Baseball Starts Season as Preseason SAC and Region Favorite


Catawba, who finished as the 2015 Division II National runner-up, tops both the preseason South Atlantic Conference Baseball Coaches’ Poll and the NCBWA Southeast Region media poll.  It is the fourth straight year the Catawba Indians were chosen for the number one spot in the SAC, earning 10 first-place votes which is the most possible in the poll.  The Indians also start the year ranked #2 in the ABCA poll, one spot behind reigning national champion Tampa.

Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman/Campbell) and Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton/Francis Marion) were preseason picks by both the SAC and NCBWA.  Albertson earned NCAA II National Position Player of the Year honors a year ago when the senior belted 26 home runs and collected 91 RBI which were both school and conference records.  He led the nation with a .467 average.

Shepard toed the rubber 18 times during the season and notched a team-high 11 wins.  Over his 98 and a third innings, the junior fanned 80 batters and posted a 3.94 ERA.  He completed four of his 17 starts and combined on a shutout.

The SAC baseball season gets underway on Friday, Jan. 29. Catawba begins play that evening against Barry in Miami Shores, Fla.  The home opener for the Indians will be a doubleheader with Shippensburg on Saturday, Feb. 20. 

The 2016 SAC Baseball Tournament will take place April 28 - May 2 at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tenn.  Tickets for the SAC Baseball Championships will be available at the link provided below and will also be provided on the conference’s Championships page along with other tournament information. The All Tournament pass rates are as follows:

- Adults Pre-Sale Online - $25 + small ticket fee
- Adults Walk Up Rate - $30
- Youth, College, Senior, Military Online - $15 + small ticket fee
- Youth, College, Senior, Military Walk Up Rate - $20

SAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Catawba (10)                                      110
2. Tusculum (1)                                       99
3. Newberry                                            87
4. Wingate                                               85
5. Lincoln Memorial                              71
6. Lenoir-Rhyne                                     66
7. Carson-Newman                                56
8. Anderson                                            51
9. Mars Hill                                              38
10. Brevard                                             28
11. Coker                                                 24

Preseason All-SAC
First Team
C- Will Albertson, Catawba
1B – Steven Cooper, Anderson
2B – Shane Billings, Wingate
SS – Ryan Perkins, Lenoir-Rhyne
3B – Matthew De la rosa, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF – JoJo Bradley, Newberry
OF – Rayshelon Carolina, Mars Hill
OF – Wes Neiderland, Lincoln Memorial
DH – Bradley Brown, Wingate
RP – Devan Watts, Tusculum
P – Shafer Shepard, Catawba
P – Placido Torres, Tusculum
P – Vince Apicella, Carson-Newman
Second Team
C- Jack Leech, Coker
1B – Hunter Donaldson, Brevard
2B – Jeovanny Tolentino, Tusculum
SS – Evan Rogers, Mars Hill
3B – John Topoleski, Tusculum
OF – Colby Barnett, Wingate
OF – Bill Krebs, Wingate
OF – Marcus Shoemaker, Lenoir-Rhyne
DH – Dalton Eisenbath, Mars Hill
RP – Daniel Nations, Newberry
P – Ethan Carpenter, Tusculum
P – Hunter Hamilton, Wingate
P- Brandon Jean, Lincoln Memorial

1. Catawba (10) 116
2. Mount Olive (2) 100
3. North Georgia 90
4. Armstrong State 65
5. UNC Pembroke 48
6. Tusculum 35
7. Flagler 34
8. Wingate 32
9. Georgia College 30
10. USC Aiken 29

Others Receiving Votes: Columbus State (25); Lander (24); Newberry (11); North Greenville (7); Belmont Abbey (5).

SP: Placido Torres, Tusculum
SP: Mike O’Reilly, Flagler
SP: Matt Kelley, Francis Marion
RP: Tyler Graham, Armstrong State
C: Will Albertson, Catawba
1B: Joe Koehler, Mount Olive
2B: Shane Billings, Wingate
3B: Matthew De La Rosa, Lenoir-Rhyne
SS: Ryan Perkins, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF: Clint Hardy, Augusta
OF: J.D. Crowe, Francis Marion
OF: Rayshelon Carolina, Mars Hill
DH: Mike McLellan, Columbus State
Util: Will Jones, Lander

SP: Vince Apicella, Carson-Newman
SP: Shafer Shepard, Catawba
SP: Brandon Agar, North Georgia
RP: Devan Watts, Tusculum
C: Sam Tidaback, North Georgia
1B: Steven Cooper, Anderson
2B: Zak Orrison, Mount Olive
3B: Nick Nunziato, Belmont Abbey
SS: Evan Rogers, Mars Hill
OF: JoJo Bradley, Newberry
OF: Ryan Whitt, King
OF: Sam Cothran, Erskine
DH: Drew Taylor, Augusta
Util: Bradley Brown, Wingate

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Baseball Team Photo