College baseball: Super season for Driver with Indians; Kepley shining at Liberty
Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023
From staff reports
Catawba outfielder Dylan Driver, who starred at Carson, finished the college baseball season the same way he started it.
Driver, who went 10-for-14 to get things started against Shippensburg in a three-game series in early February, went 5-for-9 during Catawba’s short stay in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament. Despite Driver’s sizzling bat, the third-seeded Indians were eliminated quickly, falling 11-3 to sixth-seeded Lincoln Memorial and 7-3 to seventh-seeded Anderson.
Based on OPS, Driver, a sophomore, was Catawba’s best offensive player and he received the Dick Williams Award as Team MVP. He batted .364 with a team-high four homers and a team-leading 14 doubles. He scored 47 runs in 51 games, drove in 34 runs and was 25-for-27 on stolen base attempts. With 25 walks and 15 HBPs he had a .470 on-base percentage.
He also may have been Catawba’s best defensive player and earned a SAC Gold Glove Award for his work in right field.
Driver. who is batting .353 for his two-year college career, was only third team All-SAC, which means there must have been some amazing outfielders in the SAC.
Catawba starting pitcher Austin Fine, who won nine games, and relief pitcher Robbie Cowie, who saved five, were All-SAC first team picks.
Shortstop Levi Perrell had an outstanding season for the Indians and was second team All-SAC. He hit .326, with 52 runs scored, 34 RBIs and 25 steals.
Catawba finished 27-24, a winning season but obviously a down year for a program that has been an incredibly consistent force in the SAC under head coach Jim Gantt.
The Indians were out-homered 57-17. That was difficult to overcome.
The Indians still won more than their share at home, but they were 7-16 away from Newman Park.
Kane Kepley (South Rowan) has made a major impact as a freshman for Liberty University. Kepley has been dynamic in the outfield, with leaping catches, sliding catches and diving catches. He’s batting .299 with a .433 on-base percentage and has scored 26 runs for the Flames.
UNC Vance Honeycutt (Salisbury) doesn’t see a lot of great pitches to swing at, but still has 11 homers and 37 RBIs. Honeycutt is only batting .261, but with all those walks, he has an OBP of .434. He has 17 stolen bases.
Nathan Chrismon (South Rowan) stole second base as a pinch-runner and scored the winning run on a single on a close play at the plate in East Carolina’s 11-10 win against Tulane,
Chrismon hasn’t gotten to swing the bat a lot as a freshman, but he’s been a factor in quite a few games with his defense and base running.
Jake Hunter (East Rowan) is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA for the ECU Pirates.
Gardner-Webb’s Bo Rusher (Salisbury) has hit four home runs this season. He’s batting .288 with 19 RBIs.
Steven Smith (West Rowan) has hit eight homers for Caldwell Tech,
Pfeiffer’s Sam Safrit (Carson) got his first college save in a 4-1 win against Mary Baldwin over the weekend.
Pfeiffer’s John Owen (East Rowan) shut out Mary Baldwin for eight innings in a 12-0 romp and boosted his record to 6-2.