(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - The USA South Athletic Conference has announced its 2017 All-Conference awards for baseball. LaGrange College nearly swept the individual awards as Casey Bell was named Player of the Year, Ryan Broaderick earned Pitcher of the Year, Richie Post collected Rookie Pitcher of the Year while David Kelton was named Coach of the Year. Rounding out the individual honors was Ferrum College's Dominick Claxton who grabbed Rookie of the Year honors. Also, the USA South recognized an All-Sportsmanship Team, consisting of one member from each competing school.
All honors were determined by votes from the baseball coach at each institution.
Bell, a senior designated hitter from Port Orange, Florida becomes the second consecutive Panther to earn Player of the Year as his teammate Blake Butcher was the honoree a year ago. Bell currently has a League-leading 153 at-bats and 58 hits while he is tied for the most RBI (42) and doubles (12). Bell has amassed a .379 batting average, a .400 on-base percentage and a .542 slugging percentage with 41 runs scored which is second in the Conference. For his efforts, he earns First Team All-Conference accolades for the first time as he was a second team and honorable mention honoree in previous seasons. Finally, he was named USA South Player of the Week twice this spring.
Broaderick, a junior from Seminole, Florida becomes the first Panther to earn USA South Pitcher of the Year honors in the sport of baseball. He currently has a perfect 7-0 record in ten starts on the mound. In 62.1 innings pitched, Broaderick has established a 2.02 ERA and is third in the USA South with 58 strikeouts while opponents are batting .223 against him. In USA South-only action, Broaderick compiled a 4-0 record in six starts with a 1.45 ERA and 34 strikeouts. This season, he collects his second consecutive First Team All-Conference honor as a starting pitcher. Finally, Broaderick was named USA South Pitcher of the Week once this year.
Claxton, a freshman outfielder from Carollton, Virginia, becomes just the third Panther to earn USA South Rookie of the Year accolades in baseball. He currently leads the League with 21 stolen bases and has compiled a .310 batting average, a .396 on-base percentage with a .388 slugging percentage this season. Claxton has totaled 36 hits and 31 runs scored which ranks 11th in the Conference. In USA South-only action, he swiped a Conference-high 15 bases and scored a co-League high 22 runs. For his efforts, Claxton collects Second Team All-Conference accolades as an outfielder.
A freshman pitcher from Fayetteville, Georgia, Post becomes the first Panther to earn USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Year honors in the sport of baseball. He has posted a 3-1 record in six appearances, four of which were starts. In 24.2 innings pitched, Post has compiled a 2.19 ERA with 27 strikeouts which equates to a 9.85 strikeouts per nine innings average. He has currently faced 91 total batters, walking just six of them.
In his fourth season at LaGrange, Kelton becomes the first Panther baseball head coach to earn USA South Coach of the Year. Kelton has led his squad to the program's sixth 30-win season in the 33 years of LaGrange baseball. Currently, the Panthers sport a 31-4 record and are ranked third in all of NCAA Division III. In Conference play, LaGrange posted a 16-2 record, earning the program's first USA South regular season title. The 16 USA South wins are the most since joining the League in 2013. The Panthers now head into the USA South tournament as the top-seeded team.
|Player of the Year||Pitcher of the Year||Rookie of the Year||Rookie Pitcher of the Year||Coach of the Year|
The 2017 USA South Baseball All-Conference Team:
|First Team||Second Team||Honorable Mention|
|1B - Caleb Bloye, Covenant
2B - Ty Comer, Ferrum
3B - Blake Butcher, LaGrange
SS - Tavin Thompson, LaGrange
C - Forrest Hunter, Covenant
DH/Util. - Casey Bell, LaGrange
OF - Brady Ballstadt, Piedmont
OF - Lane Deaver, Ferrum
OF - Blane Swift, LaGrange
SP - Ryan Broaderick, LaGrange
SP - Hunter Peck, Ferrum
RP - Jonathan Fleckenstein, LaGrange
|1B - Tony Sanchez, N.C. Wesleyan
2B - Andrew Henry, Maryville
3B - Taylor Fought, Huntingdon
SS - Wes Powell, Huntingdon
C - Tim Ortega, Ferrum
DH/Util. - Nate Gardner, N.C. Wesleyan
OF - Dominick Claxton, Ferrum
OF - Luke Harvey, Covenant
OF - James Poropatic, LaGrange
SP - Ryan Grant, N.C. Wesleyan
SP - Andrew Weekley, LaGrange
RP - Joe Jones, Maryville
|1B - Alec Allred, William Peace
2B - Brad Pennington, N.C. Wesleyan
3B - Alex Scott, William Peace
SS - Matthias Carter, Methodist
C - Brandon Wheat, N.C. Wesleyan
OF - Zach Langley, Piedmont
OF - Luis Palencia, N.C. Wesleyan
OF - Bryce Redaja, Maryville
SP - Trevor Pence, William Peace
|Hunter Ashworth, Averett
Forrest Hunter, Covenant
Dillon Weaver, Ferrum
Bram Johnson, Greensboro
C.J. Sauce, Huntingdon
Cain Sauls, LaGrange
Sam Jokerst, Maryville
Will May, Methodist
Donielle Totten, N.C. Wesleyan
Nathan Holt, Piedmont
Brian Willis, William Peace