The baseball team held its annual picnic at Saluda Shoals Park on Sunday, May 6th. It was a beautiful day to get together and celebrate the season that had just ended. The families enjoyed some great wings from D’s Wings and all the fixings, as they say, courtesy of the baseball families.
The coaches recapped their season and handed out their awards after lunch. The awards were as follows:
Mr. Panther: Samuel Reed (B-Team), Chandler Yoder (Junior Varsity) and Alex McKay (Varsity)
Silver Slugger: Ethan Hucks (B-Team), Cameron Duke (Junior Varsity) and David Hucks (Varsity)
Golden Glove: Seth Kirby and Samuel Reed (B-Team), Josh Quill (Junior Varsity) and Avery Blevins (Varsity)
CY Young: Zane Kirby (B-Team), Landon Gay (Junior Varsity) and Micah West (Varsity)
There were eight first time lettermen on the varsity team. They were Micah West, Connor Shealy, David Hucks, Jonathan Sarazen, Drew McKay, Micaiah Hinkle, Zach Thurber and Samuel Leslie.
The team loses four seniors in 2018.
The first is Dan Beam. Dan is a two year participant in the PAC baseball program. He was primarily a pitcher for PAC but also logged time at second and in the outfield. He helped PAC win the 2017 State Championship and the 2017 Division #2 Championship at NACA. Dan was also instrumental in helping the Panthers take their fourth consecutive state championship in 2018, pitching an absolute gem in the state semi-finals. Dan got one pitching victory at the 2018 NACA tournament in helping the team to a second place finish in Division #2. Dan plans to attend Bob Jones University in the fall.
The second senior is Caleb Green. Caleb played two years at varsity and for three years on the junior varsity team. At varsity, he played third, shortstop and pitched. Caleb helped PAC win the 2017 State Championship and the 2017 Division #2 Championship at NACA. He had two critical hits and RBI’s in the 2018 State Championship game to help PAC win its fourth straight championship while batting .372 for the year. Caleb was the 2018 second team all-conference shortstop and was second on the team with twenty-nine assists. Caleb helped PAC to a second place finish in the NACA Division #2 tournament. Caleb plans to attend Charleston Southern in the fall to study Business.
The third is Alex McKay. He participated in Panther baseball for three years – one on Junior Varsity and two on Varsity. He played outfield and served as a courtesy runner when he was not in the starting line-up. He made himself into a very smart base runner and could be counted on to get whatever bases that were there for the taking. Alex is very fast which helped him in his base running but it also helped him in the outfield on defense. He could cover large swaths of outfield real estate and tracked down numerous fly balls that coaches thought were hits when they came off of the opposition’s bats. Alex was a vocal leader on the team and made sure the outfield always knew what was expected of them before each play. Alex helped PAC win two state titles (2017 and 2018), a Division #2 championship at NACA (2017) and a Division #2 runner up trophy at NACA (2018). Alex plans on attending the University of South Carolina and hopes to go on to medical school.
The last senior is Zach Thurber. He played five years at PAC – four at Junior Varsity and one at Varsity. Zach missed the better part of two years while on Junior Varsity due to injury but never felt sorry for himself or stopped encouraging his team mates. His positive outlook on life will be missed by all that know him. He played outfield and pitched at the varsity level. He started in Right field during the 2018 state championship and helped bring the Panthers the victory. He played outfield and ran the bases during the 2018 NACA Division #2 tournament and helped the Panthers to a second place finish. Zach plans on attending the University of South Carolina in the fall.
The Panthers are also losing John Edens, who has coached with the Panthers for six years; two at Junior Varsity and four at Varsity. He coached in 2018 despite the graduation of his son in 2017. He specialized in working with the outfield and in inspiring pep talks with the players. He helped coach PAC to four state championships and two championships at NACA. I consider myself lucky to have the privilege of coaching with John and will greatly miss him next year.