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Lander baseball dominates All-PBC Awards Banquet

The top award winners at the PBC Baseball Awards Banquet, from left, are: Coach of the Year Kermit Smith, Lander; Freshman of the Year Brandon White, Lander; Pitcher of the Year Ethan Bader, Armstrong Atlantic; and Player of the Year Patrick Grady, Lander. (Photo by Milledge Austin)
The top award winners at the PBC Baseball Awards Banquet, from left, are: Coach of the Year Kermit Smith, Lander; Freshman of the Year Brandon White, Lander; Pitcher of the Year Ethan Bader, Armstrong Atlantic; and Player of the Year Patrick Grady, Lander. (Photo by Milledge Austin)

AIKEN – The No. 2-ranked Lander baseball team dominated the Peach Belt Conference awards banquet Friday night when it claimed Coach of the Year, Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in addition to landing seven players on either the All-PBC first or second teams.

Kermit Smith was voted the Coach of the Year after guiding the Bearcats to a program best 44-6 record and the PBC regular-season championship; right fielder Patrick Grady was named the Player of the Year after batting .421; and Freshman of the Year Brandon White notched 10 saves and posted a 1.24 ERA as a relief pitcher.

Bearcats joining Grady on the All-PBC first team are first baseman Connor Lewis, second baseman Graham Ramos, shortstop Erik Lunde and starting pitcher Dylan Wolchik.

Making the second team for Lander were third baseman Colby Painter and left fielder Weston Lawing.

Grady, Ramos, Lunde, Wolchik and Lawing also earned All-PBC honors in 2013.

Smith, who has coached at Lander for five years, has turned the program around and developed it into one of the best in the country. Smith has amassed an overall 170-99 record at Lander with consecutive records of 24-23, 29-24, 38-20, 35-16 and 44-6.

Grady, a senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., became Lander's first baseball All-American in 2013 and has set Lander single-season records in doubles (25) and runs scored (77). He also has eight home runs, one triple, 42 RBI, 34 walks and 15 hit by pitch. His slugging percentage is .680 and he has an on-base percentage of .532. He leads the PBC and was ranked third in the nation in doubles. He also leads the conference in runs scored and on-base percentage. His batting average is second in the PBC and he is fourth in the league in slugging. A PBC Player of the Week and 2013 Lander Male Athlete of the Year, he becomes the first Lander baseball player to ever be named the PBC Player of the Year.

White, of Chapin, S.C., was 3-2 on the season and was fifth in the league with 24 appearances, all in relief, and was third in the league in saves. He registered 44 strikeouts in 29 innings of work, giving him a 13.66 strikeouts per nine inning average. White held batters to a .163 average – sixth in the PBC – and allowed only 16 hits all season. White is the second Bearcat in the last three years to be honored as the PBC Freshman of the Year, joining Chris Thomas who won in 2012.

Lewis, a senior from Columbia, S.C., set single-season Lander record for home runs with 16 and ranks third nationally and first in the PBC in that category. He has batted .366 with one triple, 12 doubles, 60 runs scored, 60 RBI, 36 walks and a slugging percentage of .657. His 60 RBI ties the school record he set in 2013.

Ramos, a senior from Tampa, Fla., is batting .372 with six home runs, three triples, nine doubles, 40 runs scored, 59 RBI 17 walks and a .556 slugging percentage.

Lunde, a senior from Pompano Beach, Fla. and Lander's reigning Male Athlete of the Year, is batting .380 with 12 home runs, four triples, 19 doubles, 63 runs scored, 47 RBI, 33 walks, 15 hit by pitch and a .683 slugging percentage.

Wolchik holds a 10-1 overall record on the mound with a 3.74 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 96.1 innings pitched.

Painter, a junior from Chesnee, S.C., is batting .333 with eight home runs, three triples, 12 doubles, 37 runs scored, 56 RBI, 27 walks and a .603 slugging percentage.

Lawing, a junior from Belmont, N.C., is batting .319 with five home runs, one triple, 17 doubles, 51 runs scored, 47 RBI, 22 walks and a .483 slugging percentage.