The University of South Alabama (USA) captured its 15th Sun Belt Conference (SBC) baseball title this season, along with 37 victories. This success has earned much recognition for many of its players.
Right-handed pitcher Kevin Hill garnered most of the awards. The most recent honor was being named an American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings (ABCA) third-team All-American. He is the 27th Jaguar to be named an All-American in baseball.
The SBC Pitcher of the Year had previously been named to the ABCA South Central all-region first-team list, a Louisville Slugger Division I second-team All-American and a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association third-team All-American.
The junior led the conference in wins (10), earned run average (1.73), strikeouts (107) and opposing batting average (2.08). He finished the year with a perfect 10-0 record.
“Kevin had a phenomenal year,” USA head coach Mark Calvi said. “He is the ultimate competitor and a great teammate who gave us a chance to win every time he took the mound.”
The ABCA/Rawlings group also honored outfielder Cole Billingsley. He has been named winner of the Division I Gold Glove Award.
Billingsley did not commit an error in 163 total changes in center field, while recording three assists in 55 games. He is the first USA outfielder to earn the award, after second baseman Zach Grichor received the honor in 2010.
The sophomore was named to the ABCA/Rawlings all-region second-team. He led the SBC with 30 stolen bases, finished tied for second in hits (80) and triples (4), and was among the leaders in runs scored (46), batting average (.345) and walks (34).
“Both Kevin and Cole had fantastic seasons for us,” Calvi said. “It is great to see them recognized for that. They each played a major part in our success this season in helping us accomplish one of our goals, which was to win a Sun Belt Conference championship.”
While not yet part of the team, USA baseball signee Randy Bell has been named the Spalding Baseball/National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Pitcher of the Year. The right-hander went 12-0 at Hinds Community College in Mississippi, with a 2.37 ERA and 63 strikeouts against 12 walks in 79 innings.
Local players selected in MLB draft
Several players from local colleges had their names called in the recently concluded 2015 Major League Baseball Draft.
The Boston Red Sox selected USA right-hander Ben Taylor in the seventh round. A first-team All-SBC selection as a relief pitcher, Taylor finished 6-3 this year with a 1.48 ERA. The senior had seven saves in 25 relief appearances. He struck out 68 batters and issued 13 walks in 42 innings pitched.
The San Diego Padres picked Corey Hale from the University of Mobile in the 28th round. The left-hander was named a first-team NAIA All-American this season, as well as the Southern States Athletic Conference’s Pitcher of the Year. He went 14-1, with a 1.27 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 92 innings.
Tucker Ward was the second Ram drafted, as the Arizona Diamondbacks took him in the 40th round. The right-hander from Saraland appeared in 30 games over the last two years, picking up 13 wins and 134 strikeouts in 169 innings. He had a 3.55 ERA.
Myles Straw, a USA signee, went in the 12th round to the Houston Astros. He batted .413 last season for St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Florida.
Softball honors handed out
Junior pitcher Caroline Sagrera of Spring Hill College has been named to the Capital One Academic All-American first-team in softball for the second time. She finished last season with a 26-6 record, 1.39 ERA and 350 strikeouts in 212 innings. Sagrera holds the school records for strikeouts (1,267), wins (103), complete games (118) and shutouts (45).
Makayla Scott of the University of Mobile was named to the NAIA honorable mention All-American team. She went 12-4 with four saves and a 1.51 ERA. The junior had a team-high 120 innings pitched, making 13 starts and 15 relief appearances.
Lady Ram teammate Taylor Clinkenbeard earned a spot on the NAIA Softball All-World Series Team. In three tournament games, the junior outfielder was 7-of-10 at the plate, with two runs scored and two stolen bases. For the season, Clinkenbeard hit .401 and led the SSAC tournament champions in average, runs, hits, triples, walks, steals and on-base percentage.
Clinkenbeard was also named the SSAC Newcomer of the Year. She was on the first-team unit with Scott and Jordan Coleman. Sydney O’Connor was second-team all-conference, while Coleman and Anna Blake Barnette were on the Gold Glove unit.
Heading to Cooperstown
The Alabama Aces 12-and-under team will participate in the Cooperstown Dreams Park and American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament. The action begins Friday in the New York birthplace of America’s pastime.
Mel Spivey and Kevin Nabors coach the team. On the roster are Trey Greer, Jeremiah Martin and J.P. Stroecker of Mobile; Jackson Bassett, Maddux Bruns and Zach Cochran of Satsuma; Ivan Shultz and Brandon Smith of Spanish Fort; Spencer Arceneaux of Grand Bay; Keyshawn Woodyard of Eight Mile; and Vinnie Bosio of Pascagoula. To learn more about the event, visit www.cooperstowndreamspark.com.
YMCA creates adult basketball league
An adult basketball league is planned for Hearin-Chandler Family YMCA at 951 Downtowner Blvd. in Mobile. Registration is taking place through July 6.
The fee is $350 per team, with a maximum roster of 10 players. Individual players without a team can apply for $45. Games will be played on Friday nights at the Moorer YMCA at 101 N. Water St. and at Hearin-Chandler. The five-week season starts July 10.
Teams must provide their own jerseys or matching apparel. For more information, contact Marcus Nobles at [email protected]