ATLANTA, Ga. – Throughout the 2021-22 athletics season, the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) will be releasing their top individuals, teams and moments in commemoration of the conference’s 10th anniversary. The first honoree from Birmingham-Southern is the 2019 baseball team.
Birmingham-Southern used that momentum from the conference tournament in the NCAA Regional as they hosted LaGrange. After winning the first game, they dropped the next two. With their backs against the wall and one loss from elimination the Panthers bounced back winning the final two games of the series to punch their ticket to the Super Regional.
BSC would then host Coe at Striplin Field in the NCAA Super Regional. The Panthers swept through the Super Regional with exceptional performances from Tyler Wise and John Michael Shirley. Wise went 3-for-11 with three RBIs and two runs helping the Panthers outscore Coe 17-6. Shirley twirled a gem in game two given up one run over seven innings while striking out five. The next stop for BSC, the Division III World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The momentum just kept on building for the Panthers. Once at the World Series Birmingham-Southern swept through their side of the bracket in dominate fashion. BSC outscored their opponents 25-8 over three games. In game one, John Michael Shirley was remarkable again this time pitching six innings of shutout baseball and striking out a career high nine batters en route to a 6-1 victory over Heidelberg. Game two saw the Panthers walk-off No. 22 Johns Hopkins in the 10 innings.
Sitting 2-0 and in the drivers seat on their side of the bracket, the Panthers would face off with Johns Hopkins again. This time Birmingham-Southern exploded for 15 hits routing the Blue Jays 15-4 and ultimately advancing to the Division III Championship Series in a showdown with No. 6 Chapman.
The Panthers momentum slowly came to a halt as they were swept by No. 6 Chapman capping off the Panthers season as the National Runner-Up.
To see the full post from the SAA, click here.
Words from Weisberg
On the postseason run: “The 2019 was one of the most special teams that we have had here. That year was the first year of the Regional/Super Regional format, the chance to host both of those was big. We had a great regular season finishing first. In the conference tournament we had three walk-off wins that really set the tone for our postseason run. We hosted a grueling five-game Regional and then a Super Regional. In both of those series we, again, won a lot of games late.”
On the team: “That team had great senior leadership, different guys stepped up and got the job done everyday. Tyler Hamel and Tyler Wise carried us offensively. A.J. Hunt was phenomenal behind the plate all-season, but more than anything those guys had fun just playing the game. They thought they were in every game, a lot of great comebacks and had great character.
On the World Series: “When we got to the World Series we just carried that momentum, sweeping through our bracket play. We ran into a tough Chapman team in the Championship Series. It might not have been our most talented team but it was our closest and tightest team we have had here for sure.”
Two Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winners (Tyler Wise and A.J. Hunt).
Five ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Selections (Tyler Hamel, Tyler Wise, Richie Misischia, John Michael Shirley, and Cole Steadman).
Three D3Baseball.com All-Region Selections (Tyler Hamel, Richie Misischia, and Jake Cook).
D3Baseball.com Coach of the Year (Jan Weisberg)
10 All-Conference Selections (Tyler Hamel, Cole Steadman, Jake Cook, Andy Hammond, Richie Misischia, A.J. Hunt, Tyler Wise, John Michael Shirley, Alfredo Granier, and Brian Williams).
SAA Pitcher of the Year (Richie Misischia).