Baseball

Albertson Claims Co-MVP Honors of SAC Baseball Tournament

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ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) -- Catawba catcher Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman/Campbell) and Creighton Wilke from Tusculum were tabbed the 2016 Pilot Flying/J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship Co-MVPs, the League announced today.  The top four teams in the Pilot/Flying J SAC Championship head coaches also selected the All-Tournament Team.  Joining Albertson from Catawba were pitchers Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) and Connor Johnson (Rockwell, N.C./E. Rowan), outfielders Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly) and Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), third baseman Jake Kimble (Concord, N.C./Mt. Pleasant/Liberty) and second baseman Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman/Appalachian St.).

Albertson went 7-for-13, batting .538 over Catawba’s four games of the tournament.  He collected three hits in an opening win over Wingate and added two hits, including a three-run homer, in a 9-8 win over Lincoln Memorial in 10 innings.  He was credited with two hits in the final against Tusculum, having a three-run homer erased due to weather, and finished the tournament with five RBI and six runs scored.

Blanton had a win and a save in a pair of appearances for Catawba.  He grabbed a win in the 10-inning victory against LMU after getting out of the ninth.  He came back to earn a save with a perfect frame against Carson-Newman that included a pair of strikeouts.  Johnson also had a win and a save in the same two games.  He tossed a 1-2-3 10th for a save vs. LMU.  Later that day, he made the start vs. C-N, going seven innings and giving up just two runs with five strikeouts.

Smith joined Albertson with a team-best .538 average and lost two hits in the big eight-run eighth against Tusculum due to rain.  He drove in five and scored four runs.  Almond homered and had a pair of doubles among his seven hits.  He had a .438 average with three RBI and four runs scored.

Kimble had several key hits for Catawba as he batted .467 (7-of-15).  His two-run single in the eighth inning snapped a 2-2 tie with Carson-Newman to help advance Catawba to the final day undefeated.  He doubled twice, shared the team high with five RBI and scored five times.  Richardson went 5-for-17 with a double, driving in two and scoring twice. 

Wilke played in all five games at first base for the Pioneers as he posted a .524 slugging percentage and hit two huge home runs in the tournament. He hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning to lift Tusculum to a 9-6 win over Wingate in an elimination game.  He followed that with a grand slam to rally Tusculum from a five-run deficit in a 9-7 win over Carson-Newman in the elimination bracket final. 

Co-Champions Catawba and Tusculum led the way with seven players on the All-Tournament Team, followed by   Carson-Newman and Wingate with two players each on the team.

2016 South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team
Connor Johnson, Catawba
Bryan Blanton, Catawba
Kyle Smith, Catawba
Jake Kimble, Catawba
Zach Almond, Catawba
Dylan Richardson, Catawba
Will Albertson, Catawba (Co-MVP
Creighton Wilke, Tusculum (Co-MVP)
J.J. Wesley, Tusculum
Nick Lacina, Tusculum
Placido Torres, Tusculum
Devan Watts, Tusculum
Zach Slagle, Tusculum
John Topoleski, Tusculum
Cade Snapp, Carson-Newman
Dustin Batson, Carson-Newman
Shane Billings, Wingate
Bradley Brown, Wingate

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