Tuesday, June 7, 2016

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Skinner, Becker Wrap Up Successful Collegiate Careers

PALATINE, Ill. – Former Harper College baseball players Andrew Skinner and Kurt Becker wrapped up their collegiate baseball careers with outstanding senior seasons. Skinner finished his playing career at NAIA school Missouri Valley College, and Becker played at NCAA Division II school Lewis University for the last two years.

Skinner, who played for the Hawks in 2012 and 2013, had an impressive spring 2016 season for the Missouri Valley Vikings. He was named a 2016 Heart of America Athletic Conference First Team All-Conference selection at the designated hitter position. Skinner hit .341 and led the team in slugging percentage (.635), home runs (11), doubles (13), and triples (2). The senior also led the conference in RBIs (68) and RBIs per game (1.33) while playing in 50 games. 

During his junior year, Skinner hit a team-best .380 with six homers, 33 RBIs, a .595 slugging percentage, . 445 on-base percentage (OBP) and 46 hits and 38 games. He was selected Second Team All-Conference in 2015. The Vikings posted a 57-45 record in Skinner's two seasons on the team.

The Chicago native was a Second Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region selection as a sophomore in 2013 for the Hawks. Skinner hit .331 with team highs in homers (3), RBIs (31), and stolen bases (13) in 39 games. 

Academically, Skinner will continue to finish up classes in the nursing program before graduating from Missouri Valley College. 

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Andrew Skinner and Kurt Becker 2016
Former Harper baseball player Andrew Skinner (left) and Kurt Becker (right) both just wrapped up their collegiate baseball careers. (Photo Courtesy of Missouri Valley College and Steve Woltmann)
Becker, who played for the Hawks in 2013 and 2014 and was named the 2014-15 Harper College Male Athlete of the Year, also finished his college career on a high note. The senior third baseman started 46 of 47 games and hit .362 (third on team) with five homers, 31 RBIs, seven doubles, four triples (most on team), a .546 slugging percentage, and a .439 OBP. 

As a junior, he started 42 games and hit .305 with four home runs and 30 RBIs. Becker was also the recipient of the Br. David Delahanty Award, given to Lewis student-athletes for academic excellence, and named to the Academic All-GLVC Team. 

The Palatine, Illinois native had an outstanding two-year career at Harper. As a freshman, he hit .377 with two homers, 28 RBIs, 14 doubles, and three triples in 37 games and was named a Second Team All-Region Selection as well as Team MVP. 

His sophomore season (2013) smashed all expectations. He hit an outstanding .494 with three homers, 30 RBIs, 15 doubles, four triples, 14 steals, a .531 OBP, a .694 slugging percentage and also had a 24-game hitting streak and was named a 2014 NJCAA DIII Baseball Second Team All-American, the first Hawks baseball All-American since 1997. 

On top of that, Becker also earned NJCAA Div. III Player of the Week, N4C Conference MVP, First Team All-ConferenceFirst Team All-Region, Harper College Athlete of the Week, and Team MVP honors. He also was a strong student at Harper, earning N4C Academic All-Conference honors both years while also being a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He also helped out in the community as a little league coach and flag football team coach. 

Reflecting back on his Harper experience, Becker fondly remembers a few things.

"Going to Harper and being at home for two years was nice. The weights and conditioning helped me as a baseball player," he said. "I'm going to be friends with some of the guys for a while. Those friendships are fun."

This upcoming fall, he'll be student teaching at Lake Park High School in Roselle as a math teacher before officially graduating from Lewis University.

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