MILLINGTON, Tenn. – For the second consecutive year, Birmingham-Southern produced the league's Offensive Player-of-the-Year as Bruce Maxwell earned the honor while Ben Klimesh of Trinity University repeated as the league's Pitcher-of-the-Year in exclusive 2012 All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) voting by the conference's head coaches.
In that same balloting, Blake Stevens of Birmingham-Southern was voted the conference's Freshman-of-the-Year, while Trinity head coach Tim Scannell was selected SCAC Coach-of-the-Year for the third consecutive year.
As for the All-SCAC team, Trinity, who posted the best record in the SCAC West with a 16-4 league mark, led the way with seven First Team selections while Millsaps College also placed seven on the First Team. Birmingham-Southern, winners of the SCAC East at 14-1, and Hendrix College (2nd, SCAC West) followed with four selections each.
Maxwell, a junior catcher/first baseman from Toney, Ala., led the SCAC during the regular season with a .500 batting average and also led the league in homeruns (13), doubles (22), total bases (120), slugging percentage (1.017) on-base percentage (.647) and walks (49). He was fourth in runs batted in (39), second in runs scored (46) and fourth in hits (59). With this week's SCAC tournament and one regular season game remaining against Emory University next week, Maxwell currently has 36 career homeruns – the fourth highest total in SCAC history. He also is currently tied for sixth in league history with 58 doubles. Since the SCAC started naming a Freshman-of-the-Year in 2008, Maxwell becomes the first player in league history to earn both SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year (2010) and SCAC Player-of-the-Year laurels during his playing career.
Maxwell received eight votes in the Player-of-the-Year balloting followed by Millsaps' Wes Perkins, who received the remaining three votes.
Klimesh, a senior right-hander from Wilmette, Ill., led the SCAC in innings pitched (88.2), strikeouts (134), complete games (7) and wins (11) during the regular season. His 134 strikeouts established a new school and SCAC single season record. Klimesh also set school records with 345 career strikeouts and 29 career wins. His 11 wins are currently tied for third most in a single season in league history. He was second in opponents' batting average (.199) and was tied for the SCAC lead with 12 games started, as well as being 3rd in ERA (1.93). Klimesh becomes the first pitcher to win Pitcher-of-the-Year honors in consecutive seasons since Rhodes College's Robert Flanagan in 2006 and 2007.
Klimesh received 10 votes in the Pitcher-of-the-Year balloting, with Will Edwards of Millsaps receiving the remaining vote.
Stevens, a first-year right-handed pitcher from Atlanta, Ga., was 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA while leading Birmingham-Southern pitchers with 60.1 innings of work. His 60.1 innings pitched ranked ninth among all SCAC pitchers. He ranked fourth in the league with 64 strike outs and averaged 9.55 strikeouts per nine innings. Stevens threw two complete games, including one for a shutout as he helped the Panthers to their third straight 30-win season. In the five years since the SCAC began selecting a Freshman-of-the-Year, Stevens is the third BSC player to earn the honor.
With seven votes in the balloting, Stevens earned SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year honors ahead of Millsaps' Samuel Doucet who received the remaining four votes. Trinity head coach Tim Scannell, in his 14th season as the Tigers' skipper, was named the SCAC Coach-of-the-Year after leading his squad to a 32-8 regular season mark (16-4 in the SCAC West) heading into the conference tournament. His Tigers were the No. 1 ranked team in the nation for a three week stretch in late March and early April and became just the second league team to be ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Scannell, who is a league leading seven-time SCAC COTY honoree (1999, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012), has the highest winning percentage of any coach in league history (.704) and is among the top 15 of all active NCAA Division III coaches. Scannell earned his third straight and 11th career 30+ win season as head coach of the Tigers and the Trinity skipper is just 10 wins shy of 450 career wins.
Scannell received six votes from his peers in the SCAC Coach-of-the-Year balloting, edging Birmingham-Southern's Jan Weisberg who received three votes. Jeff Cleanthes of Rhodes and R.J. Thomas of Hendrix received one vote each.
For the complete 2012 SCAC All-Conference baseball team, click here.