Dylan Johnston and Chase Wiseman will only have to travel about 30 miles to their new stadiums, but in different directions.
Johnston will head northeast to Athens to play for the NAIA National Champion Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs, while Wiseman will head northwest to Dayton to suit up for the Bryan College Lions.
“These guys are great examples of what’s possible when you put in the time and hard work to develop your athletic skills,” praised Bear head coach Travis Adams. “Dylan came back from a blown ACL that cost him his junior season. Chase took a little time to figure out his role, but once he did, he buckled down and worked on the things he needed to do to become a strong first baseman, offensively and defensively.”
The pair helped Bradley rebound from a 10-24 record in 2011 to 24-14 this past spring. “These guys were key to us turning things around,” Adams assessed. “They provided leadership both on and off the field. Offensively, they hit in the heart of our order (Nos. 3 and 4) and defensively, provided us solid play in the field.”
A multisport athlete during his first couple of years at Bradley, Johnston suffered a severe knee injury early in the basketball season of his junior year. After missing two hoops seasons and a year on the diamond, Johnston worked hard to get back on the field for his final high school campaign.
Returning to his starting shortstop position, Johnston posted a .308 batting average, plus a .450 on base percentage. He collected 32 hits, including eight doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs, plus he led the team with 33 runs scored.
With 24 walks, plus getting hit by three pitches, in 138 plate appearances, Johnston also stole 11 bases without getting thrown out. Coming through in the clutch, nine of his 15 runs batted in came with two outs.
“I first saw him at a Christmas camp here (at BCHS) and then kept up with him through the season,” commented coach Billy Berry, who has led his TWC team to three straight NAIA World Series appearances, including a 53-12 mark this past season while winning the national title. “He is a big, physical kid that has good talent and comes from a good program. He’s the type of player we need to keep our program at the level we’ve reached.”
“I really liked what I saw at Wesleyan,” Johnston explained. “A real nice campus. Not too big. Not too small. Plus I was really impressed with the coaches and the team.”
“Playing at Bradley has meant a lot to me,” he added. “It has helped me grow up and mature. I really enjoyed playing all the sports here. They really challenged me and help keep me at the level I needed to be.”
Wiseman is also thankful for his time at BCHS. “Playing here has provided the discipline I needed and taught me hard work pays off. I’m blessed to have this opportunity.”
“Chase has developed a lot over the last two years I’ve been watching him,” commented coach Taylor Hasty, who led Bryan to a 41-18 record and a second place finish behind TWC in the Appalachian Athletic Conference last season. “He has good instincts around first base and good footwork, plus he’s a quality young man, which is something we look for in our players.”
Wiseman posted a .508 on base percentage in the spring, with a .299 batting average, plus he led the team with 35 walks and was hit nine times. He had eight doubles and a home run as he drove in 27 runs and scored 30 times. He struck out just 14 times in 145 plate appearances.
“I have a lot of friends that are going to Bryan, including Hunter Chastain and Miles Christian,” stated Wiseman. Chastain is going to the Dayton school on a basketball scholarship, while Christian is doing the same for the Lion soccer program.
“I’m proud of both these guys,” declared coach Adams. “We have expectations of all of our players to play on the next level. These guys have shown the others what it takes to do that.”