Valdosta Daily Times

Blazers Blog

January 31, 2014

Blazers’ Hayman named third-team preseason AA

VALDOSTA — Bryant Hayman provided Valdosta State with a lethal bat as a sophomore.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America are expecting the junior catcher to provide more of the same for the Blazers, who open Saturday against Truett McConnell, in 2014.

Hayman was selected to the preseason All-American third team by the NCBWA on Tuesday.

Last season, Hayman was second on the Blazers with a .335 average, while pacing VSU with eight home runs and 43 RBIs to earn all-Gulf South Conference and all-South Region honors. Hayman was also an all-conference choice as a freshman when he was named the GSC Freshman of the Year, hitting .333 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs.

The Ware County product was also the Blazers’ lone preseason all-region first-team selection. Senior Matthew Fears was a second-team preseason all-region choice. Last season the Middle Georgia Junior College transfer hit a team-best .407 in 21 games after suffering a season-ending injury April 6.

In addition to the individual honors, VSU was picked sixth in the preseason South Region poll with 37 points, one point behind Alabama-Huntsville. Tampa is preseason region favorites with 79 points and seven first-place votes after a 47-12 season in 2013. Delta State and West Florida join VSU and UAH as GSC teams recognized in the preseason poll, at second and third. DSU received 69 points for second, while West Florida had 68 points.

That recognition comes a week after the Blazers were picked fourth in the GSC coaches’ preseason poll with 29 points, trailing Delta State and West Florida, co-favorites with 44 points, and UAH. VSU, which finished 34-18 and won the GSC tournament, also had Hayman and Fears named to the preseason all-conference team. Junior pitchers Kyle Andre Jr., a Seminole State Community College transfer, and Ethan Bornstein, a Tallahassee Community College transfer, were listed among the conference’s top newcomers.

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