(HCC Sports Information) Thursday, June 28, 2017 - For the second time in four seasons, the Hutchinson Community College Baseball Team has produced an NJCAA National Player of the Year.
One week after being named a first-team All-American, Blue Dragon sophomore second baseball Michael Helman was named the 2017 ABCA/ NJCAA Division I National Player of the Year on Thursday.
Helman produced one of the most extraordinary seasons in not only Blue Dragon Baseball history, but in Jayhawk Conference history. He led the NJCAA in four major offensive categories and broke numerous Hutchinson single-season and career records.
The sophomore second baseman from Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln Pius X High School) joins Kyle Simonds as Blue Dragon Baseball players who've earned national player of the year honors. In 2014, Simonds was the NJCAA Division I National Pitcher of the Year.
Helman is the sixth Blue Dragon Athlete to be named a National Player of the Year, the second in 2017.
Helman joins Eugene Kinlaw (Football National Defensive Player of the Year in 1988), Kadeem Allen (Men's Basketball NJCAA and NABC National Player of the Year in 2014), Simonds, Sarah Rothe (NFCA National Softball Catcher of the Year in 2015) and Skahur Juiston (2017 NJCAA and NABC Men's Basketball National Player of the Year).
Helman was also the 2017 Jayhawk West Most Valuable Player and first-team all-conference and all-Region VI. As a freshman, Helman was first-team All-Jayhawk West and All-Region VI. He was also named the 2016 NBCA/Rawlings National Gold Glove winner at second base.
Helman's tremendous season led the 2017 Blue Dragons to the Jayhawk West championship and the program's highest national ranking ever at No. 3. Hutchinson also had a record-tying 47 victories in a 47-13 season.
Helman broke six Hutchinson single-season records during the 2017 season. He also became the Blue Dragon program leader in five different categories and made some Jayhawk Conference history along the way. He also led the nation in four statistical categories.
Helman hit an NJCAA-leading .487 with a national-leading 111 total hits. He also led the nation with 103 runs scored and 189 total bases. In addition to those four Blue Dragon season records, he set the record for singles with 72 and produced a program-best 25-game hitting streak.
During that streak, Helman was 54 for 97 (.557 batting average) with 48 runs, nine doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 33 RBIs with 18 stolen bases. He had an on-base percentage of .627 and a slugging percentage of 1.062 in that hitting streak. It tied for the fourth-longest hitting streak in Jayhawk Conference history.
Helman hit safely in 54 of 60 games played with 38 multi-hit games (22 2-hit, 13 3-hit and three 4-hit games) and 19 multi-RBI games (he had five RBIs in a game three times). Helman also reached base in 45 consecutive games. Helman's batting average was at or better than .500 for 55 consecutive days (41 games), peaking at .538 after a 2 for 3 game against Colby on March 13 at Hobart-Detter Field.
Helman was incredibly consistent against both right-handed and left-handed pitching with a .500 batting average against lefties and a .483 average against right-handers. Helman hit .565 with runners in scoring position and .494 in two-out situations with a team-high 43 two-out RBIs.
For the season Helman also had 17 doubles, five triples and 17 home runs, which tied Tim Olson (1999) for third most in program single-season history. Helman also walked 34 times and was hit with 11 pitches while striking out only 13 times in 228 at-bats.
Helman's name appears in the Top 5 of 11 different Blue Dragon single-season statistical categories.
Helman's 103 runs scored ranked second in Jayhawk Conference history. His 111 total hits ranked No. 4 in the Jayhawk Conference single-season record books.
Helman also became the first Jayhawk Conference baseball player ever to reach 200 career hits. His 167 career runs scored were a Jayhawk Conference record. His .452 career batting average is eighth-best in Jayhawk Conference history.
Helman will play at Texas A&M next season.