COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Darton first baseman James wins NJCAA Gold Glove

Casey James

Casey James

ALBANY — Darton freshman Casey James entered the 2012 Cavalier baseball season as a capable walk-on and became the best first baseman in the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The NJCAA, in conjunction with Rawlings and the American Baseball Coaches Association, announced Wednesday that James received the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

The awards are given to nine players only, or one award per field position, per collegiate or high school division. The Rawlings Gold Glove has been the standard for outstanding defensive play in the Major Leagues for over half a century. In honor of the award’s 50th Anniversary in 2007, the award expanded to the collegiate and high school levels.

“Defense is the cornerstone of the Rawlings brand and we’re excited that it’s being recognized and rewarded at all levels of play,” said Rawlings President and General Manager Robert Parish. “The 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award recipients at the NJCAA level are incredibly talented and are well on their way to earning a place amongst the most famous defensive greats in the game.”

James carried a staggering .997 fielding percentage with the Cavs and was also recognized as the Region XVII Defensive Player of the Year. Darton coach Scot Hemmings, whose Cavaliers recently broke the school record for most wins in a season (37), said there’s no way his team would have performed as well without him.

“Without Casey we probably wouldn’t have won 27 or 28 of those games,” Hemmings said. “I’m serious, he’s that good. He walked on last year and he just continued to grind it out every day. He developed into an unbelievable first baseman.”

James had mostly played third base or outfield for his travel-ball team before joining the Cavs. He said that during an inter-squad game early in the season the Darton coaching staff put him at first base. He made a couple of plays, and it stuck.

“It’s definitely an honor,” he said. “My family is pretty excited. They’re proud and happy for me. They’re happy to see my hard work pay off.”

FORMER ANDREW PITCHER DRAFTED: Former Andrew College baseball player Josh Carr was drafted in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.

Carr, who was the ace of the staff during his two years at Andrew, finished up his college baseball career at Kennesaw State University.

Carr, a senior now at Kennesaw State, was selected in the 28th round at No. 874 overall by the Detroit Tigers.

A hard-throwing right-hander, Carr started in 13 games for Kennesaw State this past season and led the conference with nine wins, winning eight consecutive starts in a row stretching over a span of two months. He pitched 89.2 innings and finished the season with a 4.01 ERA.

Opponents hit just .243 (7th in the A-Sun conference) off him, while he struck out 66 batters (13th in the conference) on the year. Carr allowed only two home runs all season and his nine wins ranks him 19th in the NCAA.