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SMALL COLLEGES: Daggs enjoys stellar diamond career at University of the Ozarks

by Kevin Taylor | May 21, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.

Ryan Daggs long ago left his stamp on the College of the Ozarks' baseball program.

But even those with a lot of statuses have days they'd prefer to forget. Such was the case in last week's 4-3 loss to Baptist Bible (Mo.)

Daggs, who is currently hitting .392 with 37 extra-base hits, wasn't able to shut the door in last week's 4-3 loss to Bible College. Daggs struck out four times for the first time in his career and, despite getting two outs, allowed a two-out RBI single that proved to be the game-winner.

Daggs has struck out just 33 times in 232 plate appearances. A two-way player, Daggs has smacked 16 home runs and legged out 21 doubles.

For his career, the Central Southwest Conference standout has slugged 50 career home runs. The third baseman/pitcher, who played with Connor Noland and was part of Greenwood's 2018 state championship team, earned accolades at the 2019 NCCAA World Series, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team, NCAA Region All-Tournament Team, and A.I.I. second-team all-conference.

After two shortened seasons in 2020-21, Daggs earned first-team all-conference as a junior, smacking 17 home runs, driving in 64 runs, and boasting a .349 batting average. In all, Daggs has 219 career hits, and 50 career home runs, and is 15-3 with eight saves in 44 career appearances.

Daggs started 55 of 59 games during the 2019 campaign but had just 15 hits (15-for-70) while appearing in just 23 games in the covid-riddled seasons of 2020-21.

Wilkerson adjusting to new role

It's been a season of adjustments for former Van Buren baseball standout Landrey Wilkerson. With the good, there was some disappointment.

Wilkerson entered the final weekend for the Ragin Cajuns' baseball team batting .300 (3-for-10) with a home run and two RBIs. It's a far cry from his previous three seasons at Crowder College. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette junior has also appeared in five games as a left-handed specialist, allowing five earned runs in four innings (11.75 earned run average).

But it's baseball. And, despite appearing in 14 games (starting twice), Wilkerson and the Ragin' Cajuns started the final weekend of Sun Belt Conference play boasting a 35-18 record and a 17-10 SBC mark.

A former Van Buren standout, Wilkerson spent three seasons at Crowder College (Mo.), where he was a 2021 National Junior College Athletic Association All-American. He hit .308, smacked 10 home runs, legged out 20 doubles, and had 58 RBIs in 2022.

In all, Wilkerson hit 36 home runs in parts of three seasons with the Roughriders.

Martin ends season on streak

Former Alma Lady Airedale great Makenzie Martin will carry a nine-game hitting streak into the 2024 season. Martin hit .379 over the course of the nine-game streak, including home runs against Seminole State College, Northeastern Oklahoma and Rose State.

Martin was among seven Mountaineers named to the NJCAA Region 2 team, including first-team members Braleigh King and Greenlee Wells.

Martin finished the season with a two-run homer in her final at-bat in last week's 6-2 loss to rose State. She hit 11 home runs and drove in 46 runs, third on the team behind Wells (59) and King (56).

Earlier this season, Martin had a pair of eight-game hitting streaks.

In addition to her .392 batting average, Martin has struck out just 13 times in 152 plate appearances.

On the mound, the right-hander finished the season with an 18-9 record, including 114 strikeouts and a very nice 3.60 earned run average. She started 26 of the 30 games she appeared in, and had 19 complete games.

Johnson earns postseason honor

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith pitcher Brayden Johnson was honored by the Lone Star Conference for his work in the 2023 baseball season. Teammate Jakob Petross was also named to the All-LSC Academic team.

Johnson, an Alma native, was named second-team All-LSC.

Petross was second to Johnson in both innings pitched (55), strikeouts (51) and appearances (18). Johnson led the Lions with four wins in 13 starts, finishing Lone Star Conference play with a 4.03 earned run average. He was sixth in innings pitched (76) and sixth in strikeouts (84).

The hard-throwing right-hander tied his own record with 13 strikeouts in the Lions' season opener against East Central, where he tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.

Johnson was named the LSC Pitcher of the Week for his effort, and was the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week as well. He had two complete games and went at least five innings in 13 starts.

Carroll goes on dinger run

Reed Carroll finished his Carl Albert State College baseball career on a strong note by smacking six homers in his final 11 games. He also earned some accolades.

Carroll and teammate Preston Curtis, who combined for 38 home runs, were both named First-Team All-Region.

This week, Carroll officially Oklahoma Christian University next season, scored at least one run in 14 of his final 17 games. He also hit .392 over his final 13 games (11-28).

In all, the 2021 Greenwood grad hit a career-high 14 home runs and drove in 36 runs for the Vikings this past season.

Carroll was second in home runs to Curtis. The native Texan (Flower Mound) hit 23 homers and drove in 73 runs for CACS this season. He'll continue his career next spring at Central Arkansas.

Cartwright finishes strong in circle

Former Greenwood softball standout Kaila Cartwright threw four solid innings in her final 2023 appearance for the Golden Suns last week.

This week, she was one of five Golden Suns named to the Great American Conference All-Academic team.

The redshirt senior allowed one earned run and just two hits over four innings during the Golden Suns' 4-0 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma at the Great American Conference softball tournament in Bentonville.

Cartwright (11-3 for her career) closed out her career by allowing just four earned runs over the final 27 innings of work dating back to March 27. In the process, she lowered her earned run average to 2.24.

Cartwright (4-1) earned a pair of wins during an 11-day stretch in April, including a four-inning, one-hit effort during a 7-0 win over East Central on April 15. Earlier, Cartwright worked 2 ⅔ innings of relief during Arkansas Tech's 8-7 win over Southern Arkansas.

Extra Bases

The University of the Ozarks has accepted an offer of membership into the NCAA Div. III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) effective for the 2024-25 academic year. Ozarks will join fellow American Southwest Conference (ASC) foe Concordia University (Texas) to give the SCAC 10 schools. The Eagles were a co-founding member of the ASC in 1996. After moving into the SCAC, Ozarks will reunite with former ASC institutions Austin College (Texas), University of Dallas, Schreiner University (Texas) and Texas Lutheran University. ... Abigail Woodring (Greenwood) finished her John Brown tennis career with a 10-5 doubles record. Woodring, who led Greenwood to a pair of conference championships while in high school, teamed up with Lin Xin Tan. The duo won their final collegiate match against Missouri Valley. Woodring won three singles matches this spring, too. Former Booneville standout Randon Ray has announced he's transferring to Carl Albert State College. ... Derek Hatcher (Alma) has signed with Arkansas State-Mountain Home. ...Lexi Trejo (Van Buren) finished her junior season at Henderson State with a .298 batting average. She appeared in 19 games. ... Harding University's Drake Carnley (Waldron) placed 7th at the Great American Conference track meet in the 400 hurdles.

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