Garcia, Chamblee, & Weinburger Named NAIA All-Americans
DAYTON, Tenn. – When the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the 2018 Baseball All-America teams as selected by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches’ Association All-America Committee, the Bryan College Baseball team made program history with the most ever selections to the All-American teams in a single season. The duo of Fernando Garcia and Stephen Chamblee joined ’13 honoree Tyler Latham as the only Lions in program history to be named to the First Team, while Wade Weinburger was an Honorable Mention, joining ’14 Grant Zawadzki and ’12 Shane Clawson as the only baseball members to make the Honorable Mentions list.
The 17 First Team honorees and 17 others who earned a spot on the Second Team are also recognized as ABCA/Rawlings All-Americans by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings Sporting Goods. The ABCA began recognizing All-Americans in 1949 and named the first ABCA NAIA All-America team in 1969.
The trio of Garcia, Chamblee, and Weinburger were the only representatives from the Appalachian Athletic Conference to earn the title of an NAIA All-American.
Garcia and Chamblee are no stranger to awards as they added All-American honors to a long list of accolades received this year. Garcia and Chamblee helped Bryan sweep the 2018 AAC Player, Pitcher, and Newcomer of the Year awards.
Garcia, Bryan’s starting right fielder, made his presence known as the 2018 season got underway, winning the first three AAC Player of the Week contests and never looked back. Garcia has also received recognition from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as Player of the Week while making his mark in the Bryan Baseball history books with several new individual records. Garcia’s .439 batting average was 1st in the conference and ties him with the previous program record holder for the top batting average in a season. His impressive .732 slugging percentage, once again, ranked him above all batters in the AAC and is 4th highest of any Lion in history. He ranked 2nd in the AAC in runs scored with 70 and runs scored per game with 1.21, trailing only Weinburger who joined Garcia on the All-Conference First Team this year. Weinburger owned the top spot with 75 runs scored and an average of 1.29 runs scored per game. Weinburger surpassed last year’s mark, which at the time was a program-best at 71, allowing Garcia to slide in at No. 3 in Bryan’s all-time list. At 100 hits and 1.72 hits per game average, Garcia claimed the AAC hits leader title and shattered the previous best in the Lion’s record books, which was only set last year at 86.
Both Garcia and Weinburger were in a race to see who would be the new RBI record holder, as both individuals outdid the previous mark at 68. In the end, it was Weinburger who raised the bar to 74 and was followed by Garcia at 72. They ranked 1st and 2nd in the AAC, respectively.
Garcia was an extra-base hit machine, compiling 27 doubles and a .47 double per game average for 1st in conference while becoming the Lion’s new total doubles leader. Garcia tied for 8th in the AAC with 12 homers but led the conference with 165 total bases and 2.85 bases per game. The 19 stolen bases snatched by Garcia ranked him 5th in the AAC, and his on-base percentage of .498 was 2nd-best in the conference and top-5 in program history. He ranked top-30 in the NAIA in 14 statistical categories, which included many in the top-10 such as 1st in total doubles, 2nd in total hits, 4th in total bases, 4th in doubles per game, 5th in hits per game, 8th in total bases per game, and 10th in batting average. His dominating performance at the plate all year long left no surprise that he was awarded the conference Player of the Year crown.
Several Lions pitchers posted extraordinary numbers this season while winning Pitchers of the Week by both the AAC and TSWA, but it was Chamblee who had a record-breaking year for the Lions. The Tampa, Fla. native boasted a 3.43 ERA, 5th-best in the AAC, with 102.1 innings pitched, the most of any individual in the conference. It’s also the 4th-most by any Lion in history. Although he led in many statistical categories, Chamblee’s strikeout count may be one that lasts for a long time before it will be broken. He’s only one of two hurlers in the AAC to eclipse the 100-K mark, registering 131 with 11.52 strikeouts per game average. He exceeded the previous best by a Bryan pitcher, which were 102 total strikeouts. His authority on the mound allowed him to lock in a near perfect 11-1 record on the year. He finished 2nd place in total wins in the record books with 12 being the number to beat. Since it was Chamblee’s first year in the league, he added Newcomer to the Year to his already prestigious Pitcher of the Year award and was the only Lion to nab a place on the Gold Glove Team.
To go along with his record-breaking runs scored and runs batted in, quite possibly Weinburger’s most shocking number was his 22 homeruns smashed on the year, which led both the conference and the Bryan Baseball record books. He ended with a .316 average and .656 slugging percentage with 68 total hits and an on-base percentage of .451. Of his 68 hits, 22 have been long shots, three have been doubles, and he leads the team with a pair of triples. While base-running, he’s shown his speed with an efficient 13-of-14 on stolen base attempts. Last year, Weinburger was named AAC Freshman of the Year and landed on the All-AAC First Team and shows no signs of slowing down following this year’s outing.
10 years in and Bryan Head Baseball Coach Taylor Hasty continues to grow the program into not only an AAC powerhouse but also a perennial top-ranking team in the country. This year he guided the squad to their most successful regular-season in program history, battling for a remarkable 38-13 overall record and 21-6 mark in conference play to capture their first-ever AAC Regular-Season Championship. He also led the team to a No. 9 ranking in the NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 poll, which is the highest the Lions have ever seen. His efforts earned him this year’s AAC Coach of the Year, and he has now produced nine NAIA All-Americans. The Lion’s record-breaking year ended in the 2018 Baseball National Championship Opening Round—Williamsburg Bracket (Ky.) where Bryan finished with an overall record of 41-17, tying this year’s team for the 2nd-most wins in a season in program history.
Bryan is considered one of the top teams in the country and was recognized as so when the 2018 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Postseason Top-25 poll was released, ranking the Lions 14th.
For more information about the 2018 NAIA Baseball All-Americans and a full list of this year’s honorees, click here.