Goforth and Thompson lead quartet on All-SAC squads

Goforth and Thompson lead quartet on All-SAC squads

VIDEO: Ethan Goforth Interview

VIDEO: Tyler Thompson Interview

ROCK HILL, S.C. – For the second-straight season Carson-Newman saw four players lauded by the South Atlantic Conference postseason all-league clubs led by first team nods for Ethan Goforth and Tyler Thompson announced Tuesday. Goforth also earned a spot on the all-defensive team with Greg Valentine taking a slot on the second unit and John Sharpe being tabbed honorable mention.

This year is the fourth time this decade and first since 2016 that the program places at least two players on the top club. In 2016, Brandon Roberts and Vince Apicella were slotted among the best in the SAC. Of the 13 players listed on the top squad, all but two were represented by C-N, Newberry (3), Lincoln Memorial (4) and Tusculum (2).

Goforth is the fourth C-N catcher to earn a spot on the first team and first since Matt Harper in 1998. After being a second team pick in 2018, he is the second catcher is school history to be a two-time All-SAC selection joining Wes Ward who was a two-time second-team honoree in 2002 and 2003. He is the third Eagle to be a first-team selection and defensive team pick in the same year joining pitcher Robby Thigpen in 2012 and Roberts in 2016.

"I have gotten a lot of support around me," Goforth said. "Teammates, coaches and staff does a great job keeping us all healthy and loose throughout the season. Honestly, the runs scored doesn't happen without RBIs. That doesn't happen without other people and I can't thank them enough."

The Blacksburg, Va. native is putting together one of the best years in recent memory with a .376 batting average, 11 homers, 41 RBIs, 70 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. Those numbers put him in the top 10 in average, homers and runs scored, where he leads the country. His 70 tally is good for third on the school's all-time runs scored list, three behind the program record of 73 set by Shap Stiles in 1999 and Jim Higgins in 2002.

The junior went 0-for-4 in the first game of 2019 and has since not seen his average dip below .357 since the opening series. The junior's 15-game hitting streak from March 19-April 15 was the longest by an Eagle since Paul Kirby hit safely in 16 in 2017. During that span, he went 27-56, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, 24 runs with eight multi-hit games. The right-handed hitter has been hit by 22 pitches this season to reset the school record that was previously 14.

He has produced 21 multi-hit games on the year including a third of the team's four-hit games with 11 multi-RBI efforts. On 19 occasions, he crossed the plate at least twice.

Earning a spot on the all-defensive team, Goforth is on the list for the second year in-a-row becoming the first Eagle to do that since the inception of the honors at the beginning of the decade. He led all catchers by a wide margin with 32 assists on the year committing five errors in 415 chances for a .988 fielding percentage. He also threw out 16 of the 38 runners attempting to steal a bag, a 42 percent rate, to lead the league among players with at least a dozen attempts against.

Thompson is the first C-N outfielder to be on the top team since Jeff Lockwood in 2010 becoming the 25th outfielder to earn a year-end plaudit. The sophomore led the team with 24 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI affairs.

"It helps a lot to have the guys we have around me in the lineup," Thompson said. "I have been trying to get a little better each day. This school has had a lot of really great players and same thing with the league. It's really humbling to be mentioned with them."

The Gallatin, Tenn. native is the conference's regular-season batting champion by 20 points hitting .439 on the season while pacing the SAC in on-base percentage with a .532 clip and slugging percentage by 68 points finishing the year with a .768 tally. His batting average is on pace to set the program's NCAA record for a single season passing Stiles's mark of .414 from 1999 to become the sixth Eagle in the Division II era to hit over .400.

He started the year 1-for-5 in the opener before rattling off five straight hits. On the year, his batting average has not been below .422 since the opener with that mark coming in the middle game of the Lincoln Memorial series on March 10. He followed that with three multi-hit games in-a-row. Thompson is the fourth SAC player since 2012 to hit above .430 in a season and first since Wingate's Shane Billings hit .444 in 2016.

The two-time SAC Player of the Week won the first and last honor of the season going 8-for-13 against Limestone with a homer and a couple steals. He was given the award today by the league going 7-for-18 over the past week with two bombs, seven RBIs and eight runs scored. Since the conference began naming weekly honors Thompson is the first C-N hitter to earn the plaudit twice in the same year. Several pitchers have achieved that feat most recently done by Vince Apicella in 2016.

Moving to the starting rotation for the first time in his career, Valentine has put together a brilliant campaign going 8-2 on the mound with a 3.39 ERA in 71 2/3 innings. His eight victories are good for third in the league and among the top 20 in the country while his ERA is good for fourth among starters.

For his career, he has pitched in 91 games to hold the school record being Division II's active leader in the area. He passed the mark with his start on April 5 against ninth-ranked Newberry passing the mark of 88 previously held by Ryan Fillers (2010-13). He is 19-4 during that stretch with 155 strikeouts in 174 1/3 stanzas on the bump.

In three starts this month, the Knoxville, Tenn. native has a 1.69 ERA with 18 punch outs in 21 1/3 innings. That period includes the best outing of career going eight innings of one-run baseball at Queens on April 13 fanning 12. His eight wins this year are good sixth on the school's Division II list in a tie with Matt Ward (1998) and Chad Gillis (2004).

Sharpe is on the list for the first time in his career becoming the first second baseman to be honored on an all-conference team since Langdon Potts was on the second squad in 2008.

The Franklin, Tenn. had a strong finish to the season to put himself in 12th in the league with 43 RBIs and a .346 batting average. He went 7-for-10 with five doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored in a three-game series sweep of Coker over the weekend. He is hitting .419 in April and has seen his average jump 48 points over his last 10 games. In that time, the senior is hitting .514 with a homer and 16 RBIs as 10 of his 18 hits have gone for extra bases scoring 10 times.

With 18 doubles on the year, he has produced the fourth-most in the league on the year padding that with three two-baggers in the series finale on Monday that included a game-winning walk-off against Coker. Sharpe has 17 multi-hit games and is tied for second on the team with 11 multi-RBI efforts.

The Eagles turn their sights towards the Pilot Flying J SAC Baseball Championships playing in single elimination contest Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. against seventh-seeded Anderson. Tune into the broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network by visiting cneagles.com/live.

2019 SAC Baseball All-Conference
All-SAC First Team
OF – Danton Hyman, Newberry
OF – Tyler Thompson, Carson-Newman
OF – Jed Bryant, Wingate
1B – Chris Salvey, Lincoln Memorial
2B – Daulton Martin, Tusculum
SS – Jeremy Simpson, Catawba
3B – Tyler Adams, Lincoln Memorial
C – Ethan Goforth, Carson-Newman
DH – Nate Stinson, Lincoln Memorial
SP – Charles Hall, Tusculum
SP – Ethan Elliott, Lincoln Memorial
SP – Josh Bookbinder, Newberry
RP – Quinton Driggers, Newberry

All-SAC Second Team
OF – Seth Hunt, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Will Reddick, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Clayton Jeffries, Lenoir-Rhyne
1B – Noah Jones, Queens
2B – Dalton Lansdowne, Newberry
SS – Colin Allman, Newberry
3B – Jackson Raper, Catawba
C – Nate Montgomery, Tusculum
DH – Heath Mitchem, Catawba
SP – Bryan Ketchie, Catawba
SP – Greg Valentine, Carson-Newman
SP – Austin Turgeon, Wingate
RP – Hunter Dula, Wingate

Honorable Mentions
OF – Jarel McDade, Tusculum
OF – Nick Butler, Newberry
OF – E.J. Ranel, Lenoir-Rhyne
1B – Larry McCabe, Coker
2B – John Sharpe, Carson-Newman
SS – Casey Demko, Coker
3B – Bryson Ford, Tusculum
C – Andrew Llewellyn, Wingate
DH – Matthew Freeman, Lenoir-Rhyne
SP – Charlie Fessler, Newberry
SP – Tomas Sorcia, Jr., Newberry
SP - Alex Shirazi, Lenoir-Rhyne
SP - Riley Myers, Catawba
RP – Christian Carpenter, Anderson

All-Defensive Team
RF – Lee Poteat, Catawba
CF – Danton Hyman, Newberry
LF – Will Reddick, Lincoln Memorial
1B – Chris Salvey, Lincoln Memorial
2B – Lake Lybrand, Coker
SS – Jeremy Simpson, Catawba
3B – Jackson Raper, Catawba
C – Ethan Goforth, Carson-Newman
P – Quinton Driggers, Newberry

Player of the Year: Danton Hyman, Newberry
Pitcher of the Year: Charles Hall, Tusculum
Freshman of the Year: Josh Bookbinder, Newberry
Coach of the Year: Russell Triplett, Newberry

- CN -