Sports

Former Federal Way-area shortstop named D-2 All-American

Central Washington University shortstop Jamie Nilsen is officially an All-American baseball player. The Thomas Jefferson High School graduate has been named a Division II First Team All-American by both Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA). Nilsen just finished his senior season for the Wildcats.

Nilsen, one of the Wildcats’ co-captains and two-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Player of the Year (2007 and 2008), was chosen to the first team All-American squad on two of the three All-American teams. The Daktronics Inc. team is voted upon by sports information directors nationwide, while the NCBWA squad is selected by a committee of voters who also rank teams regionally and nationally throughout the season.

As a senior, Nilsen finished with a .468 batting average — the third-highest average in the nation at the NCAA Division II level entering the national tournament.

He was the offensive catalyst on a Wildcat squad that finished 30-21 overall and 20-12 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play for a second-place finish.

In addition to his batting average, Nilsen set four other single-season conference records including slugging percentage (.780), on-base percentage (.557), total bases (145), and hit by pitch (25). He finished his career as the only four-year first-team all-conference selection in the history of the GNAC and set virtually every offensive record in the baseball history of Central Washington University.

Nilsen, who was also previously named the Daktronics and NCBWA Division II West Region Player of the Year, and on May 10 was named the 2007-08 CWU Male Athlete of the Year, will now await the 2008 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft that takes place Thursday and Friday.

“There were a number of scouts who watched him play, talked to him, and have talked to his coaches this year,” said Jim Nilsen, Jamie’s dad and a teacher and coach at Todd Beamer.

“So we are crossing our fingers, as he would like to give it a shot even if it was just for one year.”

Only one Central Washington player, former first baseman Brian Viafore, has been drafted previously during the Wildcats’ seven years at the NCAA Division II level. Viafore was selected in the 28th round of the 2003 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

One of Nilsen’s former teammates, Troy Martin (2004-05), did sign a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay and played for one season in the Rays’ farm system.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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