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Danville Dans second baseman Dan Kaczrowski, shown here turning a double play in a game against the Quincy Gems on July 30, was named the Mike Schmidt Player of the Year in CICL on Friday.

Before the CICL baseball season started, Dan Kaczrowski was just hoping he got a chance to play for the Danville Dans.

After 50 games this summer, the senior-to-be from Hamline University, an NCAA Division III school, did a little bit more than play for the Dans.

Kaczrowski finished the year with a CICL-high .389 batting average and he broke a 33-year-old record league record with 79 hits.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming in,’’ said Kaczrowski from his home in St. Anthony, Minn. “I saw all those Division I guys on the roster and I didn’t know if I would get a chance to play.

“I came in and played the game as best as I could. As the year went along, I found out that I could play with these guys.’’

On Friday, Kaczrowski received the respect of the entire CICL when he was named the Mike Schmidt Player of the Year.

“That is an incredible honor,’’ said Kaczrowski, who won the CICL player of the first half and player of the second half awards. “Especially, when you consider where I came from. No one probably knew who I was in this league before this season.’’

Kaczrowski earned the honor as he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.452) and he was second in runs (41) and stolen bases (21).

“Dan came in and played with an attitude or a chip on his shoulder,’’ Danville manager Pete Paciorek said. “He played the game the right away and he let his actions speak for themselves.’’

Kaczrowski admits that his experience this summer has fueled his aspirations of playing professional baseball.

“Coming out of high school, I was just hoping that I got a chance to play college baseball,’’ he said. “Lately, I’ve been trying to do everything right so that my college coach, Jason Verdugo, who also coaches the Evansville Otters (of the Frontier League), would help me try to get a shot at playing professionally.

“This summer was a really good test for me. Playing nearly every day, and basically, living on my own with my host family, taught me a lot about what it might be like next year.’’

So does a NCAA Division III guy have a chance in professional baseball?

“As I just told the guy with Baseball America, Dan Kaczrowski has as good of tools as anyone that I played with when I was in the minors,’’ Paciorek said. “He is definitely a guy that deserves a chance to play professionally.’’

Now that he is back home, Kacrowski has already made plans to go golfing on Sunday and fishing on Monday.

“We don’t start school for another week, so I’m going to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors of Minnesota,’’ said Kaczrowski, who wasn’t the only member of the Dans to be honored on Friday.

Danville relief pitcher Tyler Hess, who missed the final two weeks with a knee injury, was named the Top Pro Prospect in the CICL.

Hess went 4-1 with two saves and 2.84 ERA this summer for the Dans in 14 appearances.

The sophomore-to-be from Pepperdine University allowed just 12 hits in 19 innings, while striking out 17 batters.

The other big honor for Danville went to Paciorek, who was named the CICL Manager of the Year.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,’’ Paciorek said. “It’s a credit to not only myself but the three great coaches that I got to work with this summer.

“Joe Verplancke did an excellent job with our pitchers, Nick Gomez and Mack (Paciorek), my brother, did a great job with the positional players. It made my job very easy.’’

Paciorek led the Dans to a second-half CICL title with a 14-9 mark after Danville finished the first half 10-14.

Springfield Bryce Shafer and DuPage’s Brad Riegler shared the CICL Pitcher of the Year award, while Springfield’s Logan Mahon won the Galen Woods Fireman award.

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