JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman baseball's position previews roll along with the second of a three-part series taking a closer look at the unit prior to the 2019 season with a glimpse of the outfield with senior Brendan Campbell.
The most experienced position player in recent memory graduated as Cade Snapp finished his career with 115 runs scored, 36 home runs and 158 RBIs and a .298 batting average in 172 career games producing 55 multi-hit efforts and 42 multi-RBI outings in his career. Most of his time was spent in left field but he also saw time at first base or at designated hitter.
"There's no replacing Cade with his power and his pure ability to hit the ball," Campbell said. "For me, learning from him was being a leader for those outfielders making sure that everyone is on the same page. The young guys learned from him last year so it's my job now to keep them improving."
Campbell brings stability to a youthful unit having been around the program since 2015 piling up 98 starts and playing in 43 games. Over the last two years, he has a batting average above .300 driving in 36 runs despite battling injuries. Primarily a year ago he was the team's designated hitter as the Eagles were 21-13 when he started.
"This summer I worked hard with coach [Tom Griffin] getting my overall strength back," Campbell said. "Last year I thought it was going to be my year back in the outfield but my shoulder never really got there. This year I'm hoping my body stays healthy."
Otherwise the outfield is filled with young guns ready to take a jump forward in their development. Starting in center field, Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) started 44 games with the team producing a record of eight games above .500 with him out there. He hit .301 with two homers, 16 RBIs and 11 steals recording 13 multi-hit games.
In right field, Jordan Griffin (Ellerslie, Ga.) found a groove after playing on the football team hitting four homers and driving in 19. He produced nine RBIs in a three-game sweep over eventual upstart Anderson in a March series.
Charlie Brown (Sevierville, Tenn.) saw time around the outfield but settled into left field. The defensive whiz that produced a Sportscenter Top 10 play as a rookie hit .309 with 11 RBIs and four steals.
"Their ability is there," Campbell said. "No one has a better arm than Charlie. No one is faster than Jordan or Tyler Thompson so now it's more of the mental side of the game making sure they are in the right position and they know what to do with the ball."
The depth of the position does not stop with a trio of sophomores. Senior Cal Smith (Keller, Texas) made 16 starts a year ago and stole four bases in five tries. Hal Bishop projects to earn at-bats after hitting a two-run bomb against Anderson on March 17.
The final part of the position previews focuses on the pitchers and catchers with Greg Valentine on Monday as the team looks to replace two all-conference hurlers.
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