by Ken Babcock


HOUGHTON, N.Y. – Five members of the Houghton baseball team have earned All-Conference honors from the Empire 8 Conference following the 2021 season in voting by the E8 coaches announced Tuesday.

In addition, Head Coach Brian Reitnour and his assistants, Brandon Gettig, Tom Kenney and Michael Ritter, have been named the Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year.

David Wessells and Wayne Rode were each named to the All-E8 First Team, while Jason Kauffeldt, Dylan Boprey and Ryan Newtown were All-E8 Second Team selections.

Wessells wrapped up his Highlanders career with his fourth-straight first team honor. He was second on the team in batting average (.361) and led the team in runs (40), hits (48) and stolen bases (20). He finished the campaign with nine doubles and 14 RBI. Wessells finished his career as Houghton's all-time leader in runs scored (136), hits (191), total bases (258), walks (93), on-base percentage (.456) and stolen bases (73). He also finished second in doubles, triples and batting average.

Rode had a strong finish to his career, leading the team in batting average (.434), home runs (7), total bases (81) and RBIs (38). He added 35 runs, nine doubles and four triples. He finished his career with a program-record 10 home runs.

Boprey's first season in a Highlander uniform was a success. The second baseman hit .270, with 30 hits and 21 runs scored. He tied for the team lead in triples with six and added 24 RBI. Defensively, he finished with a .962 fielding percentage and was part of 13 double plays.

Kauffeldt had a breakout second season for Houghton. He hit .256 with 32 runs and 31 hits, producing five doubles, one triple and two home runs. He added 30 RBI and stole 18 of 20 bases. From his outfield position, he had a fielding percentage of .949, tallying 70 putouts in 78 chances.

Newtown was the team's ace on the mound. The first-year player led the team with a 7-1 record and a 4.16 ERA in 14 appearances. The seven wins is a single season team record. He produced four complete games and tallied one save in relief. He totaled 30 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched and held opponents to a .273 batting average.

Reitnour and his staff led the Highlanders to a program record 20 wins. The Highlanders finished the regular season with an 11-9 record in league play and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, before losing in a three-game series in the E8 semifinals. It is the first time that Reitnour and his staff earned E8 Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

In addition, Kauffeldt was Houghton's representative on the 2021 Empire 8 Baseball Sportsman of the Year Team. The Empire 8 Conference emphasizes that "Competing with Honor and Integrity" is an essential component of a student-athlete's experience in conjunction with an institution's educational mission. These honorees have distinguished themselves and consistently exhibit the critical traits as outstanding sportsmen.