KINGSPORT - Regular-season champion Tennessee Wesleyan College claimed the top two awards in voting by the Appalachian Athletic Conference coaches on Monday. Senior shortstop Stephen Branca was named the Player of the Year and junior righthander Jeremy Fitzgerald was selected as the Pitcher of the Year. They were joined on the All-Conference Team by junior first baseman Jake Stone, senior third baseman Taylor Oldham and junior pitcher Josh Culler.
Branca hit .422 with a slugging percentage of .783 that included 15 doubles, a triple and 16 home runs. The Vairico, Fla., native scored 69 run, had 60 RBIs, walked 25 times and stole 15 bases. Fitzgerald was 9-0 with a 3.36 earned run average. The Virginia native allowed 63 hits, struck out 74 and walked 19 over 75 innings. Stone, from Wilmington, N.C., also won the Gold Glove for first basemen. He hit .405 with a .717 slugging percentage with 17 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 49 runs scored and 65 RBIs.
The Gold Glove winner at third base, Taylor Oldham, from Orlando, Fla., carried a .358 average with a .775 slugging percentage. He scored 43 runs with 72 RBIs, six doubles and a club-high 19 home runs. Culler, a southpaw from Delaware, was 8-2 with a 2.38 ERA. He gave up 45 hits, fanned 77 and walked 29 in over 63 innings.
Zach Fleshman was the Gold Glove winner among pitchers. While posting a 4-1 record with two saves, the North Carolina native did not make an error.