on June 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Razorbacks represented in pair of regionals

With the regional portion of the NCAA Baseball Tournament cranking up today, there are several teams representing the Carolinas looking to make their move toward Omaha.

Even more locally, though, Walhalla High School is also represented by former players at two of those regionals – with John Brandt taking the field for Wofford in the Columbia Regional and Bradley LeCroy serving as an assistant coach for Western Carolina in the Chapel Hill, N.C. Regional.

Brandt, a senior, has started all 61 of the Terriers’ games this season – hitting .304 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI to help lead Wofford to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

While the team finished the regular season just 30-31 and 8-19 in the SoCon, the Terriers rallied to a surprising win in the conference tournament and land a berth in the Columbia Regional at South Carolina’s Sarge Frye Field.

“As far as our momentum’s going, I just wanted to keep playing every day – to walk into the regional on Monday and be ready to go,” Brandt said. “But mentally, it was such an exhausting week. Sitting in the hotel every day and thinking about the games and getting anxious or nervous, whatever other emotions are going through. It’s tough.”

Wofford opens its regional play against the host Gamecocks today at 7 p.m. N.C. State and Charlotte round out the regional field.

Brandt said he was looking forward to the opportunity to face the Gamecocks, a team he’d come to know pretty well during his time at Wofford.

“I think since I’ve been at Wofford, I’ve probably played South Carolina out of conference as many times as I’ve played any other team,” Brandt said. “We’ve been down here to the Sarge many times, we know their pitchers, we know their hitters. I think we match up well with them. Last year at home, we threw one of our weekend starters and actually beat them. We match up well, South Carolina’s familiar – familiar place, familiar people, going to be a lot of fun.”

A 2003 grad of Walhalla, Brandt accumulated a number of honors during his time in a Razorback uniform – he was a three-time all region selection and was named all-state and the Skyline AA player of the year during his senior season.

While Brandt has played a variety of positions in the field for the Terriers – catcher, left field and first base – he was also a dominating pitcher for Walhalla. He led the Razorbacks in wins, strikeouts, complete games and ERA as a junior and senior – posting a career 23-4 record.

At the plate, Brandt had a .400 batting average, smashed 15 home runs and twice led the team in RBI during his Razorback career. He was also all-region in football as a senior.

At Wofford, Brandt has continued to excel – both on the field and in the classroom.

As a junior, he was named the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week after hitting .333 with three homers and five RBI over four games. During that same season, he was chosen as an Academic All-Southern Conference selection for the second consecutive year and missed a game against the College of Charleston while taking the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

LeCroy is a 1996 graduate of Walhalla and played college baseball at Clemson, where he earned his degree in 2001. An all-state selection in three sports for the Razorbacks, LeCroy went on to become the starting shortstop at Clemson when current San Diego Padre Khalil Greene was the third baseman and played on the Tigers’ 2000 College World Series team.

LeCroy is currently in his first year as an assistant coach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. The Catamounts finished the season 40-19 and earned the third seed in the Chapel Hill, N.C. Regional, hosted by North Carolina.

Western Carolina head coach Todd Raleigh said LeCroy has proven an invaluable addition to the staff.

“He is a quality person, came from a good program and has College World Series experience,” Raleigh said. “He played for and coached with Coach Leggett at Clemson, similar to me, so Bradley is already familiar with the system and, more importantly, knows about winning.”

Western Carolina opens regional play today at 2 p.m., taking on another school with Carolina in its name – East Carolina. Jacksonville is the fourth team in the bracket.

During his time at Clemson, LeCroy hit .266 in 395 career at-bats and was a member of four NCAA Tournament teams.

After college, he was an assistant coach at Anderson College in 2001 and 2002, as well as being the head coach of the Williamston American Legion team during the summer of both of those years.

In 2003, LeCroy coached in the Valley League as an assistant coach for the New Market Rebels in Virginia.

That same year, he joined Jack Leggett’s coaching staff at Clemson, where he served as a volunteer coach before taking his current position with the Catamounts.