OMAHA, Neb. -- Bellevue University senior JT Patterson has been named the Midlands Men's Athlete of the Year by the Omaha World-Herald.
Patterson led the Bruins to a 48-16 overall record and 23-1 mark in NSAA play. The Bruins closed the year by winning 41 of their final 44 games en route to earning the program's 14th Avista NAIA World Series Appearance. BU claimed both the NSAA Regular-Season and Tournament Titles before going on to win the NAIA Opening Round – Shreveport Bracket.
In earning the award, Patterson edged out four other finalists from around the state including; Ryan Garver (Nebraska Wesleyan, Men's Basketball, first team NCAA Division III All-American), Lyle Hexon (Peru State, Men's Basketball, first team NAIA Division I All-American), Matt Malcolm (Nebraska-Kearney, Wrestling, NCAA Division II National Champion), and Drew Smith (Northeast CC, Baseball, first team NJCAA Division II All-American).
A first team NAIA All-American and the North Star Athletic Association's Player of the Year, Patterson slashed .367/.467/.752 with 38 extra-base hits, including a BU-record 24 home runs, and another Bruin single-season record 91 RBI.
He hit even better in conference play with a .422/.490/.933 slash line over 24 games, as 13 of his 19 extra-base hits were home runs. He totaled 52 RBI (2.2 per game) and scored 36 runs against league foes.
On three separate occasions this season, Patterson hit three home runs in a single game. He did so in back-to-back games against Valley City State (Apr. 7) and Dakota State (Apr. 9) as well as against Waldorf (Apr. 28) to become the first NAIA player to record three three-home run games in a single season.
In addition to his trio of three-homer games, he also hit two home runs in a pair of games: Mar. 20 against Midland and against Valley City State in the NSAA Championship Game on May 6.
Patterson picked up a myriad of awards on the season:
- Omaha World-Herald
- Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska Honorary Captain
- Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska
- First team NAIA All-American
- First team ABCA/Rawlings All-American
- NSAA Player of the Year
- First team all-NSAA
- NSAA Gold Glove (Third Base)
- NSAA Player of the Week (Mar. 4, Apr. 22, Apr. 29)