BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – To cap the 2013 baseball regular season, Arkansas-Pine Bluff junior shortstop Isias Alcantar headlines this year’s post season honors as the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Alabama State sophomore pitcher, T.J. Renda, was tabbed Pitcher of the Year while Grambling State senior outfield specialist, Darren Farmer, received Hitter of the Year.
To close out the SWAC baseball superlatives, Alabama State outfielder, Dillon Cooper, earned Freshman of the Year with Jackson State junior outfielder, Charles Tillery, capturing Newcomer of the Year. UAPB head coach, Carlos James, was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
The awards, along with first and second-team All-SWAC honors, are voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors.
In all, eastern division champions Jackson State had the most selections with six. JSU’s count also includes a league best on the first team with three.
Western division champions, Southern, followed with five selections with two named to the first team. Alabama State had four selections while Grambling State, Texas Southern, and Alabama A&M finished the voting with two apiece. Prairie View A&M, Mississippi Valley State, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff rounded out the count with each posting a player on the first team.
Alcantar played in 51 games leading UAPB with a .346 batting average while finishing fourth in the SWAC. He ranked first in the SWAC in hits (68), total bases (96), at bats (198), and batting average facing two outs (.459). He also led the Golden Lions in slugging percentage (.485) and RBI (38).
Renda finished out the season with the best record on the mound in the league going 8-1. He suffered his only loss to last year’s NCAA national champions, Arizona. He was named SWAC Pitcher of the Week on two occasions and posted the best earned run average (2.28 ERA) in 12 appearances. Renda also led the league in strikeouts (83), sitting down 26 batters looking.
After finishing last season as the Newcomer of the Year, Farmer adds the hitting title to his collegiate career. He sits atop of SWAC leaders in batting average with at .361. He also led the SWAC in sacrifice flies (9) while finishing third in RBI (36). Farmer was also named SWAC Player of the Week during the season.
In his first season on the collegiate level, Cooper played started more than 50 games. He recorded an on-base percentage of .363 while batting .298. He finished third on the team in home runs (3), runs scored (31), hits (54) and doubles (9).
Tillery closed out his first season in the SWAC with a .353 batting average which ranked third in the conference. He also led the league in on-base-percentage (.479). Along with his batting average, Tillery led JSU in runs scored (47), hits (61), walks (33), stolen bases (24), at bats (185) and home runs (4).
Coach James was tagged Coach of the Year after leading UAPB to 21-30 record including a 13-11 mark in conference play. The Golden Lions finished home play at the Torri Hunter Baseball Complex with a 12-9 record. The Golden Lions pitching staff combined for an earned run average of 4.20 which ranks first in the conference. Three were named to a conference leading SWAC Pitchers of the Week this year.
UAPB also led the SWAC in assists (575) and combined batting average with two outs (.237). To spotlight the season, UAPB defeated TCU, 6-4, before closing out the year with a two-game sweep over Prairie View A&M. With the wins, the Golden Lions jumped to second place in the final western division standings. The Golden Lions were selected to finish fifth in the preseason poll after ending its 2012 campaign 8-38 (6-18 SWAC).
Joining Alcantar, Renda, and Farmer on the first team include: Prairie View A&M’s Dominiq Harris (1B), SWAC leader in stolen bases, Mississippi Valley State’s Edmund Cheatham (2B), Alabama A&M freshman Austin Husley (SS), Texas Southern’s Ellis Stephney (OF), Southern’s Tyler Kirksey (OF) and Jose DeLeon (P), along with Jackson State trio of Andre Rodriguez (RP), Jose Cruz (C), and Malcolm Tate (DH).
Tillery earned second team honors with Ethan Bright (1B – Jackson State), Stephen Curtis (2B – Jackson State), Juan Bueno (SS – Grambling State), Waldyvan Estrada (Alabama State – OF), Patrick Dodson (OF – Alabama A&M), Jesse Holiday (P – Southern), Marcos Lara (P – Texas Southern), Josh Powell (RP – Southern), Richard Gonzalez (C – Alabama State) and Kevin Williams (DH – Southern).
SP – T.J. Renda (Alabama State)
SP – Jose DeLeon (Southern)
RP – Andre Rodriguez (Jackson State)
C – Jose Cruz (Jackson State)
1B – Dominiq Harris (Prairie View A&M)
2B – Edmund Cheatham (Mississippi Valley State)
SS – Isias Alcantar (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
3B – Austin Husley (Alabama A&M)
OF – Ellis Stephany (Texas Southern)
OF – Darren Farmer (Grambling State)
OF – Tyler Kirksey (Southern)
DH – Malcolm Tate (Jackson State)
SP – Jesse Holiday (Southern)
SP – Marcos Lara (Texas Southern)
RP – Josh Powell (Southern)
C – Richard Gonzalez (Alabama State)
1B – Ethan Bright (Jackson State)
2B – Stephen Curtis (Jackson State)
SS – Juan Bueno (Grambling State)
3B – Leo Rojas (Alabama State)
OF – Charles Tillery (Jackson State)
OF – Waldyvan Estrada (Alabama State)
OF – Patrick Dodson (Alabama A&M)
DH – Kevin Williams (Southern)
Player of the Year
Isias Alcantar – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Pitcher of the Year
T.J. Renda – Alabama State
Hitter of the Year
Darren Farmer – Grambling State
Newcomer of the Year
Charles Tillery – Jackson State
Freshman of the Year
Dillon Cooper – Alabama State
Coach of the Year
Carlos James – Arkansas-Pine Bluff