ATLANTA — In exclusive voting by head coaches of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), the Berry College baseball team placed a total of 11 players on the All-Conference teams including Jacob Delk, Spence Johns and head coach David Beasley who earned major awards.
Jacob Delk was selected as the SAA Player of the Year, becoming just the second Viking to earn the distinction a year after Alfred Francis claimed the program's first honor. Spence Johns was selected as the SAA Newcomer of the Year, which is the first for the Berry baseball team. Head coach David Beasley also earned SAA Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his career.
Joining Johns and Delk on the All-SAA first team were Devin Post, Casey Whitaker and Trey Rampy. Second team selections include Quinn Smith, Tyler Calvert, Ben Coker, Luke Crawford and William Gibbons. Zack Walch rounded out Berry's honorees on the honorable mention team.
Coach Beasley led the Vikings to the program's first SAA Regular Season title with a chance to earn the team's first bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend as Berry hosts Rhodes for the SAA tournament crown. The winningest coach in Berry history has improved his career record to 619-416-2 over his 21-year tenure.
Delk, a senior catcher from Alpharetta, Ga., has more than doubled his production at the plate from a season ago, currently hitting .430 with a .629 slugging percentage. He has tied the Berry NCAA Division III era single-season hits record with 65 and has an opportunity to break that record (held by last year's SAA Player of the Year, Alfred Francis) this weekend. He is currently ranked second in the SAA in batting average and leads the league with 55 RBIs. Delk was also named the Berry Athletics Male Student Athlete of the Year on Tuesday evening.
Johns, a freshman pitcher and second baseman from Dacula, Ga., earns Newcomer of the Year honors after a dominant rookie campaign. He is currently ranked second in the SAA in runs (44), hits (62) and is third in the SAA with a .413 batting average. On the mound, Johns made eight appearances tossing his way to a 4-1 record and a 3.46 ERA, one of the top five marks on a deep Berry pitching staff.
Post, a junior third baseman from Lakeland, Fla., is also having a career year at the plate. He is ranked No. 5 in the league currently with a .394 average and is also fifth in hits with 56. Post has been a consistent hot corner fielder, turning eight double plays on the year with a .926 fielding percentage.
Whitaker, a junior outfielder from Lakeland, Fla., is currently swinging a .358 bat with 33 RBIs on the year. He is also leading the team with 15 stolen bases and three triples. Whitaker is posting several career-bests and leads the league with 46 runs scored.
Rampy, a senior pitcher from Locust Grove, Ga., set the single-season strikeout record this year with 67 over 61.1 innings of work. He has a career-best 2.79 ERA on the year which ranks second in the SAA. He is also one of just six pitchers in the league to collect at least five victories this year. Rampy has walked just 11 batters on the year, which leads the SAA for pitchers throwing at least 50.0 innings.
Smith, a sophomore from Rocky Face, Ga., spent most of his time as the designated hitter in the Vikings' lineup this season. He is hitting .366 on the year with a .504 slugging percentage, 48 hits and 35 RBIs. Smith is leading the SAA with five sacrifice flies on the year.
Calvert, a sophomore infielder from Braselton, Ga., is currently hitting a career-high .343 on the year with a .607 slugging percentage. His six home runs are tied with Jacob Delk for the team-lead. Calvert is also tied at second in the SAA with 13 doubles on the year.
Coker, a sophomore pitcher from Dacula, Ga., has had a dominant season so far. He set the Berry single-season wins record with nine earlier this year, which also leads the SAA. He has logged 69.2 innings pitcher for a 3.75 ERA, allowing just 15 walks while striking out 62.
Crawford, a sophomore pitcher from Auburn, Ga., has thrown 21.0 innings in relief for Berry on the year. His 2.57 ERA leads the team. Crawford is also averaging 9.86 strikeouts per nine innings, earning 23 on the year. He has a 1-0 record and a save this season.
Gibbons, a junior pitcher from Birmingham, Ala., is also having one of the best seasons of his career. Tossing in 33.1 innings, he has earned three wins and a pair of saves in relief, striking out 43.
Walch, a sophomore outfielder from Norcross, Ga., is hitting .397 from the leadoff spot on the year with a .504 on base percentage. Competing in his first year for Berry after transferring from Covenant College, he is ranked top five in the SAA in batting average, runs scored, sacrifice hits and OBP.