By Colton Westfall
It has been a busy year on and off the field for Linfield’s Chris Haddeland.
In the past year he led his team to a National Championship (only three runs allowed in 32.3 innings during their playoff run), was named the D3baseball.com’s 2013 Pitcher of The Year, and was nominated for the Golden Spikes Award and the Ad Rutschman Small College Male Athlete of the Year.
D3photography.com photo by Larry Radloff
The prestigious Golden Spikes Award is given to the top amateur baseball player in the country. He is the only Division III player on the list.
“It's amazing to think that I could be viewed as one of the best 60 baseball players in the country,” while reflecting on the nomination, Haddeland was quick to give credit, “Not only is it a great individual feeling, but I feel Linfield has earned respect as a quality program and being named to the watch list is a reflection of our success last year, and the total success of the program.“
As a sophomore, Haddeland was named the Opening Day starter. After a modest freshman campaign, he was confident, but no one could’ve expected the success he, and his teammates, would have. By the end of their Championship season, Haddeland had posted an impressive 15-1 record to go along with a 1.07 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 126 innings.
Looking back at the 2013 season, Haddeland is still amazed, “The National Championship was surprising. It's hard to explain how great it was. It was just a great reward for all the hard work my teammates and I put in all year. We had a large group of players who progressed from being guys who received very little playing time or were members of the J.V. squad in the 2012 season.”
The Golden Spikes Award wasn’t Haddeland’s only pre-season honor. He recently received the Oregon Sports Awards' Ad Rutschman Small College Male Athlete of the Year. The annual award is given to the top small college (non Division I) athlete in any sport.
Not one to take the spotlight, Haddeland continues to praise his team at every chance, “It's a great honor to be nominated for the Ad Rutschman award. Once again I believe this nomination comes from the success we had as a team last year. “
Born and raised a few miles from the Linfield campus, the McMinnville, Oregon native had extra motivation, “Bringing back a national title to McMinnville was one of the greatest feelings, because our community as a whole was a national champion. It was especially great to see our coaches Jim Ray (36th year coaching at Linfield) and Scott Carnahan (31st year) get their hands on a national championship.”
Haddeland set the bar high last year, but he knows there is always room to improve, “Being named National Pitcher of The Year was a great achievement, but it would be great to improve from a year ago. Really, my only goal is to help the team win every game that I am on the mound and continue to support the guys when I'm not playing.”
2013 was a whirlwind year for Haddeland and this year is shaping up to be even better. So far this season, Haddeland has posted a 4-0 record to go along with a 1.00 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 36 innings. His Wildcat’s are off to a 12-3 start. And they are in prime position to defend their trophy this May in Appleton, Wisc.
How’s that for an encore?