EMORY, Va. - The Emory & Henry College Baseball Team completed the 2015-16 season with several accolades and major improvements. The offense was certainly more potent, evidenced by the 217 runs scored by the team, compared to 163 in 2015. The team also notched a higher on-base percentage evidenced by 126 walks and 36 hit batsmen, up from 87 and 22 last season, respectively. This year's team had a great mix of great upperclassmen leadership, along with great young talent.
The team saw three of his members named to the All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference teams. Senior outfielder Brandon Lineberry was named to the All-ODAC First Team, while sophomore first baseman Carson Bryant and sophomore shortstop Holden Watkins were named to the All-ODAC Second and Third Teams, respectively. It is the most all-league honorees for the Wasps since the 2012 season.
Lineberry led Emory & Henry in every offensive category this year including batting average (.344), at bats (154), hits (53), runs (34), doubles (19), home runs (10), RBI (41), walks (19), on-base percentage (.418) and slugging (.662). Lineberry set the E&H record for doubles in a single-season this year. And in only two years, he reached third on the all-time home run list, with 19. Bryant batted .331 for the year with nine doubles, 18 runs, nine doubles, and nine walks. Watkins was third on the squad in batting (.333), runs (24), home runs (two), 14 RBI, and slugging percentage (.451). He also led the team with five stolen bases.
In addition to Lineberry, there were five other seniors on this underclassman-laden squad. Pitcher Aaron Sparks started twelve games, struck out a career-high 34 batters on the season, bringing his career total to 92. Outfielder Ben Barnett played in 15 games in his final season with the Wasps, batting .231 with one home run, ten RBI, and eight runs. Toby Edwards saw action in seven games from his catcher position, knocking a double and scoring a run. Due to injuries, Ty Hill and Chase Kirk were unable to see the field this year. During their careers, Hill struck out 41 in 131.2 innings and tallied four complete games, while Kirk earned three saves and had 39 strikeouts in 62.1 innings.
There are three juniors who will return to the team in 2017. Pitcher Garrett Butler led the team in innings pitched with 68 and strikeouts with 39 as a weekend starter. Nick Lesnak appeared in 10 games on the mound, striking out 22 batters in 29.2 innings. Hunter Jeffries played in 32 games, predominantly at second base for E&H, scoring 17 runs and driving in 12 more.
The key for Emory & Henry this year was its youth. Most days saw the majority of the lineup filled by freshmen and sophomores. The future looks bright as there will be experienced players up and down the lineup for the Wasps next year. Josh Macek played 34 games in centerfield for Emory & Henry and although he is known for his defense, also produced at the plate, with 21 runs scored and 17 RBI. Freshman pitcher Gavin Felty was a major bright spot for the squad, leading the way with five wins and posted the lowest ERA (3.29) on the team. Freshman Eli Straw started 37 games at third base providing power with four home runs, eight doubles, a triple, 23 RBI and 25 runs scored.
Connor Stevenson played in 25 games behind the plate, hitting .279 with 11 runs and seven RBI. Daulton Horne played second base throughout his rookie and showed off his speed by stealing four bases and scoring 18 runs. Freshmen Ben Sexton and Ross French also played routinely for the Wasps. Sexton played in 33 games and drove in 16 runs, while French played in 19 and drove in 10. This core of freshmen and sophomores will be key as Emory & Henry moves forward to the 2017 season.
Hits – 53 – Brandon Lineberry
Batting Average - .344 – Brandon Lineberry
Home Runs – 10 – Brandon Lineberry
Runs Batted In – 41 – Brandon Linberry
Stolen Bases – 5 – Holden Watkins
Innings Pitched – 68.0 – Garrett Butler
Wins – 5 – Gavin Felty
Strikeouts – 39 – Garrett Butler
ERA – 3.29 – Gavin Felty