Written by David Mann
June 14, 2012 (ALBANY) – Darton State College freshman Casey James entered the 2012 Cavalier baseball season as a capable walk-on and became the best first-baseman in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The NJCAA, in conjunction with Rawlings and the American Baseball Coaches Association, announced Wednesday that James received the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
The awards are given to nine players only, or one award per field position, per collegiate or high school division. The Rawlings Gold Glove has been the standard for outstanding defensive play in the Major Leagues for over half a century. In honor of the award’s 50th Anniversary in 2007, the award expanded to the collegiate and high school levels.
“Defense is the cornerstone of the Rawlings brand and we’re excited that it’s being recognized and rewarded at all levels of play,” said Rawlings President and General Manager Robert Parish. “The 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove Award recipients at the NJCAA level are incredibly talented and are well on their way to earning a place amongst the most famous defensive greats in the game.”
James carried a staggering .997 fielding percentage with the Cavs and was also recognized as the Region XVII Defensive Player of the Year. Darton College Baseball Coach Scot Hemmings, whose Cavaliers recently broke the Darton record for most season wins (37), said there’s no way his team would have performed so well without him.
“Without Casey we probably wouldn’t have won 27 or 28 of those games,” Hemmings said. “I’m serious, he’s that good. He walked on last year and he just continued to grind it out every day. He developed into an unbelievable first baseman.”
James had mostly played third base or outfield for his travel-ball team before joining the Cavs. He said that during an inter-squad game early in the season the Darton coaching staff put him on first base. He made a couple of plays, and it stuck.
“It’s definitely an honor,” he said. “My family is pretty excited. They’re proud and happy for me. They’re happy to see my hard work pay off.”