NSA baseball honored
Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy baseball team claimed the 2015 TCIS Sportsmanship Award, and it also had two representatives on the all-conference first team and one on the second team.
When he heard his players had earned the sportsmanship accolade, Saints coach David Mitchell said he was really excited and thrilled for them.
“It’s something that they definitely deserve,” he said. “We pride ourselves on being a first-class team, on carrying ourselves with integrity and class. We try to be humble when we win.”
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Difficult losses this season likely made the maintenance of superb sportsmanship a challenge for NSA, but the Saints were equal to the challenge.
“For the guys to show their character and to keep their heads held high despite some one-run losses — it shows the character of our team, and I’m just proud of them,” Mitchell said.
Senior Toby Buchanan and junior Sam Neal made the All-TCIS first team. It is Neal’s first conference honor; Buchanan made the second team in 2014.
Mitchell said Buchanan’s accolade last year helped establish him in the minds of coaches around the conference who vote for all-conference selections. Buchanan’s play this year continued that positive impression.
“He was just real consistent against all of our conference teams,” Mitchell said.
Buchanan did well against some of the tougher teams Nansemond-Suffolk faced. He had two hits against Greenbrier Christian Academy and in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools tournament he had two hits against Cape Henry Collegiate School.
Through 15 games, Buchanan carried a .375 batting average, he had a .500 slugging percentage, a .474 on-base percentage, 10 runs batted in, and he was second on the team with 18 hits.
Mitchell said he also played well defensively at shortstop.
Buchanan has committed to Louisburg College, where he will play next season.
Neal came on strong offensively during the second half of last year, and Mitchell said, “He just kind of carried that over into this year, and he had a phenomenal year.”
Through 15 games, his on-base percentage of .529 led the Saints, as did his 13 RBIs, and with junior Dominick Claxton, he co-led the team with 19 runs scored.
Neal was second on the team with a .415 batting average, a .560 slugging percentage and 16 stolen bases. He also had 17 hits.
Claxton made the all-conference second team.