June 4, 2013

Odom named ABCA All-American; pitchers Lawler and Brown named All-Region

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The accolades continue for the Huntingdon baseball team.

Coming off a second straight 30-win season and the program's first appearance in a NCAA Regional, three Hawks were recently recognized by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Junior catcher Joseph Odom was named second-team All-American and joined pitchers Neil Lawler and Craig Brown on the ABCA All-South Region teams.

Odom was named first-team All-South, Lawler was second-team All-South and Brown was third-team All-South.

"All of these guys are deserving of the accolades they've received and each of them played a key role in our success this season," Huntingdon head coach D.J. Conville said. "To be recognized with All-American and All-Region honors, it shows the kind of season that Odom turned in. He's worked hard to achieve what he has.

"Neil and Craig both had strong years and I'm tickled to see them recognized on the All-Region teams. Craig came on strong this year and Lawler was a great addition. Both of them were reliable players that helped us get over the hump this season."

For Odom, the All-American recognition was the second he has received this summer. In late May, he was named third-team All-American and first-team All-South Region by D3baseball.com.

"To be recognized like this is an awesome feeling," Odom said. "It's one of those things you don't think about during the season because you're just focused on helping your team be successful. But I feel like we have a lot to be proud of this season.

"I set some goals for myself and our team had goals we all wanted to accomplish. The guys on this team all worked hard to help us be successful and accomplish something our program had not done before."

Huntingdon finished 32-11 and picked up the first two NCAA Regional wins in program history. In the process, Odom led Division III with 14 home runs and was among the national leaders in RBIs and slugging percentage.

A native of Vestavia Hills, Ala., Odom batted .369 with 60 RBIs, 45 runs, 10 doubles and a .706 slugging percentage. In three seasons with the Hawks, Odom has 28 home runs, 145 RBIs and 110 runs on 160 hits.

Lawler, a junior from Irondale, Ala., developed into a reliable closer in his first season with the Hawks. In 24 appearances, he was 2-1 with 10 saves, a 1.09 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Brown, a senior from Pace, Fla., made 10 starts for the Hawks and finished with a 7-1 record, 2.27 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. In his final appearance of the season, Brown threw a complete-game, two-hitter in a 5-0 win over Randolph-Macon in the South Regional.

"Craig and Neil are both deserving and it's great to see them recognized," Odom said. "Craig is a guy that each time he came to the mound, you felt like you had a good chance to win. It's great to see him go out on a high note his senior year.

"Neil came in and really made an impact in his first season with us. He's solid on the mound. When we were in tight situations, you had confidence he was going to come through. When you include Cory Belyeu (who was named third-team All-Region by D3baseball.com), it says a lot about the kind of pitching we had this season. Our pitching was definitely a key to our success."

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