GREENSBORO, N.C. – The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) released its ABCA/Rawlings Division II All-America Baseball team Tuesday, with Georgia College's Brandon Benson (Loganville, Georgia) and Cal Gentry (Perry, Georgia) both earning spots on the three-team list.
Benson took first-team honors, while Gentry was named third baseman for the third team.
Now a consensus First Team All-American, Benson takes this honor after finishing one of the best seasons in the storied history of Georgia College Baseball. The senior hit .395 with 22 home runs, 79 RBIs and 74 runs scored. The consensus Region Player of the Year and Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Player of the Year, he also tallied an .819 slugging percentage and .464 on-base percentage. The shortstop ended his career on a 17-game hit streak and boasted 22 multi-RBI games on the season, including seven with four RBIs or more.
Gentry made an immediate impact on Division II baseball in just his first season as a collegiate player. Holding down third base for the Bobcats for the entire season and the leadoff spot for the majority of the year, Gentry led the PBC in batting average at .441, adding a home run, 42 RBIs and 59 runs. He had hit streaks of both 17 and 13 games during the year, posting a team-high 29 multi-hit games.
The Bobcat duo makes it 20 ABCA All-Americans in school history, the most recent being first team second baseman Dylan Cook just a season ago. Benson is the fourth Bobcat shortstop to bring in honors from the ABCA, joining Tanner Funk in 2011 and Mike DeVeaux in 2006. Gentry is the first third baseman to be honored as All-Americans through this organization in school history.
The 2017 season has come to a close for Georgia College, a 35-15 campaign highlighted by winning the 2017 PBC Tournament after going 16-8 in league play. The Bobcats were an offensive juggernaut, leading the country in batting average and runs per contest. GC Baseball put six on the All-PBC Teams, with Benson being named the PBC and Southeast Region Player of the Year. Benson and Gentry have both been named All-Americans and were joined by junior Logan Mattix on the All-Region teams as well.
The ABCA All-America team was first recognized in 1949 and now includes nine divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, Pacific Association Division, and high school. ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove teams were first recognized in 2007.
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 8,000 members represent all 50 states and 25 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth. The 74th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 4-7, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. is an innovative manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods worldwide. Founded in 1887, Rawlings is an authentic global sports brand, trusted by generations of athletes of all skill levels. Rawlings' unparalleled quality, innovative engineering and expert craftsmanship are the fundamental reasons why more professional athletes, national governing bodies and sports leagues choose Rawlings. Rawlings is the Official Ball Supplier and Batting Helmet of Major League Baseball®, the official baseball of Minor League Baseball™ and the NCAA®, and the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. For more information, please visit Rawlings.com or by phone at (314) 819-2800.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on social media for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.