The Panthers held their season ending party at their normal shelter at Saluda Shoals as they celebrated the 2016 season. The kids played volleyball, ga-ga ball, threw Frisbees and took a dip in the river when they got too hot while the parents enjoyed fellowship with each other (and snuck into the occasional volleyball game). Stephen Hucks and Scott Thurber, from D’s Wings in West Columbia, helped the team by grilling great tasting burgers for everyone to enjoy.
The teams presented their year-end awards and discussed their seasons. The B-Team (coached by Stephen Hucks, James Duke and Ed Owens) finished the 2016 season with a record of 14-9-1. Fourteen wins represents the most wins PAC baseball had obtained at that level. Three new players in the program won awards as Andrew French won the pitching most valuable award and Micaiah Hinkle won the Golden Glove award (defensive MVP) for his work in centerfield. Billy Amick won the Silver Bat award which goes to the best hitter each year. Thomas Weaver won the most important award as he added his name to those who have won the Mr. Panther award which goes to the player that the players and coaches believe best reflected God’s character during the long baseball season.
The JV team (coached by David Melnyk, Jay Floyd and Will Lawyer) finished the 2016 with a record of 7-12. This is not a bad record considering they were starting five eighth graders (or below) at the JV level. They will be fine with as they get older. Micah West won the Golden Glove award for his work at shortstop and at catcher and won the pitching award for his work on the mound. McKinley Proctor won the Silver Slugger award as he tied the record for the highest batting average in the history of the Panther JV program. Alex McKay won the Mr. Panther award for his consistently great attitude and willingness to do whatever the coaches asked him to do.
The Varsity team finished 2016 with a 23-10 record. The twenty-three wins are the most in the history of the program. Matthew Derrick won the pitching MVP award and James Reed won the Golden Glove award. Anderson won the Silver Slugger award for the second year in a row. Carson Floyd won the Mr. Panther award for the first time.
The Panther baseball program says goodbye to six seniors this year. Tyler Thomason played one year for the varsity team and earned a varsity letter as he played second and pitched. Tyler also played two years at the JV level. Tyler leaves as a state champion as the Panthers are the 2016 homeschool baseball state champions.
Cole Plyer graduates with three years at the JV level and two at varsity. Cole played second base and graduates owning the varsity, single season on base % record at .558. Cole graduates as a two time state champion in homeschool baseball and was instrumental in helping the Panthers win the National Association of Christian Athletes Division #3 baseball tournament in 2015 and finish second in the 2016 Division #2 tournament.
Eli Williams played one year at JV and two at the varsity level. Eli played in the outfield and served as a designated hitter as he had a nice swing at the plate. Eli’s bat helped the Panthers win their first homeschool state championship in 2015 against the Anderson Cavaliers as he stroked a key single that helped get the team rolling and he helped the team repeat in 2016. Eli also helped the Panthers win the Division #3 championship at the NACA baseball tournament in 2015.
Carson Floyd played two years at JV and two years at the Varsity level. Carson played every outfield position, third base and pitched for the Panthers. He was the winning pitcher in the 2015 State Championship game against the Anderson Cavaliers. Carson won the JV pitching award (2014) and the Mr. Panther award in 2016. He is also a two time (2015 and 2016) winner of the Panther “wear it” award which goes annually to the player who was hit by the most pitches. Carson was first team all-conference in baseball for left field in 2016 and right field in 2015. He was also named to the all-tournament team at NACA in 2016.
James Reed graduates after playing one year at JV and four years at Varsity. James was a very versatile player who pitched and played catcher, first, short, second and in the outfield. He won the varsity silver slugger award in 2014 and the varsity golden glove award in 2016. James was the MVP of the 2015 homeschool state championship tournament and at the 2015 NACA Division #3 tournament. He was also named to the all-tournament team at the 2016 homeschool state championship. He was first team all-conference for 2015 as a pitcher and a catcher and for 2016 as a first baseman. He graduates owning several Panther varsity career records such as most hits (121), most RBI’s (77) and total bases (177). He has the strikeout record striking out 96 opposing batters on his way to eight pitching victories.
Anderson Blevins is the last senior for 2016 and is the last player with a tie to the first year of the Panther baseball program (2010). He played as a sixth grader in our first year as the JV team played a few games against weaker opponents. Anderson played JV for four seasons (which includes the few games in 2010) and three at the varsity level. Anderson won two golden glove awards at the JV level (2012 and 2013) and two silver slugger awards at the varsity level (2015 and 2016). He was first team all-conference for the shortstop position in 2015 and 2016. He was named to the 2016 all-tournament team at the state homeschool championships and at the NACA Division #2 tournament. He owns career records at the varsity level for runs scored (91), stolen bases (45) and fielding assists (155). He also holds single season records for hits (49), stolen bases (23), total bases (77) and fielding assists (70).