Baseball Celebrates the 2017 Season

The Panthers held their season ending party at their normal shelter at Saluda Shoals as they celebrated the 2017 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).

The teams presented their year-end awards and discussed their seasons. The B-Team (coached by James Duke, Chris Gay and Michael Reed) finished the 2017 season with a record of 11-6.  Chandler Yoder won the defensive award for his work at shortstop and Justin Thurber won the pitching most valuable award.  Cameron Duke won the Silver Bat award which goes to the best hitter each year.  Chandler Yoder won his second award and the most important when 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 Stephen Hucks, Scott Leslie and Cole Plyler) finished the 2017 with a record of 9-10-1.  Andrew French won the defensive award (Golden Glove) for his work at short and Samuel Leslie won the pitching award.  Billy Amick won the Silver Slugger award as he set several new offensive records for the JV team.  Chris Johnson 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 2017 with a 23-10 record. Will Lawyer won the pitching MVP award and Parker Pocock won the Golden Glove award.  Danny Waller and James Reed shared the Silver Slugger award as they both had outstanding seasons at the plate.  Alex McKay won the Mr. Panther award for the first time at the varsity level.

The Panther baseball program says goodbye to nine seniors this year.

Austin “Stump” Coates graduates after playing two years at Varsity and one year for the Junior Varsity team. He earned his first baseball letter his Senior season.  Stump played outfield, third and caught several games for PAC. He absolutely crushed a double to deep left center field in the game against the Huntsville Falcons this year at NACA.  Stump was a great dugout presence, encouraging his teammates at unusually high decibels.  He leaves as a one-year letterman and a two-time state champion.  Stump also helped his team finish second in the 2016 NACA Division #2 championships and win the 2017 NACA Division #2 championship against other homeschool teams from Ohio, New Jersey and Alabama.  Stump plans to attend Coastal Carolina in the Fall.

Matthew Derrick graduates with two years at the JV level and two at Varsity. Matthew played first, outfield and pitched for the Panther team.  Matthew won the pitching award in 2016 and also was named “All Conference” as a pitcher that same year.  Matthew hit .291 his Senior season and had 21 RBI’s.  He won two state championships, one NACA Division #2 championship (2017) and a second place finish in the NACA Division #2 championships (2016).  He is heading to Charleston Southern in the Fall.

John Edens played five years of PAC baseball two at the JV level and three at Varsity. John was a very versatile player playing outfield, first, catcher and pitcher (you don’t see very many left handed catchers but John not only did it, but he did it well).  He was instrumental in the Panther’s first state championship (2015), stroking a key double late in the game to give the Panther’s the lead.  He also helped the team win the 2016 and 2017 state championships. He started in right field during the Panther’s run to the 2015 NACA Division #3 title and at catcher in capturing the 2017 NACA Division #2 title.  He also helped the Panthers finish second in the 2016 NACA division #2 championships.  He was named to second team all-conference for his work in the outfield during 2016 and second team all-conference for his work behind the plate during 2017.  John intends to run a small business when he graduates.

Cal Hucks graduates after six years in PAC baseball; playing three years each at the JV and Varsity level. He played third, outfield, pitched and even caught in one or two games.  He was named the all-conference third baseman for 2016 and 2017.  He was named to the all-tournament team in 2017 at the state championships.  He leaves with three consecutive state championships, a Division #3 (2015) and Division #2 championship (2017) at NACA and a Division #2 runner-up finish in 2016.  He was named to the NACA all-tournament team in 2017.  Cal will be studying at Clemson in the fall.

Will Lawyer played two years at JV (he lost one additional year due to injury) and one at Varsity (again he lost one additional year due to injury). Will helped coach the JV team his Junior Season while he was rehabbing from a knee injury.  Will joined the varsity team late his Junior year and helped PAC win its second straight state championship.  Will played third, first and pitched for the Panthers.  He pitched a complete game victory in the 2017 NACA Division #2 championship game.  William plans to attend Limestone in the fall.

Parker Pocock played six seasons with Panthers baseball (three at JV at three at Varsity). Parker pitched some but was best known for patrolling the outfield. Parker reacted to the ball of the bat very well and could cover great stretches of the outfield and often hauled in fly balls that looked like they would have dropped in when they were first hit.  Parker was first team all-conference in 2016 and second team all-conference in 2017 for his work in center field.  He is a three-time state champion and helped win the 2017 Division #2 and the 2015 Division #3 championships at NACA.  He also contributed heavily to the 2016 Division #2 runner-up finish at NACA.  Parker will attend UNCC in the fall.

James Reed graduates after playing one year at JV and five 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 2017 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 and 2017 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 also was second team all-conference for his work at short in 2017 and was named to the all-tournament team at NACA in 2017.  He graduates owning several Panther varsity career records such as most hits (160), most RBI’s (103) and total bases (225).   He has the strikeout record, striking out 152 opposing batters on his way to twelve pitching victories.  He is a three-time state champion, a NACA Division #3 champion (2015) and a NACA Division #2 champion (2017).  He helped the team finish second at the 2016 NACA Division #2 championships.  James is undecided on where he will attend college but hopes to play baseball wherever he goes.

Jacob Robinson played four years of Panther baseball (two at JV and two at Varsity). Jacob played outfield and made several highlight reel catches during the 2017 season.  He leaves as a two-time state champion and as the 2017 NACA Division #2 champion.  He also helped the team to a second place finish in the 2016 NACA Division #2 championships.

Danny Waller also played six years of Panther baseball; playing four at the JV level and two at Varsity. He really came into his own in his Senior Year finishing with a 7-0 pitching record giving up only nine earned runs in over twenty-four innings while striking out twenty.  He also hit .460 for the year (third place all time for a batting average over one season).  Danny played outfield, second base and pitched for PAC in 2017.  He was named all-conference as a right fielder and was named as the most valuable player of the 2017 homeschool playoffs.  Danny was also named to the 2017 NACA all-tournament team and was named as the most valuable offensive player.  He won two state championships with PAC and won the 2017 NACA Division #2 championship.  He also helped the team to a second place finish at the 2016 NACA Division #2 championships.  Danny plans to attend USC in the fall.

The program also loses two Chaplains in 2017. Kim Pocock has served as a Varsity chaplain for two years.  Clint Lawyer has served as both a Junior Varsity and Varsity Chaplain.  Clint also wrote the team’s devotions in 2017, which were a study of Godly Character out of Psalms and is already working on the team’s 2018 devotions which will study Godly Character using the Gospel of John.  Both men spoke truth into the lives of each of players and served as Godly role models.  Both men set the example by serving the program in whatever capacity they were needed, usually jumping in to help without even being asked.  Their presence will be sorely missed.