PBC Announces Baseball All-Conference Team

Georgia College's Brandon Benson, PBC Player of the Year
Georgia College's Brandon Benson, PBC Player of the Year

FLORENCE, SC – The Peach Belt Conference has announced the 2017 Baseball All-Conference Team from a banquet in Florence, S.C., site of this week's conference tournament.  Georgia College's Brandon Benson was named the PBC Player of the Year while USC Aiken's Joseph Benitez was selected as the Pitcher of the Year.  Montevallo's Sebastian Samuels was named the Freshman of the Year and North Georgia's Tom Cantrell the Coach of the Year.  The league's head coaches selected all awards.

Brandon Benson is in the midst of a career season.  The senior from Loganville, Ga., leads the PBC in home runs and slugging percentage; is tied for the lead in RBIs and is ninth in batting average.  He leads the nation with 0.48 home runs per game and his 21 homers is tied for tops in Division II.  A three-time PBC Player of the Week, he also leads the league in total bases, is third in runs scored and eighth in doubles.  Benson is the second straight Bobcat to win the Player of the Year honor, joining Dylan Cook last year, and the sixth GC player overall.

Joseph Benitez has been the ace of the USC Aiken pitching staff this season.  The senior from Crofton, Md., leads the PBC and is second in the nation with 125 strikeouts this year.  He also leads the league and is third nationally with 11 wins.   Currently 11-2 on the year, his 2.01 ERA is second in the PBC as are his 103.0 innings of work.  He held batters to a .217 average and issued only 18 walks, placing him in the top 10 in Division II in walk-to-strikeout ratio.  Benitez struck out 10 or more in five games this season and has two complete games with one shutout.  He becomes the first Pacer to ever be named the PBC Pitcher of the Year.

Sebastian Samuels was named the PBC Freshman of the Week twice during the season after hitting .356 in 48 games for the Falcons.  An outfielder from Viera, Fla., Samuels is second in the PBC and tied for sixth in all of Division II with 18 home runs on the year.  He is also ranked among the league's top 10 in RBIs (61), total bases and slugging percentage (.713).  He was also solid in the field with just four errors in 215 chances and eight outfield assists.  Samuels becomes the first Falcon to be named the PBC Freshman of the Year. 

Tom Cantrell and the Nighthawks rocketed off to a 21-4 start this season and have not looked back, earning their second PBC Regular-Season Championship in the last three years and entering the tournament as the #1 seed.  UNG has been ranked in the Collegiate Baseball top 10 every week of the regular season and were #1 on March 20.  UNG leads the PBC in home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage, ERA, shutouts and opponent batting average and lead the nation in runs scored.  Cantrell earns his second Coach of the Year honor in the last three seasons.

The 2017 All-Conference team is listed below.  Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.  The 32-player team was expanded by four due to ties in the voting.

2017 Peach Belt Conference Baseball
All-Conference Team

First Team

1b Mason McClellan Columbus State
2b Michael Bell North Georgia
3b Cal Gentry Georgia College
SS Brandon Benson Georgia College
C Brian Perreira USC Aiken
DH Ryan Patterson Armstrong State
UT Zach Odom Young Harris
OF Michael Gouge North Georgia
OF Mitchell Price USC Aiken
OF Dylan Jones Flagler
OF Mike Warren Armstrong State
SP Joseph Benitez USC Aiken
SP Steven Bower North Georgia
SP Dylan Peppers North Georgia
SP Caleb Kutsche Columbus State
RP Kyle Ramsey UNC Pembroke

Second Team

1b Sebastian Samuels Montevallo
1b Ethan Baucom UNC Pembroke
2b Caleb Ledbetter Montevallo
3b Devin Gearhart North Georgia
3b Alex Kranick Georgia Southwestern
SS Connor Hoover North Georgia
C Brandon Purcell Georgia College
DH Bill Leroy North Georgia
UT Ethan Crout Flagler
UT Jarratt Mobley UNC Pembroke
OF Wesley Wommack Georgia College
OF Logan Mattix Georgia College
OF Nick Debo UNC Pembroke
OF Roberto Rivera UNC Pembroke
SP Daniel McCrary North Georgia
SP Michael Maiocco Flagler
SP Anthony Burke UNC Pembroke
SP Michael Livingston Young Harris
RP Josh Bryan North Georgia
RP Grant Khan Georgia College


Elite 15 Award Presented by EAB
Nick Debo, UNC Pembroke

Player of the Year
Brandon Benson, Georgia College

Pitcher of the Year
Joseph Benitez, USC Aiken

Freshman of the Year
Sebastian Samuels, Montevallo

Coach of the Year
Tom Cantrell, North Georgia

(L to R): PBC Player of the Year Brandon Benson, Pitcher of the Year Joseph Benitez and Coach of the Year Tom Cantrell
2017 First Team All-Conference
2017 Second Team All-Conference