the NSIC Championship.