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May 9, 2014

Peach Belt Announces Baseball All-Conference Team

AIKEN, SC – The Peach Belt Conference has announced the 2014 All-Conference team at a banquet on the eve of the PBC Tournament in Aiken, S.C.  The Lander Bearcats were the big winners of the night as Patrick Grady was named the PBC Player of the Year, Brandon White the Freshman of the Year and Kermit Smith the Coach of the Year.  Armstrong's Ethan Bader was named the PBC Pitcher of the Year.

Grady had a phenomenal season for the second-ranked Bearcats, hitting .421 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs.  A senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., he leads the PBC and was ranked third in the nation in doubles.  He also leads the conference in runs scored and on-base percentage.  His batting average is second in the PBC and he is fourth in the league in slugging.  A PBC Player of the Week during the season he becomes the first Lander baseball player to ever be named the PBC Player of the Year.

Brandon White developed into Lander's closer in his first collegiate season.  From Chapin, S.C., White was 3-2 on the season with 10 saves and a 1.24 ERA.  He was fifth in the league with 24 appearances, all in relief, and was third in the league in saves.  He registered 44 strikeouts in 29 innings of work, giving him a 13.66 stikeouts per nine inning average.  White held batters to a .163 average – sixth in the PBC – and allowed only 16 hits all season.  White is the second Bearcat in the last three years to be honored as the PBC Freshman of the Year, joining Chris Thomas who won in 2012.

Ethan Bader became the only pitcher in Armstrong history and just the seventh player in Peach Belt history to reach 30 career wins.  10-1 on the season, Bader led the PBC in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts this season.  He was fourth in the league in strikeouts per game, fifth in ERA and led the PBC with four complete games.  A four-time PBC Pitcher of the Week this season, he has two complete games in his last four outings and has not gone fewer than eight innings in his last five starts.  Bader becomes the fourth Armstrong pitcher to be named the Pitcher of the Year, the first since Jeremy Wedel in 1998. 

In just five seasons as the head coach at Lander University, head coach Kermit Smith has turned the Bearcat program into a national powerhouse.  Currently ranked #2 in the nation, Lander won their first-ever PBC regular-season championship in 2014 and are the #1 seed for the upcoming PBC Tournament for the first time.  Lander set a school record with 44 wins so far this year, the first PBC team to win that many games since 2007.  Lander's six losses are the fewest for any PBC team since 1998.  Smith becomes the first Lander baseball coach to be named the PBC Coach of the Year.

The 2014 All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league's head coaches.  Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.  The first team was expanded to 19 players due to ties at second base, outfield and starting pitcher.

2014 Peach Belt Conference
Baseball All-Conference Team

First Team
1b – Connor Lewis, Lander
2b – Graham Ramos, Lander
2b - Daniel Fraga, UNC Pembroke
3b – Jordan Edgerton, UNC Pembroke
SS – Erik Lunde, Lander
C – Steve Hazel, Georgia College
DH – Jack Morrow, Young Harris 
UT – Adam Moore, Young Harris
OF – Patrick Grady, Lander
OF – Jackson Oliver, Columbus St.
OF – Nick Kranick, Flagler
OF – Josh Rudnick, Young Harris
OF – Jake Sandlin, Georgia College
SP – Ethan Bader, Armstrong
SP – Dylan Wolchik, Lander
SP – Mike McGinnity, Columbus State
SP – Andy Sullivan, UNC Pembroke
SP – Derek Beasley, USC Aiken
RP – Jeffrey Stoner, Francis Marion

Second Team
1b – Clay Ardeeser, Georgia College
3b – Colby Painter, Lander
SS – Michael Wilson, Francis Marion
C – Dustin Averett, Columbus State
DH – R.J. Dennard, Armstrong
UT – Jimmy Obermark, Columbus State
OF – Tyler Moore, USC Aiken
OF – Drew Cole, UNC Pembroke
OF – Brendan Collins, Columbus State
OF – Weston Lawing, Lander
SP – Garrett Hickman, UNC Pembroke
SP – Jake Brandenberger, Flagler
SP – Bryan Headley, Columbus State
RP – Trey Watson, Columbus State

Freshman of the Year
Brandon White, Lander

Pitcher of the Year
Ethan Bader, Armstrong

Player of the Year
Patrick Grady, Lander

Coach of the Year
Kermit Smith, Lander

PBC First-Team All-Conference
PBC Second-Team All-Conference
(L to R): Coach of the Year Kermit Smith of Lander; Freshman of the Year Brandon White of Lander; Pitcher of the Year Ethan Bader from Armstrong; Player of the Year Patrick Grady of Lander