In what has become an annual tradition, Collegiate Baseball magazine has released the Players to Watch in the NAIA for the 2016 season. Five Patriots were named to the list and will be counted on this year.
Two seniors, pitcher Daniel Lerma (Oxnard, CA) and catcher Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, IN), headline the list for the Patriots. Lerma went 3-4 last year with a 3.88 ERA and had a save. He tossed 69.2 innings and opponents batted .255 against him. Kissel batted .296 with 13 doubles and 2 homeruns. He had a OPS of .836 and knocked in 30 runs. Kissel was named to the MSC Gold Glove Team last year and was 1st Team All-Conference.
Juniors, Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela), Jake McCoy (Mesa, AZ) and Austin Willis-Greene (Manhattan, NY), close out the Patriot nominees. Bohorquez batted .302 last year and led the Pats with 30 stolen bases. He added 4 doubles, 4 triples and 2 homeruns, while scoring 51 times and knocking in 28. He was named to the MSC Gold Glove Team and was 1st Team All-Conference. He will make the move to SS after 2 years at second base.
McCoy is coming off of a season ending injury in 2015. In a little over a year, he has a 4-2 slate with 10 saves. In 2014, he went 3-1 with 9 saves and a 2.93 ERA in 21 games. He was named 2nd Team All-Conference in 2014. Willis-Greene went 7-1 last year for the Pats. He had a 3.27 ERA in 15 games and added a save and was named 2nd Team All-Conference.
"We're happy for these guys and our program," stated Luther Bramblett. "Individual honors are great for those guys, but it says a lot about our coaches, their teammates and our program. When guys get credit for doing great things, it's a win for our program and everyone involved."
The Patriots are busy preparing for the opening of the 2016 season. They will open on February 5th at the University of Mobile.