Bryan’s Taylor Hasty Named Coach of the Year; Garcia & Chamblee are Player and Pitcher of Year for AAC
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – In addition to a strong start on Wednesday in the opening round of the 2018 Appalachian Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament where Bryan College topped Union College (Ky.) 11-6, advancing to second round play, the All-AAC awards were announced and the Lions stole the show! 10 years in and Head Coach Taylor Hasty continues to grow the Bryan Baseball 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’s also led the team to a No. 9 ranking the NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 poll, which is the highest the Lions have ever seen. During his time at the helm, Hasty has coached the Lions to an AAC Tournament crown and the program’s first trip to the Opening Round of the NAIA Baseball Tournament. Hasty has brought the program to new heights with a total of 204 wins over the past seven seasons, making him the winningest coach in Bryan College Baseball History. Hasty’s teams have compiled 82 AAC wins during his time as head coach, more than the previous seven seasons combined, including a record of 13 AAC tournament wins and the 2014 tournament title. Because of his efforts, in 2012 Hasty received AAC Coach of the Year. He’s also the reigning two-time Tennessee Baseball Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year for the NAIA. During his tenure, Hasty has produced six NAIA All-Americans, one NCCAA All-American, 26 First Team All-Conference selections, 28 Second Team All-Conference members, and nine players have been named to the AAC Gold Glove Team. Hasty has also coached four AAC Freshmen of the Year, two AAC Pitchers of the Year, and two AAC Players of the Year. He has had two players sign a Major League Baseball contract, one player drafted by the Atlanta Braves (2017) and 10 others play professionally. Under Hasty, the baseball program has placed an emphasis on academics as 39 players have been named to the AAC All-Academic Team, and he has coached 10 NAIA Academic All-Americans. This year, the conference was proud to honor Coach Hasty as the 2018 AAC Baseball Coach of the Year. Hasty had this to say about his award: “Receiving the Coach of the Year award was a great honor, not only for me but for our coaching staff and our players. Awards like that are a recognition of our program more than they are the work of one person!”
The duo of Fernando Garcia and Stephen Chamblee helped Bryan sweep the 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 slowed down. Garcia has also garnered honors 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 .434 batting average is 2nd in the conference and is just shy of taking over the Bryan record holder at .439, and his .732 slugging percentage also ranks him 2nd in the AAC but is the fourth highest slugging average of any Lion in history. He ranks 2nd in the AAC in runs scored (66) and runs scored per game (1.29), trailing only Wade Weinburger, who joined Garcia on the All-Conference First Team, as he owns the top spot with 70 runs scored and an average 1.37 scored per game. Garcia’s run total puts him in third behind Weinburger’s 71-run performance in 2017. Weinburger is sure to raise the bar even higher this year. Garcia leads the conference with 86 hits and an average of 1.69 hits per game, which is now the No. 1 spot in the Lion’s record books. Weinburger’s 68 total RBI’s are an AAC-best and so are his 1.33 RBI’s per game, and following him is Garcia in 2nd with 65 RBI’s while Garcia ranks 3rd in RBI’s per game with 1.28. By the end of the season, both Garcia and Weinburger will be facing off to see who will be the new RBI record holder. Garcia has been an extra-base hit machine, compiling 23 doubles and a .45 double per game average for 1st place in conference. He is in need of only one more double to swipe the top spot of any Lion in history. Garcia is tied for 7th in the AAC with 12 homeruns but leads the AAC in total bases with 145 and a 2.84 average per game. The 17 stolen bases snatched by Garcia ranks him 5th in the conference and his on-base percentage of .498 is 2nd-best in the conference and top-5 amongst all Lions. He ranks in the top 50 in the NAIA in 16 statistical categories, including first in hits, third in doubles, fifth in total bases, sixth in runs scored, and 12th in RBIs. His overwhelming control at the plate earned him the AAC Player of the Year title.
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 boasts a 3.08 ERA, 3rd-best in the AAC, with 90.2 innings pitched, the most of any individual in the conference. It’s also the 6th-most by any Lion in history. He is destined to break into the top-5 with a few more games to go on the year. Although he has impressed in many statistical categories, Chamblee’s strikeout count may be one that lasts for a long time before it will be broken. He’s the only hurler in the AAC to eclipse the 100-K mark, registering 123 with a 12.21 strikeouts per game average. He shattered the previous best by a Bryan pitcher, which was 102 total strikeouts. His dominance on the mound has allowed him to lock in a perfect 10-0 record on the year. He’s currently tied with three other Lions for 2nd place in the record books with 12 being the number to beat. Since it is 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.
Joining Garcia and Chamblee on the All-Conference First Team was Weinburger, Lake Burris, Brandon Marklund, David Scoggins, and Cody Young. The seven Bryan first-team honorees were the most of any other AAC school, as Reinhardt University (Ga.) followed with five and Tennessee Wesleyan University landed three.
To go along with his record-breaking runs scored and runs batted in, quite possibly Weinburger’s most shocking number is his 20 homeruns smashed on the year, which lead both the conference and the Bryan Baseball record books. He holds a .319 average and .676 slugging percentage with 60 total hits and an on-base percentage of .453. Of his 60 hits, 20 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 10-of-11 on stolen base attempts. Last year, Weinburger was named AAC Freshman of the Year and landed on the All-AAC First Team.
After making the All-AAC Second Team last season and setting the then-19 homerun record for Bryan, Burris fought his way to First Team recognition this year because of his bat. Burris carries a .381 average, the 2nd-best on the team, and is slugging .665. He breaks into the top-5 in hit’s leaders for Bryan Baseball with 75, trailing only Garcia this season. He has driven in 59 runs, scored 43 runs, and cranked both 14 doubles and 14 homers, respectively.
Marklund found his place as the Lion’s go-to closer this year, standing at a spotless 5-0 with a conference-leading seven saves. Through 40.1 innings, Marklund owns a 1.12 ERA with a mere 26 hits surrendered, 15 walks, 55 strikeouts, and an opposing batting average of .178. His seven saves tie him for 3rd all-time in Bryan Baseball history, while he is the new ERA leader in the record book and sits in 3rd in batting average against.
Scoggins, hailing from Marietta, Ga. and spending time at both third and first base for Bryan, earned his first All-AAC honors. Scoggins was one of just a few offensive players for the Lions to win both AAC and TSWA Player of the Week this year. The power behind his swing gave way to 12 homeruns, tying Garcia for the 3rd-most on the team and 7th in the conference. His batting average is .326 and slugging is .681. As a slugger, his percentage ranks him 6th in the Bryan record books and 4th in the AAC. He has amassed 44 hits with 12 doubles and 12 bombs, 47 RBI’s, and 21 runs scored.
C. Young was Bryan’s primary catcher this year, starting in 41-of-43 games, and really caught fire as the end of the regular-season came to a close. It marks the first time in his career that Young has made the All-Conference team. Over the season, Young has averaged .321 at the plate with a .562 slugging percentage. Of his 44 hits, nine were doubles and eight traveled over the fence. He broke free for 13 runs scored and 34 total RBI’s.
Bryan’s lone Lion to make the All-AAC Second Team was Rodney Tennie. The transfer from Georgia Gwinnett College has provided a spark of energy any time the team needed it this year. His first and only homeruns yielded during his collegiate career came as a Lion. He sailed five homers, one triple, and four doubles this season. He also aided with 44 runs scored and 19 RBI’s. Even though Tennie’s bat power increased, most of his damage was dealt by his speedy base-running. Of 37 stolen base attempts, Tennie was successful on 33, which is the most in the AAC, ranking him 5th in Bryan Baseball history and 8th in the NAIA.
Tucker Cain was Bryan’s representative to the AAC Champions of Character Team. The student-athletes selected to the Champions of Character Team are those who best represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character Program: respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.
11 members of the Lions team earned All-Academic honors: Nicholas Bennett, Tucker Cain, Irvin Cespedes, Jacob Dublin, Josh Hinken, Jonathan Hostetler, Timothy Hostetler, Brandon Marklund, Kurt Meeberg, Caleb Perez, and Cullen Royston. Bryan had the most All-Academic honorees and was followed by Reinhardt with nine, Milligan College (Tenn.) and Union tied with seven, Point University (Ga.) had six, Truett McConnell University (Ga.) and Montreat College (N.C.) had five apiece, and Tennessee Wesleyan and Bluefield College (Va.) were last with four, respectively. To make the Academic All-Conference Team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior, or senior and maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25 or higher.