JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn.— Sophomore outfielder Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) has returned to form following an injury-plagued freshman campaign that limited the newcomer to only 20 games a year ago because of shoulder concerns, and has been a household name in coach Tom Griffin's lineup thus far into his second season in Mossy Creek.
Carson-Newman's 2016 baseball squad has already hit more home runs this season than last, 40 long balls on the year compared to 33 in 2015, and is on pace to hit for a better average and slugging percentage. Through 35 games, the Eagles are hitting a shade under .300 at .299 and are slugging .470 as a team with scoring 238 runs.
One of the main reasons for the improved offensive numbers is because of the consistency Snapp has provided his team as the Eagles' No. 5 hitter on the scorecard.
On the season, Snapp is one of five everyday Carson-Newman players who are hitting over .300 and his .304 average on the year has come from 112 at-bats. The sophomore holds a team-leading nine home runs and has driven in 29 runs.
Earlier in the year against McKendree, Snapp was a triple shy of the cycle and his two home runs against Mars Hill on March 11 capped off a 4-for-6 outing which saw the Eagle tally 12 total bases. The 12 total bases was the most any Carson-Newman player has totaled in a single game since Nick Achberger's 12 against Augusta State on Feb. 1, 2008.
Snapp's recent heroics came in walk-off fashion on April 2 when the slugger recorded a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) to beat Newberry 9-8 in game two of the weekend's three-game slate of South Atlantic Conference action.
"I have really been working a lot backside. I know that I need to get my hands in if the pitch is thrown inside," Snapp said. "Mainly, I am staying focused across the plate and making sure to bring the hands in on inside pitches in order to stay alive by fouling it off. That helps a lot."
Due to a crowded outfield because of an influx of newcomers on the roster this season, Snapp's primary role on the squad has been as the team's designated hitter. The Seymour, Tenn. native will receive occasional spot starts in left field, but for the most part, Snapp's services are only utilized as a bat in the lineup.
"I use being the designated hitter to my advantage," Snapp said. "I know that I am not going to be in the field the majority of the time, so I like to come out and make sure that I'm on and that I'm locked in at the plate to help my team the best I can."
While attending Seymour High School from 2011-2014, Snapp totaled 22 home runs and was a 2014 All-State honoree after being named to the All-Inner Mountain Athletic Conference team and Conference Slugger of the Year. A .444 hitter during his senior campaign, Snapp also was a member of the Eagle basketball team.
As a freshman at C-N, Snapp saw limited action in the outfield and as a designated hitter before exiting the season 20 games in. The first-year Eagle picked up his first hit against King on Feb. 10, 2015, doubling to left field. Snapp powered three-run home run games in back-to-back contests against Cedarville and Coker, but the highlight of his freshman campaign came on March 3 a year ago where he went 2-for-3 with two home runs and seven RBIs against Bluefield State.
Having to cut short what would have been one of the conference's most proficient season coming from a freshman, the sophomore was determined to put in the work and to come back stronger than ever prior to the start of the 2016 season.
"After the injury, I was in therapy every day. It was tough and definitely a hard time," Snapp said. "It is one of those things that I had to fight through and had to overcome what had happened. I just had to work my tail off to get back to where I am today."
The hard work has certainly paid off for Snapp who is experiencing an admirable season for the Carson-Newman baseball team during his sophomore year. With the determination to fight through adversity and the ability to maintain a strong presence at the plate, Snapp has positioned himself to be successful for years to come at Mossy Creek.