For the third year in a row, the Brownstown Central baseball team selected a McCory for the most valuable player award.
Zach McCory won the award last year as a sophomore, and he was presented that plaque again Friday night during the team’s awards program. His brother, Brett, won the award as a senior in 2013.
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In his junior season, Zach McCory had 32 hits in 82 at-bats for a batting average of .390. He finished with eight doubles, one home run and 24 RBI. He also only struck out four times, drew nine walks and was 7 for 7 on stolen bases.
McCory also was solid at the shortstop position, recording 47 putouts, 52 assists and six errors for a .943 fielding percentage.
For his efforts on the season, McCory also was named to the all-Mid-Southern Conference team.
Braves head coach John Lawson handed out four other awards Friday night.
Senior Christian Lockman received the defensive award. Playing center field, he had 36 putouts and one assist and didn’t commit an error. He tied a school record with a 1.000 fielding percentage.
“Christian always anchored that center field. I can’t tell you how many plays he went deep and caught balls at the fence and made diving plays,” Lawson said.
“Everybody says in baseball, ‘Be strong up the middle.’ This guy was. A lot of guys were,” Lawson said. “I think our outfield was one of the better outfields we’ve had in a long time. We had different combinations based on who was pitching and who was where. It was really good and helped the pitchers a lot when we could cover all kinds of ground.”
Senior Mitchell Grider earned the leading hitter award. On the season, he had 35 hits in 86 at-bats for a batting average of .407. That included nine doubles and team-highs with two home runs and 26 RBI, and he was 5 for 5 in stolen bases.
Grider tied a school record with five hits in one game, which was against Scottsburg, and was named to the MSC second team.
“This guy, I don’t want to call him a streaky type of hitter because he was pretty consistent, but he had probably one of the more impressive streaks that I’ve seen for a long time,” Lawson said. “At one point, he was hitting like .605, and nobody could get him out.”
Junior Tyler Lawson was presented the pitching award. Through 48.2 innings of work, he allowed 50 hits, 22 runs (10 earned) and six walks and struck out 49. He finished with an earned run average of 1.44 and a record of 5-1 overall and in the MSC, which helped him garner all-MSC honors.
When Lawson wasn’t pitching, he played first base. On the season defensively, he had 77 putouts, 11 assists and only two errors for a .978 fielding percentage.
“We have basically all of our pitching coming back minus what Mitchell could give us this year, and that’s very, very positive in my book,” coach Lawson said. “I feel pretty positive that we’ll win a lot of games with the pitching and defense we’ve got coming back.”
The mental attitude award was voted on by the coaches and went to senior Nigel Myers. Coach Lawson said Myers was unselfish, and it didn’t matter whether he was in the lineup or not, he was always positive with his teammates and was willing to help.
“Those are all good qualities,” Lawson said. “We hope that every mental attitude award winner in the past, along with this one this year, that these guys coming back take all or part of what this person did and come back and try to be better than the previous year’s winner. If guys coming back do that, we’re going to have great attitudes, and we’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”
The other school record was set by senior catcher Cole Borden, who finished with a .991 fielding percentage for his four-year career. The previous record was .982.
The other seniors on the team were Darrell Branaman and Collin DeHart.
The Braves finished the season 16-9, including 5-4 in the MSC.