Despite the inexperience and youth on the University of Tennessee Volunteer baseball team, some Diamond Vols earned individual honors for performances during the past season.
Sophomore first baseman Cody Hawn became the 36th Volunteer to earn All-American honors with spots on two teams. He was a second team selection on the Ping! Baseball team and a third team selection on the Pro-Line Athletic/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s team. The Knoxville native and South Doyle graduate spent a year at Walters State Community College after missing his senior season in high school due to a torn ACL. The first-year Vol became the 10th player in school history to win the team’s Triple Crown, having the highest batting average (.364), the most home runs (22), and the most RBIs (81).
“Hawn’s the best hitter I’ve ever coached,” head coach Todd Raleigh said. “It’s very well deserved for him. The honor’s good for him and represents the Tennessee baseball program as well.”
Catcher Blake Forsythe earned first team All-SEC honors after having a break-out sophomore campaign. The Memphis native started 53 of 55 games for the Vols behind the plate and hit .347 with 15 home runs and 46 runs driven in. He also led the team in walks with 40 and sported the highest on-base percentage with a mark of .486. Forsythe also joined Hawn as members of the ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region Team.
“Catcher is the hardest position to come in and play,” Raleigh said. “We felt [Forsythe] would be a good player. He’s very intelligent, very smart and very physical.”
Forsythe credited his improvement to playing in the Coastal Plains League last summer.
“I learned a lot teaching myself and trying to figure things out on my own,” Forsythe said.
Shortstop Zach Osborne earned freshman All-SEC honors after hitting .281 with four home runs and 33 RBIs. His plate discipline and vision also made him the hardest Vol to strike out during the season.
During the offseason, 20 Vols will play summer league ball across the country. Forsythe accepted an invitation to the National Team Trials hoping to earn a spot on the U.S.A. Baseball National Team. Hawn will join outfielder Kentrail Davis, a supplemental first round draft pick (39th overall) of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2009 MLB Draft, outfielder P.J. Polk and pitcher Rob Catapano in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
Pitchers Matt Ramsey, Aaron Tullo, Will Locante and Stephen McCray will join outfielder Charley Thurbur in the Coastal Plains League, while pitchers Steven Gruver and Clayton Gant will compete in the Northwoods League. In the Valley Baseball League, Adam Adkins, Mason Forbis and Hunter Daniel will represent the Vols. Pitcher Josh Allman will travel to play in the Cal Ripken Senior Collegiate League while Dylan Hochevar will pitch in the Jayhawk League. Osborne, catcher Matt Hamaker, infielder Cody Grisham and outfielder Josh Liles are hoping to play summer ball after finishing the first session of summer school.