Announcing 31st Annual All-Pavlovich Team 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — Introducing my 31st annual All-Pavlovich team, a remarkable collection of unique people and animals in the game.

Co-Head Coach Of The Year
Tom Walter, Wake Forest
Tom Walter is simply one of the most amazing coaches the game has ever seen.

In my book, he is better than Superman because of everything he has endured in his life and what he has meant to his players and fellow coaches.

This is a man who previously was the skipper at the University of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in late August of 2005.

The University of New Orleans was shut down for over two months and couldn’t start again until mid-October. Walter evacuated his 38 players as well as coaches and families prior to the storm hitting.

His entire team ultimately made it to New Mexico St in Las Cruces, N.M. to spend the semester before coming back to New Orleans.

This remarkable person is the same man who donated his kidney to a freshman baseball player on his team at Wake Forest.

Earlier in his career as the head baseball coach at George Washington University, he led his program to great success despite not having a home field. Imagine having all 56 games each spring on the road.

His amazing life was chronicled in the Jan. 3, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball, and I am proud to make him the co-head coach of my 2020 team.

Co-Head Coach Of The Year
Rob Klein, USC
Rob is one of the greatest coaches in college baseball history.

He was an assistant for 22 years with Coach Mike Gillespie (three years at College of The Canyons and 19 more at the University of Southern California).

He also served as a detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for 32 years.

For 19 years, he drove 55 miles to USC from his home in Acton, Calif. and back again after practices or games — a round trip of 110 miles.

His skills at picking pitches were legendary as he coached first base.

Nobody in college or pro baseball has ever been as good at it.

Klein coached over 1,200 games in his career, and he estimated that he was able to pick 50-60 percent of opposing pitchers in his coaching career which gave his hitters thousands of pitches to hit that they knew were coming.

He did it all legally with his eyes as he broke down every movement of pitchers. He also watched to see if catchers were showing signs or if infielders were shading batters on certain pitches or giving signs to outfielders on what pitches were coming.

Klein gave an in-depth look at everything he did to pick signs in a special story in the Feb. 7, 2020 edition.

National Player Of Year
SS Nick Gonzales, New Mexico St.
Nick Gonzales of New Mexico St. is Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of The Year.

He hit.448 with 12 HR, 3 2B, 36 RBI and 21 walks (10 intentional).

Defensively, he is undoubtedly the top shortstop in the nation.

In 16 games, Gonzales only committed two errors in 71 chances and made every play you can imagine.

Plus, I guarantee you that you won’t find a better human being than Nick on any level of baseball.

Nick finished the season ranked in the top five in the nation in 10 categories: home runs (1st), home runs per game (3rd), runs (1st), runs batted in (1st), runs batted in per game (1st), total bases (1st), slugging percentage (2nd), on-base percentage (3rd), walks (4th) and walks per game (5th).

At one point, he hit 12 home runs in only 48 at-bats over 13 games and was on pace to hit 50 homers.

Team Mascot
Bulldog
I will never forget John Scolinos, Hall of Fame coach at Cal Poly Pomona, telling me years ago that the world is filled with different types of players.

“There are a lot of puppy dogs and hot dogs with a few bulldogs scattered among the group,” said Scolinos

“We want the bulldogs.”

 I have another important reason to pick bulldogs as my team mascot. John Madden was without a doubt the best NFL color man in the history of television years ago when he worked on CBS.

I have always been a big fan of his and purchased his book One Size Doesn’t Fit All back in 1988.

There is a chapter that talks about how fond he was of English bulldogs that he owned.

There was one that stood out above the rest called Boss, a 60-pound giant.

At times he was hell on wheels as Boss would chew up whatever was in the backyard — hoses, a chunk of the diving board, a slab of fence.

The book pointed out that one time he even chewed through the fence and went into the neighbor’s backyard and chewed up a few items. The neighbors had Boss thrown in the dog pound as John Madden received a police citation.

“That wasn’t the only citation,” said Madden.

“Some people put pictures of their kids on the refrigerator. We put Boss’ citations up there.”

One time Boss attacked a power edger that trimmed the edge of the grass next to the sidewalk. He chewed the edger to a stop.

“His mouth was all blood, but he didn’t care. He had stopped that edger,” said Madden.

Another time when Madden’s wife Virginia took Boss for a walk in Central Park near their New York apartment, Boss noticed a street person on one of the benches and pulled Virginia that way.

She thought Boss wanted to be petted. Unfortunately the dog walked over to him and lifted his leg.

OF Clay Engel
Drury University
In the summer of 2017, Engel nearly died.

He suffered a skull fracture, fractured vertebra and leg injuries which required skin grafts after he had a serious hiking accident as he fell off a bluff on a mountain near Estes Park, Colo.

Completely alone, he was unconscious for about six hours. Once he woke up, he had to walk down the mountain about a mile which was astonishing since he could barely walk.

Incredibly, Engel recovered over time after surgical procedures and played during the 2019 season at Drury as he hit .337 with 21 doubles, 12 homers, 5 triples, 61 RBI and stole 12 of 13 bases in 54 games.

He played in 20 games during the 2020 season before the season was stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is no question Clayton is one of my All-Pavlovich outfielders because of everything he went through. He is tough as nails.

OF Josh Elvir
Angelo State
Elvir is one of those amazing stories you never forget.

The rightfielder for Angelo State was cut at the University of Houston as the Cougars were about to begin the 2018 season.

Given a second chance at Angelo State in 2019, he was the NCAA Div. II National Player of The Year as he hit .458 in 55 games with 20 homers, 17 doubles, 81 RBI and stole 11 of 12 bases as he was walked 50 times and had an on-base percentage of .584.

He started out on fire in 2020. Over 22 games, he hit .438 with 11 homers, 10 doubles, 30 RBI and swiped 15 of 17 bases with 27 walks.

Ultimate Clutch Hitters
U.S. Naval Academy
Every team needs to manufacture runs when it seems impossible to do it against great pitching.

I’m going with Navy to help me out with this problem.

Three Penn State pitchers combined to no-hit Navy.

But the Midshipmen made the most of their base runners and managed to defeat Penn State, 2-1 in the bottom of the 11th.

RHP Bailey Dees, LHP Tyler Shingledecker and RHP Mason Mellot combined on the 10th no-hitter in Penn State history.

However, Navy drew five walks, moved base runners and took advantage of late errors to scratch across two runs while scattering eight Penn State hits.

In the 11th inning, Navy had its leadoff batter reach on an error.

He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on another throwing error for the unusual walk-off victory.

To read more of the June 12, 2020 edition or subscribe, CLICK HERE. This edition of Collegiate Baseball includes the 50 greatest moments in College World Series history, a special feature on our National Player of The Year Nick Gonzales of New Mexico St., our All-American teams and Freshmen All-Americans. Plus, we take a look at the most dangerous trip to an NCAA Regional in history as Gonzaga navigated a wild drive through volcanic ash in 1980 after Mount St. Helens erupted. In addition, we take a look at the latest on College Summer Leagues, our National Coach of The Year Mike Bianco of Ole Miss, a special instructional clinic by Gary Ward and much more.