Jan. 13 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Three Bethany College baseball players were recently selected by Collegiate Baseball as Players to Watch for the 2009 season, marking the 19th straight season the national publication has recognized Bison players.
The Bethany players who were tabbed include junior 1B/DH Chris Leasure (Stafford, Ohio/Monroe Central), sophomore OF Tyler Dillinger (McKeesport, Pa.) and sophomore OF Mike Pegg (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands). It was Leasure’s second time on the Collegiate Baseball list and the first time Dillinger and Pegg were chosen.
Leasure established himself as one of the top power hitters in the PAC last year. He clubbed eight home runs to lead the Bison, which also ranked as the second-most in one year at the school. Leasure also led BC in batting average (.359), doubles (10), RBIs (34) and walks (20). He notched 14 multi-hit games and also collected multiple RBIs in 10 games.
Leasure is more than just a slugger however. Seeing time at first base, catcher and the outfield throughout the season, he committed just one error in 108 chances for a .991 fielding percentage. Following his outstanding season, Leasure was honored with First Team All-PAC accolades.
“Chris is very deserving of this honor,” said Bison head coach Rick Carver, whose players have been recognized 61 times by the magazine since 1989. “We will be counting on his run production to have a successful season.”
A physical education major, Chris is the son of Merle and Sandy Leasure of Stafford, Ohio.
In Dillinger’s first season for the Green and White, he finished fifth on the team with a .326 batting average while starting 36 of 37 games in center field. He led Bethany with six stolen bases, finished second on the team with 15 walks and was third on the squad in runs scored (25) and RBIs (21). Dillinger matched Leasure with 14 multi-hit game last season, including a 4-for-5 effort in the second game of doubleheader with Washington & Jefferson.
Pegg’s initial season for Bethany saw him bat .355 to finish second on the team. In addition to clubbing three triples to lead the squad, Pegg was second with seven doubles and 23 RBIs. He also finished with 14 games with two or more hits, highlighted by a four-hit, three-RBI day in a win at Franciscan.
“I am very happy to for Tyler and Mike to earn this honor as sophomores,” said Carver. “They were thrown into the fire and forced to start as freshmen. They had their ups and downs, but battled through and had very productive seasons, which will only make us better for the next three years.
“You look at our line-up with Tyler hitting third, Chris hitting fourth and Mike fifth, we are counting on Tyler and Mike to have better years this season to protect Chris,” said Carver. “But we only want them to be themselves and strive for consistency and quality at-bats every time they go to the plate.”
A secondary education/social studies major, Tyler is the son of George Dillinger of McKeesport, Pa.
An accounting major, Mike is the son of Robert and Peggy Pegg of Uniontown, Pa.
Bethany is slated to open the 2009 season with a home game against Division II Wheeling Jesuit March 3. It’s the only game on the docket before the Bison head to Fort Pierce, Fla., for their spring break trip March 13-21.