The baseball and softball teams gathered together on Saturday at Saluda Shoals Park to celebrate the 2013 season. Softball celebrated the creation of their team and a year of practice and look forward to 2014 when they will take the field in competition for the first time.
The JV baseball celebrated its 14-8-1 record and handed out their year end awards. The most important award to be handed out is the coveted Panther Award. This award is voted on by the team and coaches and recognizes the player who best demonstrated the true spirit of competition and did their best to “do all as to God”. The 2013 winner of this award was JC Ellis. JC was a positive influence on the JV team as he led, encouraged and exhorted his teammates to do their best. He never complained and always wore a smile. The winner of the 2013 Pitching award also went to Mr. JC Ellis. He was the unquestioned ace of the staff and pitched a Panther record 14 scoreless innings in a row during the season. The JV team had co-winners of the Silver Slugger Award which goes to the offensive MVP. Cal Hucks and Cole Owens share this award for the 2013 season. Cal hit .400 for the year, drove in 29 runs and scored 22 himself. Cole Owens hit .449, drove in 22 runs and scored 39 times. Anderson Blevins won the Gold Gove Defensive award for the second consecutive year. He led the team in assists and specialized in making spectacular plays whether the play called for it or not. Congratulations to the award winners and to the entire JV squad. It was a great year.
The Varsity team celebrated its first ever winning season, sporting a 2013 record of 12-7. As stated earlier, the Panther Award is voted on by the players and coaches. It is with pride that the coaches noted that nine out of the fourteen players received votes this year for the award. I think this is a testament to the type of young men that we have on this team. Someone had to win, however, and that well deserved winner is Mr. Trevor Dacus. Trevor was a leader on this team as he consistently displayed a can do attitude and did everything his coaches asked of him without complaint. He pitched and split time at first base for the Panthers. The 2013 pitching award went to Mr. Jake Brunson. Jake pitched the second most innings for the varsity team and turned in some dominating performances during 2013. Opponents batted just .227 against Jake this year. Just like the JV team, the Panther Varsity squad had co-winners of the 2013 Silver Slugger award that goes to the offensive MVP. Mr. Alex Blevins and Mr. Danny Morales share this award for 2013. Alex hit .458 for the year with eighteen RBI’s. He scored twenty five runs and stole twelve bases; including the Panther’s first ever steal of home. Alex also hit .476 with runners in scoring position. Danny Morales set a new Varsity batting average mark hitting .472 for the year. He knocked in twenty RBI’s and scored twenty runs himself. He stole eleven bases and hit .462 with runners in scoring position. The defensive Gold Glove award went to Mr. Sean West. Sean was one of two catchers for the Panther squad and also played some first base. Sean was a bedrock for the team as he handled the Panther pitchers with great aplomb. Whether he was throwing out base runners or calming down pitchers (or coaches for that matter), Sean controlled the games from behind home plate. Congratulations to the award winners and to the entire Varsity squad for a great year.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Mr. Ken Hanna. Ken’s son , Josh, is graduating this year so Ken will no longer be coaching with us. He has been on the coaching staff for all four years; one year on Junior Varsity and three with the Varsity team. He helped our young men learn the great game of baseball and modeled character in all he did and said. I will miss him greatly on the baseball field and hope we can remain friends for a long time. All of Panther baseball says THANKS AND YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!!
I also want to thank all the parent volunteers who helped our first JV tournament and our 2013 season go so well. This goes especially for the coaches wives but especially my wife, Davida, without whose support this program would not exist. A few others that warrant special mention are Eric Barfield and Robert Dickinson the team chaplains and Kim West who ran the canteen. Without all of you, we could not even begin to accomplish what our program does. Thanks and see you next year.