COLUMBUS, GA – The Peach Belt Conference announced the 2012 baseball All-Conference team from a banquet in Columbus, Ga., on the eve of the PBC Tournament. Armstrong Atlantic State’s Zach Taylor was named the PBC Player of the Year while his head coach, Joe Roberts, was named the Coach of the Year. Lander’s Chris Thomas was named the Pitcher of the Year while USC Aiken’s Will Tankersley was named the Freshman of the Year.
The All-Conference team honored 33 players on a first and second team. The size of the second team was expanded by one due to a tie at the first base position.
Taylor was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week during the 2012 campaign and a PBC Player of the Week. A junior outfielder from Statesboro, Ga., he led the Peach Belt with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs and is ranked second nationally in RBIs. He also leads the league in slugging percentage and is second in triples and sac flies. Taylor hit .373 in 49 games for the champion Pirates and led the team with 21 stolen bases. Taylor becomes only the second Pirate to ever be named the PBC Player of the Year, joining Eric Chavez who earned the very first award the league presented in 1992.
Chris Thomas was named the PBC Pitcher of the Week three times in 2012 as Lander set a school record for wins in a season. A junior righthander from Chester, S.C., Thomas was 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA this season in 13 starts. He led the league with two shutouts, both coming against conference opponents as he tossed a two-hitter against North Georgia on April 29 and a four-hitter against Flagler the week before that. He is ranked in the PBC’s top five in complete games, ERA and strikeouts with 79. His 2.09 ERA in league play was best among all conference pitchers. Thomas becomes the first Bearcat ever to earn any of the big three annual awards (player, pitcher or freshman of the year).
Will Tankersley seemed to have no problem adjusting to the college game in his first season at USC Aiken. The freshman from Thomson, Ga., is tied for second in the PBC with a .385 batting average and is also second in the league with a .645 slugging percentage. A three-time PBC Freshman of the Week, Tankersley hit nine home runs, third most in the Peach Belt, with 15 doubles and 38 RBIs. He had 19 multi-hit games in his first season with 10 multi-RBI outings. He becomes the second Pacer to ever be named the PBC Freshman of the Year, joining teammate Stephen Carmon who won the award in 2009.
Joe Roberts added another accolade to an already legendary resume with his PBC Coach of the Year selection. In his 33rd year at Armstrong, Roberts is the leading active Division II coach in wins and is second all-time. His 2012 Pirates won the PBC regular-season championship for the fourth time, the first since 2003, and have been ranked as high as #5 in the nation this season. The Pirates are an offensive juggernaut, leading the league in runs, doubles, RBIs, on-base percentage and walks. His Pirates are a #1 seed in the PBC Tournament for the first time since 1993 after posting a 33rd consecutive winning season. Inducted into the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame, Roberts claims his third PBC Coach of the Year honor.
The 2012 All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league’s head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
2012 Peach Belt
Baseball All-Conference Team
1b – Heath Peterson, Montevallo
2b – Will Fulmer, Montevallo
3b – Travis Echols, Georgia College
SS – A.J. Nunziato, Lander
C – Josh Miller, USC Aiken
DH – Cody Maas, Georgia College
UT – Patrick Grady, Lander
OF – Zach Taylor, Armstrong
OF – Josh Haley, UNC Pembroke
OF – Nick Aranas, USC Aiken
OF – Brett Moreland, Flagler
SP – Chris Thomas, Lander
SP – Spencer Jordan, Francis Marion
SP – Ethan Bader, Armstrong
SP – Danny Brown, Flagler
RP – Braxton Lewis, UNC Pembroke
1b – John Sgromolo, Flagler
1b – Jordan Owens, Lander
2b – Tyler Bourdo, USC Aiken
3b – Drew Walker, Armstrong
SS – Stephen Carmon, USC Aiken
C – John Roberts, Armstrong
DH – Cameron Scott, Columbus State
UT – R.J. Dennard, Armstrong
OF – Buddy Sosnoskie, Francis Marion
OF – Will Tankersley, USC Aiken
OF – Kenny Bellavance, North Georgia
OF – Cody Powell, Armstrong
SP – Ryan Milewski, USC Aiken
SP – Matt Broderick, Francis Marion
SP – Brodie Leibrandt, Columbus State
SP – Blake Hobby, North Georgia
RP – Matt LaMothe, Georgia College
Player of the Year
Zach Taylor, Armstrong
Pitcher of the
Chris Thomas, Lander
Freshman of the Year
Will Tankersley, USC Aiken
Coach of the Year
Joe Roberts, Armstrong Atlantic State