By: Ben Adamson
St. LOUIS – Missouri State junior outfielder Dakota Kotowski is a preseason all-Missouri Valley Conference selection for the second consecutive season and the Bears are picked to finish third in the baseball standings this spring according to a vote of the league’s coaches, it was announced Wednesday.
Kotowski backed up his 2019 MVC Freshman of the Year campaign by leading Missouri State in home runs (3), RBIs (16), extra base hits (8) and slugging percentage (.500) in the abbreviated 2020 season, batting in the heart of the in all 17 games.
A native of Channahon, Ill., Kotowski clubbed 12 homers en route to Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and first-team all-MVC honors as a freshman, batting .301 with a .644 slugging percentage in conference games.
Missouri State has a veteran roster in 2021 filled with 23 players entering at least their third season of college baseball – six seniors, 15 juniors and two redshirt sophomores.
First baseman Ben Whetstone, catcher Logan Geha and pitcher Logan Wiley are all sixth-year seniors, while fifth-year outfielder Jack Duffy also elected to use the extra season of eligibility granted to spring sport athletes. Additionally, Whetstone, Wiley, Duffy, Kotowski and junior right-hander Ty Buckner have all earned postseason all-MVC honors during their MSU careers.
MSU head coach Keith Guttin enters his 39th season in charge of the Bears ranked third among active Division I coaches with 1,288 victories. Guttin trails only Paul Maineiri of LSU (1,467) and Minnesota’s John Anderson (1,325).
Dallas Baptist is the unanimous favorite to win the league, followed by Illinois State, Missouri State, Indiana State, Bradley, Southern Illinois, Evansville and Valparaiso.
The Bears are scheduled to begin the season Feb. 23 with a 3 p.m. game at Oral Roberts and hosts Central Arkansas Feb. 26-28 in the third, fourth and fifth-ever February games at Hammons Field.