ROCK HILL – Newberry had five baseball players named preseason all-South Atlantic Conference, including four first team selections, and the Wolves were picked to finish third in the league as the conference office announced its preseason awards on Thursday.
The Wolves received a first-place vote and 86 points in the preseason coaches’ poll, just four points behind second-place Tusculum. Newberry finished tied for fourth in the league last season at 13-11, one game behind Tusculum and Carson-Newman, and went 33-19-1 overall. Four-time defending league champion Catawba was picked to defend its crown again in 2017.
Newberry matched Catawba for the league lead in both overall all-league selections (five) and first-team honorees (four). Carson-Newman and Tusculum each had four players honored by the SAC office.
Zack Kelly (SP) – Kelly went 8-4 with a 3.02 ERA during a standout junior season in 2016. His sterling ERA was second in the SAC behind eighth round MLB Draft pick Placido Torres of Tusculum. Kelly finished fourth in the league with a team-high 83 strikeouts, seventh with 8.65 punchouts per nine innings, and allowed opponents to hit just .214 off him. Kelly earned second team all-Southeast Region honors from the ABCA and Rawlings a season ago.
Derek Olenchuk (3B) – Olenchuk was a second team all-SAC honoree in 2016 following a breakout sophomore season. The third baseman finished third on the team with a .345 batting average. He led the team in both hits (67) and runs batted in (49), finishing 10th and 11th in the SAC in those categories, and won an AstroTurf SAC Player of the Week accolade for hitting .545 with four RBI during a perfect opening weekend that saw Newberry take down a pair of ranked teams.
Jeff Sneed (C) – The reigning SAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Third Team Academic All-America selection finished fifth on the team with a .314 batting average. He made 52 starts as the Wolves’ primary backstop, accumulating 34 RBI and 61 total hits. He gunned down nearly 29 percent of would-be base stealers, leading the league with 17 runners caught stealing, and committed just five errors in 430 defensive chances.
Daymon Totherow (OF) – Totherow was a junior in his first season in the program after transferring from Patrick Henry Community College in 2016. He finished second on the team with a .355 average and led the team in slugging at .574. He hit 10 doubles, a conference-high nine triples, four home runs, tied for third on the team with 35 RBI, and finished fifth in the league with 22 stolen bases. Both his 14 multi-RBI games and 15-game hitting streak led the team.
Danton Hyman (OF) – Newberry’s primary center fielder in 2016, Hyman hit .326 with five doubles, two triples, and 21 runs batted in. He enters the season with a 10-game hitting streak still intact. Hyman was an asset in the field too, committing just one error on the season. He also appeared in 10 games on the mound with seven starts, earning a win over USC Aiken and a save against Lenoir-Rhyne.
PRESEASON SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE COACHES' POLL
ALL-SAC FIRST TEAM
OF – Daymon Totherow, Newberry
OF – Ryan Addington, Carson-Newman
OF – Cade Snapp, Carson-Newman
1B – Chance Bowden, Catawba
2B – Zack Finchum, Tusculum
SS – Jimmy Rice, Carson-Newman
3B – Derek Olenchuck, Newberry
C – Jeff Sneed, Newberry
DH – Malachi Hanes, Catawba
SP – Zack Kelly, Newberry
SP – Russ Weiker, Catawba
SP – Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial
RP – Bryan Blanton, Catawba
ALL-SAC SECOND TEAM
OF – Mason Ewers, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Danton Hyman, Newberry
OF – Austin Turgeon, Wingate
1B – Nick Lacina, Tusculum
2B – Kyle Smith, Catawba
SS – Bryson Conner, Coker
3B – Eric Kalman, Lincoln Memorial
C – Gooch Greer, Carson-Newman
DH – Bradley Brown, Wingate
SP – Brandon Dona hue, Wingate
SP – Christian Raasch, Tusculum
SP – Zach Slagle, Tusculum
RP – Tad Ratliff, Lenoir-Rhyne