When the Prairie Fire baseball team succeeds, junior Drake Sykes is likely not far. Sykes had a dominant week: He led the Prairie Fire to a perfect 6-0 week via a 10-for-22 (.455) performance at the plate. He hit three home runs, four doubles, drove in 10 runs and scored 10 runs on the week. Sykes also walked six times and was instrumental in leading Knox to a series sweep of Illinois College.
For the week, he slugged 1.045 and produced an on-base percentage of .571. While the performance was not good enough to make Knox a legitimate threat to contend for the MWC tournament, Sykes’ year-round dominance and the team’s youthful core should be enough to put Knox in contention in the MWC next year.
Sykes far and away led the MWC in batting average and on base percentage, at .487 and .583 respectively, each of which is more than 40 points ahead of the next highest player. Moreover, Sykes owns the sixth-highest OBP of any MWC player in history. His season was also good enough to have the highest OBP of all DIII athletes, and the second highest batting average in DIII.
Sykes’ performance over the course of the season was good enough to earn him MWC South Player of the Year honors. Sophomore Matt McCaffrey was also named to the South Division team as a third baseman. McCaffrey hit .333 on the season, producing 28 RBI and seven doubles.