Athletics News

Baseball

Former Skipjack Brainer named all-America East
WU’s Holliday, another ex-’Jack, honored as CCAC Player of the Year

Brad Brainer, who starred for a pair of Chesapeake College baseball teams, was named to the all-America East first team after a stellar senior season at Division I University of Maryland Baltimore County.

"It’s bittersweet because I know I’m done (playing college baseball), but it was kind of nice to go out on that kind of note," said Brainer, who hit .343 and led the Retrievers in steals (11) and runs scored (37).

Brainer credited Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski with playing a critical role in his baseball success.

"I attribute a lot of what I’ve been able to accomplish to the skills Coach Szymanski taught me," said Brainer, who will finish up a degree in psychology this fall and then hopes to go on to graduate school.

Szymanski said Brainer’s success was well-earned.

"Brad paid the price – he always worked extremely hard as a player and a student, and he always represented Chesapeake College in a positive way," said Szymanski.

"He also has a great family and a wonderful support structure," added Szymanski, who noted Brad’s older brother, Bryan, played on Chesapeake’s 2005 World Series team. "I’m very proud of his accomplishments."

Brainer was second on the Retrievers in doubles (14) and added three homers and 15 RBI. During his two years at UMBC, Brainer hit .340 with 65 runs, 40 RBI, and 104 hits. The Retrievers finished the 2009 season with a 9-36 record, including 4-18 in America East.

This is the second straight year a former Chesapeake College player has made all-America East first team for UMBC. Last year, Will Delawter was named all-America East designated hitter and was also selected to the all-East Region team.

Another former Skipjack, Ryan Morse, also finished his senior season at UMBC this year. An NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American at Chesapeake, Morse was a team captain this season and compiled a 1-5 pitching record over two seasons with the Retrievers.

Brainer, who starred at Kent Island High School, is no stranger to first-team honors. As a Chesapeake College sophomore in 2007, Brainer was named to both the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference and the NJCAA Division I Region XX first teams. He led the state in steals in 2007, swiping 38 bases in 40 attempts – a 95 percent success rate – and was second on the Skipjacks with a .354 batting average.

Chesapeake went 60-36-1 in Brainer’s two seasons, including 30-21 in 2007 when Brainer was a team captain.

Cody Holliday, Brainer’s teammate on those 2006 and ’07 Skipjack teams, enjoyed similar success this year as a senior on Wilmington (Del.) University’s Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CCAC) championship baseball squad. Holliday was named CCAC Player of the Year and was also selected for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-East Region first team.

Holliday, a senior outfielder, led the Wildcats in hitting (.360), hits (76), doubles (18), home runs (seven), RBI (52), total bases (121), slugging percentage (.573), on-base percentage (.458), and stolen bases (17). He also led the conference in hits, RBI, doubles, and total bases, while ranking second in runs and third in home runs.

"Cody has always had the potential to have that kind of season. He’s very talented and another hard worker who is also a good student," said Szymanski.

Wilmington was just .500 overall (29-29) and 15-12 in the CCAC regular season, but the Wildcats upset top-seeded Dominican College, 5-4, in the CCAC title game. That victory advanced the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II East Region tournament, where they finished third.

Three other former Skipjacks – juniors Greg Snyder, J.T. Gregory, and Bryan Woolford – were also on the Wilmington roster.

Kellen Shepard, a senior outfielder at Ohio Valley University, is another former Chesapeake baseball player who won all-conference honors this season. Shepard, who played both baseball and basketball for the Skipjacks, hit .350 this season and was named to the all-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference second team.

"I was glad I could help the team this year and it was nice to get the individual recognition," said Shepard. "It’s a nice note to go out on in my senior year."

Yet another former Skipjack, Chad Wolfe, compiled a 6-1 pitching record for Salisbury University. The Sea Gulls went 38-8 and were ranked 11th in the final American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division III national rankings.

"We try to prepare players to be successful at the next level," said Szymanski, whose former players routinely move on to careers with four-year programs. "When the players make the commitment to the college and the program, they can be successful at the next level."

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