Collegiate Baseball Magazine released their Players to Watch List for the 2013 Spring Baseball Season in their January Issue. The Players to Watch List was created based upon recommendations from NAIA baseball coaches from around the country. Five Lions were selected to the list, including All-AAC Team Member Tyler Latham.
Latham returns for his junior season coming off of a stellar sophomore season that saw him hit .333 with 11 doubles, 4 triples and 12 homeruns to go with 50 RBI's. He transitions to catcher as a junior after spending his first two seasons at second base. "Catcher is his natural position, it is where he grew up playing," Coach Hasty remarked about moving Latham, "We are excited about having him behind the plate for us as he is a great leader who plays the game hard."
Joining Latham on the Collegiate Baseball list is Kevin Layne, who returns as a 5th-year senior for the Lions. The left fielder and leadoff hitter for the Lions was a second-team All-AAC member in 2012 after hitter .351 with 18 doubles, 2 triples and 6 homeruns. "Kevin has been a staple in our line-up for the past three seasons and we are excited about this honor for it is well deserved," Coach Hasty said about Layne being named to the list.
The Lions also had three pitchers on the list, two relievers and a starter. Adam Sanders, who led the country in saves last year with 18, and Kenny Knudsen, the returning Appalachian Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, are the relievers identified by Collegiate Baseball. "Our relieving corps is stronger than it has ever been, due in large part to these two young men," Coach Hasty observed.
Newcomer, Tristan Speak, a junior transfer from St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Mo., joins the other four as a Player to Watch in 2013. A member of the weekend rotation for the Lions, Speak bolsters an already strong pitching rotation for the Lions.
"I am grateful to Collegiate Baseball and their recognition of our players. We have many who deserve to be recognized for their effort and hard work in preparation for 2013," Coach Hasty remarked about the list. "These 5 are only a small portion of the team that it takes to perform at a high level. Many of our opponents have players on this list as well, and we will need to play to the best of our ability as we seek to be successful this spring."