GALESBURG — Carl Sandburg College’s Braedon Blackford (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) was named the NJCAA Division II Baseball Player of the Week on Tuesday after a power-packed string of games for the Chargers’ sophomore shortstop.
In seven contests from April 1-7, Blackford batted .600 (12 for 20) with five home runs, 18 RBIs and 11 runs scored while reaching base in 20 of 28 plate appearances. He finished the week with a 1.400 slugging percentage and 2.114 OPS, helping the Chargers (13-8-1 overall, 6-0 Arrowhead Conference) to a 5-2 mark.
Blackford, who had two home runs in 172 plate appearances as a freshman, picked up hits in all seven games for the Chargers, homering in four of them. Signed to play next season at Ave Maria University, Blackford drove in at least one run in all seven outings and had six multi-RBI contests.
Three of Blackford’s blasts and seven of his RBIs came in Sandburg’s conference sweep April 2 at Sauk Valley. He added a homer and three RBIs on April 3 against Illinois Central, and he did it again in the second game of a doubleheader April 6 against Kishwaukee.
For the season, Blackford is second in all of NJCAA Division II in on-base percentage (.612) and slugging percentage (1.016). His .492 average is good for fourth nationally, and his seven home runs rank 16th.
Blackford and the defending Arrowhead Conference champion Chargers will put their unbeaten league mark on the line with a doubleheader at noon Saturday at Highland.