Kingsport, Tenn. – On Monday, the office announced the Appalachian Athletic Conference baseball awards for the 2016 season, and the Bryan Lions were well represented on the All-Conference Teams, Gold Glove Team, and All-Academic Team.
The No. 21 Lions had five standouts earn All-Conference First Team honors, which was the most of any team in the conference. Outfielders Langston Calhoun (SR/Berkeley, Calif.) and Preston King (SR/Kingston, Tenn.), catcher Justin Morhardt (SO/Winsted, Conn.), starting pitcher LJ Rowden (SR/Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), and outfielder/first baseman Crandon Wallace (SR/Nassau, Bahamas) were all named to the first team, while second baseman Evan Speicher (SR/Chattanooga, Tenn.) was the lone Lion to make the second team.
A transfer from Berkley, Calif., Calhoun came to Bryan College in the fall of 2013 after spending two seasons at San Joaquin Delta Community College. After spending time in right field where he was named to the All-AAC team as a junior, Calhoun made a transition to center field this season where he has continued to demonstrate his athletic ability. He maintained one of the hottest bats on the Lions team this season as he leads in batting average (.368) and hits (68). With the team's highest on base percentage (.462), Calhoun has scored 41 runs for Bryan. Power has been present, as he's smoked 11 doubles, a team leading three triples, and seven homeruns for a total of 30 RBIs. His speed has proved to be a threat as well, because out of 15 stolen base attempts, he has found success 13 times to rank 2nd on the team.
A Kingston, Tenn. native, King came to Bryan in the fall of 2012 and has been a key part of the Lions Baseball program. He will finish his career at Bryan among the top three in games played (194), slugging percentage (.565), doubles (44), triples (6), homeruns (28), runs scored (143), and runs batted in (147). Last season, he was named to the All-AAC Team and earned NAIA All-American honors after setting regular season records in doubles (23) and homers (13). This year he carries an impressive .339 batting average and .536 slugging percentage. King trails Calhoun by just three hits (65) and has unloaded nine doubles, one triple, and nine homeruns in the process. He has compiled 41 runs scored and drove in the second largest amount of RBIs on the team (44). In addition to All-Conference recognition, King landed a spot on the Gold Glove Team by controlling a .973 fielding percentage and adding 104 putouts with only three errors.
After transferring from Liberty University, Morhardt has provided the Lions with an explosive offensive weapon during his sophomore year. The Winsted, Conn. native amassed a team-high 17 doubles and 48 RBIs with a notable .366 batting average. His .590 slugging percentage led the team, while he ripped eight homeruns and 67 hits this year to earn a reputation as one of the top batters in the conference.
The elder leader of this year's team, Rowden has provided continual guidance since first entering Bryan College in the fall of 2010. An injury to his left elbow appeared to derail a promising career as he was forced to fight through elbow surgery midway through his freshman season. After sitting out for nearly two seasons, he made a return to pitch for the Lions where he has been a cornerstone to the weekend rotation for the past four seasons. With over 30 wins in his collegiate career, Rowden will go down as one of the greatest pitchers in program history. He will finish his career as the leader in games started (57), innings pitched (350.1), strikeouts (245), wins (32), and one of the top ERA's (3.29). Rowden's 10 wins this season lead the AAC, while he also posts a noteworthy 3.33 ERA through the 359 total batters he has faced. He has held his opponents to .268 batting while he is on the mound and has hurled four complete games this season.
Originally from Nassau, Bahamas, Wallace transferred to Bryan from Cecil Community College (Tex.). After red-shirting his freshman year, he has made a major impact at Bryan College both on and off the field. During his career, Wallace has spent time in the outfield and at first base, as well as a brief attempt at pitching. The hard work has paid off this spring for the lefty as his bat has significantly improved. He has led the Lion's running attack as well by stealing over 60 bases in his career. Wallace has been nearly perfect this season, succeeding on 24 out of 25 stolen base attempts. His blistering .323 batting average and .559 slugging percentage has given way to a team-high 10 homeruns respectively, eight doubles, 52 hits, 38 RBIs, and team-leading 45 runs scored. After starting all 53 games this year, he earned Gold Glove Team honors by recording a .990 fielding percentage with 303 putouts, nine assists, been a part of turning 24 double plays, and have only three errors to show for it.
Originally from just down the road in Chattanooga, Tenn. and a McCallie graduate, Speicher transferred to Bryan College from Cleveland State Community College in the fall of 2014. After his junior year where he saw sparse playing time, he battled to reinvent himself on the field as his efforts led to him being a top defender for the Lions, which landed him on the Gold Glove Team. Proving to be a versatile threat, Speicher has given Bryan a momentous boost from the leadoff spot in the batting order. With one of the highest batting averages on the team (.357), he has raked in a team-high 71 hits to go along with his 44 runs scored, 37 RBIs, 16 doubles, one triple, and four homeruns. He has compiled 71 putouts, 121 assists, and helped with 28 double plays while allowing only eight errors for a .960 fielding percentage.
Max Chadsey (SR/Chilliwack, British Columbia) was Bryan's representative to the AAC Champions of Character Team. The student-athletes selected to the Champions of Character Team are those who best represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character Program: respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership, and sportsmanship.
Four members from the Lions team earned All-Academic honors: Evan Speicher, Cody Rhinehart (SR/Ooltewah, Tenn.), Travis Moore (JR/Hastings, Mich.), and Brandon Marklund (SO/North Vancouver, Canada). To make the Academic All-Conference Team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior, or senior and maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25 or higher.
To view the entire list of the All-AAC Teams and awards, click here.