The Appalachian Athletic Conference announced the baseball regular season awards. Bryan Head Coach Taylor Hasty was named the AAC Coach of the Year. Kenny Knudsen was voted the Freshman of the Year. DeWayne Boyd, Tanner Brown, Shane Clawson, and Tyler Latham were all selected to the All-Conference 1st Team. Boyd and Clawson were also named to the Gold Glove Team. Kevin Layne and Adam Sanders were selected to the All-Conference Second Team. Steven Brown, Jordan Day, Josh Harris, Kemonte Keesee, and Andrew Smith made the All-Academic Team.
Bryan Head Coach Taylor Hasty was selected as the AAC Baseball Coach of the Year. Coach Hasty led the team to 39 wins in the regular season this year and a second-place finish in the AAC. He has built the program up in the four years that he has been here, taking it from the bottom of the conference with single-digit wins to the top of the conference with 39 wins. Hasty commented, “It is a great honor for me to be recognized by my fellow coaches in the AAC. I am a member of a great conference of coaches who have done an excellent job with their teams and it is a great privilege for me to be chosen by men whom I admire and respect. This award is a tribute to the work of our players both on and off the field as well as Coach Deal and Coach McAuley. This award is a program award, earned by the hard work of our Bryan Baseball Family.”
Pitcher Kenny Knudsen was voted the Freshman of the Year. He pitched in 40.1 innings over 23 games. In appearances with decisions on the line, he finished the season with a 3-1 record and had 2 saves. Knudsen had a team low 1.79 earned run average. Out of 145 batters faced he struck out 40 batters, walked just 20, gave up only 26 hits, and gave up just 8 earned runs. “It has been a lot of fun watching Kenny pitch this season. He has worked very hard to pitch at a high level and that has been rewarded each time he has taken the mound. To be Freshman of the Year in our conference is a difficult accomplishment, but one he deserves,” said Hasty.
Senior Catcher DeWayne Boyd was voted on to the All-Conference 1st Team and the Gold Glove Team. He was one of two catchers named to the All-Conference Team and the only catcher on the Gold Glove Team. Boyd was tied for the best fielding percentage in the nation and in the conference with a 1.00 fielding percentage. He was 8th in the conference in putouts, and 9th in chances. Boyd also did well with the stick as he was 9th in the conference with 10 home runs on the season and 11th in the conference with a .579 slugging percentage. “DeWayne is the first player to ever repeat as an All-AAC winner here at Bryan and it is rightly deserved,” stated Hasty. “He is a great catcher and has done a great job offensively for us this season, and his sweep of the catching awards (All-Conference and Gold Glove) is verification that he has been the best catcher in our conference the past two seasons!”
Shane Clawson, the Lions’ senior center fielder, was named to the All-Conference 1st Team (1 of 4 outfielders) and the center fielder on the Gold Glove Team. He led the team in batting average with .372 (10th in AAC), slugging percentage with .644 (6th in AAC), hits with 59 (4th in AAC), runs batted in with 59 (5th in AAC and 17th in NAIA), home runs with 11 (tied for 5th in AAC), and total bases with 123 (4th in AAC and 21st in NAIA). Clawson’s 15 doubles on the season landed him in a tie for the 4th most in the conference. He stole 29 bases which was 4th most in the AAC and 25th most in the NAIA. Clawson also did well defensively as he had a fielding percentage of .983 which was tied for the 15th best percentage in the conference. “Shane has consistently been one of the top outfielders in the AAC throughout his career and deservedly won not only All-AAC but also the Gold Glove for the best center fielder. He will go down as one of the great players in Bryan Baseball History!” voiced Hasty.
Senior Pitcher Tanner Brown was one of four starting pitchers in the AAC to make the All-Conference 1st Team. He pitched in 13 games and finished the season with a 9-3 record. His nine wins were tied for the most in the conference and were the 17th most in the nation. Brown was 3rd in the AAC in innings pitched with 73 and 4th in innings pitched per game at 5.62. Brown was 5th best in earned run average at 2.96 and earned runs allowed at 24. He had the 8th lowest opponent batting average in the conference at .240 and 8th lowest hits allowed per game at 8.51. Hasty said, “Consistency has been Tanner’s mantra all year. He set the record for wins in a season here at Bryan and led the conference in wins. I am proud of his senior season as a leader on the mound for our club.”
Sophomore Tyler Latham was the second baseman chosen for the All-Conference 1st Team. He led the Lions in runs scored with 52 (5th in the AAC), home runs with 11 (tied for 5th most in AAC), and triples with 4 (tied for 3rd in AAC). Latham was 7th in the conference in total bases with 113 and 8th in runs batted in with 46. He finished the regular season with 9th best in hits with 62 and 10th best in slugging percentage at .604. Latham also excelled with the glove as he was 7th in the AAC in assists with 106 and tied for 14th with chances at 198. Hasty commented, “It is a testament to Tyler’s hard work that he made All-Conference. His dedication and high work ethic was rewarded as he is the first sophomore in Bryan Baseball History to be named to the All-AAC Team. I am proud of him and I look forward to watching him play throughout the rest of his career!”
Kevin Layne and Junior Closer Adam Sanders were named to the All-Conference 2nd Team. Layne, a junior left fielder, was tied for the most doubles in the conference with 18 on the season. He was 10th in the conference in both hits, 61, and total bases, 96. Layne was tied for 11th in fielding percentage at a .985 average. Sanders, a junior who was the team’s closer, finished the regular season with 17 saves to set a new AAC record, a new team record, and land him in third in the NAIA record book. He pitched 19.2 innings over 20 games and had an earned run average of 1.83. Sanders faced 79 batters and struck out 24 of them while walking just 12 and giving up only 20 hits. Hasty stated, “These two guys had a great season and definitely deserve to be on the All-Conference Team.”
Steven Brown, Jordan Day, Josh Harris, Kemonte Keesee, and Andrew Smith were named to the All-Academic Team. In order to qualify for the All-Academic Team a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore in academic standing and have a minimum grade point average of 3.25. “I am proud of the way these guys worked hard in the classroom. It is difficult to balance the commitment to baseball and the classroom, and these guys have done so at a high level,” remarked Hasty.