Banner Sports Writer
Although Lee University’s baseball team reaching its second national championship game in three years was a total team effort, five Flames were singled out by the NAIA for outstanding play during both regular and post-season play.
J.J. Costantino and Junior Rodriguez were named to the NAIA All-American first team, while Tanner Moore and Scott Swinson were honorable mentions on the same list.
Swinson was also the only pitcher on the 2010 Rawlings®-NAIA Baseball Gold Glove Team, as well as being named to the World Series All-Tournament squad along with battery mate Taylor Comford.
Costantino received the Charlie Hustle Award for his efforts in the national championship tournament in Lewiston, Idaho.
In his first season with the Flames, Costantino took over the starting center field and leadoff duties after transferring from Caffey College in California.
He posted a .371 batting average, stroked 23 doubles and scored 77 runs. The junior speedster also established a new Lee single-season record by stealing 52 bases.
Rodriguez finished his Lee career with a .360 average. He slammed 16 home runs and drove in 75 runs during his senior season.
Swinson stifled top-ranked Lewis-Clark State in the World Series with a four-hit shutout in a complete game effort.
It was the 6-foot-2 lefty’s fourth shutout in a half dozen complete games this season while posting a perfect 11-0 record. The former No. 1 pitcher for the University of Maryland posted a 2.63 earned run average in 14 starts and a trio of relief appearances.
In 96 innings on the hill Swinson notched 96 strike outs and walked just 15 batters.
Posting a 1.000 fielding percentage with 24 assists and seven put outs in 31 chances earned him his Gold Glove award.
A 2009 Gold Glove winner, Moore returned for his senior season with the Flames after starting his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee.
Elected as a team captain by his peers before the season began, he led the Flames offense with 22 homers, a new school season record, and 77 runs batted in.
The Chattanooga native also topped the Flame regulars with a .379 batting average and seven triples. Almost half (45) of his team-leading 91 hits went for extra bases.
Comford had five hits and a trio of RBI during the World Series while playing stellar behind the plate for the Flames.
Overall this season the former Walker Valley High School standout, who transferred to Lee from Southwestern College in San Diego, had a .405 on base percentage with 31 “ribbees,” nine extra-base hits and 33 free passes.
As a team the Flames were 52-13 this season with a .435 team OBP and a .336 batting average. Lee stole 147 bases and was second in the nation in doubles with 176. The Flames also blasted 75 home runs and scored 592 times.
Coach Mark Brew has led the Flames to four straight World Series appearances in as many years at the helm. Lee is 219-52 since Brew took over the team after 10 years as an assistant coach under former head coach David Altopp.
The Flames earned national runner-up trophies in 2008 as well as Thursday evening plus had a third place finish in 2009.
— Lee University Sports Information Department contributed to this story.