Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 7, 2014

Miller and Lions honored by MEC

Staff reports
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRIDGEPORT — Concord University senior first baseman Joey Miller was named the 2014 Mountain East Conference Player of the Year and nine other Mountain Lions also earned all-conference recognition, the league office announced Wednes-day.

Miller, senior outfielder Bret Blevins, sophomore designated hitter Joe Camp and senior pitcher Ryan Weatherholtz all received first team All-MEC recognition while the duo of junior second baseman Jerrod Groves and junior third baseman Ryan Johnston were named to the second team. Miller's conference Player of the Year honor was the first for a Concord player since Greyson Schram was named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Hitter of the Year in 2010.

Rounding out Concord's all-league selections were honorable mention picks sophomore shortstop Brad Sullivan, sophomore outfielder Andrew Seigel, senior pitcher Tyler Coyle and sophomore pitcher Chris Kelly.

Miller, who was a consensus all-region selection a year ago, has been one of the top hitters in the nation throughout 2014. On the season, Miller is batting .393 with 43 runs scored, 12 home runs, 68 RBI, 17 doubles as well as on-base and slugging percentages of .440 and .718. A three-time MEC Hitter of the Week, Miller currently leads all of NCAA Division II in RBI while ranking eighth in slugging percentage, 12th in home runs and 34th in doubles.

Blevins and Weatherholtz, which have been a part of 125 wins at CU, are both in the process of capping off their stellar Concord careers with one more standout season.

Blevins, who enters the upcoming MEC Tournament on a season-long 19-game hitting streak, leads Concord and ranks second in the MEC in batting average (.407), on-base percentage (.489), runs  (52) and stolen bases (25) as well as totaling a CU-best 61 hits on the season to go with two home runs and 35 RBI. Concord's all-time leader in stolen bases at 83, Blevins needs nine hits to become CU's career hits leader. Wednesday's award is Blevins' third all-conference selection after earning All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference accolades the last two seasons.

On the mound, Weatherholtz has guided a pitching staff turnaround that has seen the Mountain Lions lower its team ERA from 5.17 in 2013 to 3.70 while also giving up 130 fewer runs than a year ago. In 12 starts this season, Weatherholtz is 7-4 with a career-low 2.83 ERA and 55 strikeouts over 76.1 innings pitched. Weatherholtz, who has tallied four shutouts, has thrown seven complete games; the 13th most in NCAA Division II. He allowed four or less hits in a start in five of 12 outings and recently completed a string of 24.2 consecutive scoreless innings which spanned a stretch of five games.

A Tino Martinez Division II Player of the watch list member, Camp played in and started 46 games, compiling 41 RBI, 21 runs, one home run, a .381 batting average and a .425 on-base percentage. Camp, who ranks fourth in the MEC in RBI, totaled seven multi-RBI and 15 multi-hit games in his second season as a starter.

No stranger to all-league awards, Johnston picked up his third second team honor in as many years after batting .314, scoring 41 runs, driving in 21 RBI to go with nine doubles and three triples in 49 games. Meanwhile, Groves is in the midst of a career-year in which the Covington, Virginia native has set personal bests, and ranks third in the MEC, in runs scored (50) and doubles (16) in addition to batting .353 with 61 hits, nine stolen bases and 17 RBI. Concord is 21-4 when Groves serves as its leadoff hitter.

Coyle and Kelly proved to be a potent combination in the middle of the Mountain Lions' rotation this year. Coyle enters postseason play at 7-2 with 34 strikeouts and a 3.64 ERA in 71.2 innings of work that included four complete games and one shutout. Kelly continued his assent up the Mountain Lions' rotation by spending the season as Concord's No. 3 starter after receiving four starts as a freshman. For the season, Kelly tossed 66.2 innings and was 7-2 with 37 strikeouts and a 3.51 ERA.

The speedy Seigel continued his excellent play in centerfield while also stealing 21 bases, the fourth most in the MEC, scoring 42 runs and driving in 23 more after notching 48 hits. In his first season as the Mountain Lions' starting shortstop, Sullivan started 49 games, hitting .331, scoring 20 runs, driving in 22 runs on 48 hits including 10 doubles and stealing 12 bases.

Other year end awards included Shepherd's Paul Hvozdovic being naemd the MEC Pitcher of the Year, West Virginia State's Tyler Hull earning Freshman of the Year honors and the Rams' Matt McCarty being tabbed the league's Coach of the Year.