NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - For the first time in three seasons, the Northwestern State baseball team has a first-team representative on the preseason All-Southland Conference Team.
Right-handed pitcher Jerry Maddox, the 2018 SLC Newcomer of the Year, leads a trio of Demons selected to the preseason all-conference squad by the 13 conference head coaches.
Maddox is joined on the two 13-player teams by teammates Ridge Heisler (pitcher) and J.P Lagreco (designated hitter), both of whom were second-team selections.
A Dayton, Texas, product, Maddox turned in a sparkling Demons debut season after transferring from San Jacinto College. Maddox went 8-3 with a Southland-leading 1.88 ERA in his junior season and was named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and a second-team All-Southland selection.
Maddox is the first Demon to earn first-team preseason all-conference honors since right-handed pitcher Adam Oller and outfielder Cort Brinson did so in 2016.
In addition to ranking 14th nationally in ERA, Maddox also led the Southland in opponents batting average (.182) and in hits allowed per nine innings (5.65). His 1.06 WHIP ranked third in the conference and 62nd nationally.
Maddox earned the win in Northwestern State’s 9-0 NCAA Regional victory against San Diego State, tossing six scoreless innings as the Demons posted the first regional shutout in program history.
Heisler, a left-hander from Mangham and LSU-Eunice, took over the Friday night starter’s role midway through the conference season and responded with 12 straight scoreless innings in his first two starts, including a two-hit shutout of Southeastern Louisiana on April 14.
A third-team all-conference selection, Heisler did not allow an earned run in his first 12 innings as a Demon, earning two of his seven wins. Heisler finished the season 7-3 with a 3.40 ERA and led Northwestern State with 77 strikeouts.
Heisler was named the pitcher on the SLC All-Defensive Team, handling all 30 chances without committing an error.
Lagreco was a third-team all-conference selection in his first season in a Northwestern State uniform, capping it by capturing the inaugural Southland Conference Tournament Home Run Derby championship in a swing-off.
A product of Northshore High School and Delgado Community College, Lagreco posted a .279/.391/.382 slash line while drawing 20 hit by pitches, the second-highest single-season total in program history.
Lagreco finished second on the team in doubles (12), third in RBIs (37) and fourth in home runs (4).
Northwestern State opens its 2019 season Feb. 15 at Houston in the first of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.