BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2019 All-Conference Baseball teams and award winners Tuesday evening, with individuals from Alabama State, Southern and Jackson State receiving individual honors.
The teams and award winners were decided in a vote by the league’s coaches and sports information directors, with the honors handed out during a reception.
Alabama State senior outfielder Yamil Pagan and Southern senior third baseman Tyler LaPorte shared the highest individual award, earning Co-Player of the Year honors after leading their respective teams to division championships.
LaPorte hit .376 on the season, leading the league in hits (83) and doubles (17) while stealing 20 bases. LaPorte scored 53 runs and hit five home runs while driving in 55 RBIs and slugging .548 on the season.
Pagan, who also won Hitter of the Year honors, established himself as perhaps the conference’s premier power hitter, leading the league in home runs (13), total bases (122), runs (63) and slugging percentage (.632) as he drove in 50 RBIs and hit for an average of .368.
Alabama State’s Darren Kelly earned Pitcher of the Year honors, posting a 5-2 record on the season with a 3.14 earned run average. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his 11 appearances on the season, striking out 55 batters.
Teammate Ricardo Rivera was named Freshman of the Year after leading the Hornets with six victories from the mound. He struck out 42 hitters on the season, posting a 4.83 ERA.
Equon Smith of Jackson State garnered the Newcomer of the Year award, hitting .362 with 55 runs scored and 39 stolen bases. Smith drove in 36 runs and picked up 72 total hits on the season.
Southern’s Connor Whalen earned Relief Pitcher of the Year honors after a sparkling season where he posted a 0.00 ERA in 13 appearances. Whalen was 4-0 with seven saves, allowing five hits all season as the Jaguars’ closer.
Jaguars coach Kerrick Jackson was named Coach of the Year after guiding Southern to a remarkable turnaround. After finishing last in the Western Division in 2018, the Jaguars went 28-21 (18-6 SWAC), earning the No. 1 seed in the division as well as out-of-conference wins over then No. 8 LSU, New Orleans, Florida A&M, Memphis and Nicholls State.
Southern led all teams with six total selections to the team, and Alabama State collected five slots across the first and second teams. Jackson State and Grambling State each saw four players honored. Texas Southern had two honorees, and UAPB, Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley State each had one honoree. The full team is listed below.
All-SWAC Baseball First Team:
C – Santiago Garcia, Alabama State
1B – Raul Hernandez, Jackson State
2B – Eriq White, Alabama State
3B – Tyler LaPorte, Southern
SS – Malik Blaise, Southern
DH – Chris Prentiss, Jackson State
OF – Yamil Pagan, Alabama State
OF – O.J. Oloruntimilehin, Texas Southern
OF – Javeyan Williams, Southern
SP – Aron Solis, Texas Southern
SP – Darren Kelly, Alabama State
RP – Connor Whalen, Southern
All-SWAC Baseball Second Team:
C – Drexler Macaay, Grambling State
1B – Nick Kreutzer, UAPB
2B – Jonathan Smith, Alabama A&M
3B – Jaylyn Williams, Jackson State
SS – Kevin Whitaker, Jr., Grambling State
DH – Johnny Johnson, Southern
OF – Equon Smith, Jackson State
OF – Isaiah Torres, Grambling State
OF – Noel Cheneau, Alabama State
SP – Bryan Delgado, Grambling State
SP – Elijah Finney, Southern
RP – Aaron Barkley, Mississippi Valley State
Co-Player of the Year:
Tyler LaPorte, Southern and Yamil Pagan, Alabama State
Hitter of the Year:
Yamil Pagan, Alabama State
Pitcher of the Year:
Darren Kelly, Alabama State
Relief Pitcher of the Year:
Connor Whalen, Southern
Newcomer of the Year:
Equon Smith, Jackson State
Freshman of the Year:
Ricardo Rivera, Alabama State
Coach of the Year:
Kerrick Jackson, Southern