Carroll County’s Brandon Lineberry will be taking his baseball talents to NCAA Division III powerhouse Virginia Wesleyan College next year, after signing with the Marlins on May 31.
“They play in a good conference, are a good school to go and get looked at (by major league scouts), and they’re close to the beach,” said Lineberry of his decision to ink with the Marlins.
Joe Tompkins, Carroll County’s head coach, said Lineberry’s statistics don’t fully reflect the kind of year the senior had.
“His batting average was .316, but he hit the ball hard all year long. For the way he hit the ball, his batting average should have been around .400. He’s also an exceptional defensive first baseman,” said Tompkins, adding, “He’s a good kid. He’ll do well at the next level.”
Assistant Coach Kevin DeHaven echoed Tompkins accolades.
“He’s hard working and dedicated,” said DeHaven. “He’ll do anything he needs to do to get better. He’s a great young man. I would want him on any team I had.”
Lineberry led the Cavaliers in home runs (3) and RBIs (15), and was tied for the team lead in doubles with five. He also scored 10 runs, drew eight walks and had a .418 on-base percentage. As a pitcher, Lineberry posted a 1-2 record and a 4.06 ERA.
Although Lineberry said he “was pretty satisfied” with his season, he added that a hard-hit ball right at an opposing player happened quite often. “It seemed like that all year,” he said.
Under the guidance of Virginia Wesleyan Head Coach Nick Boothe, 22 players have advance to the pro ranks, including five who have signed with Major League teams in the past three years.
During Boothe’s 26 years at the helm, Virginia Wesleyan has posted a 586-413-6 overall record a 266-141-3 mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The Marlins have had winning seasons 14 of the last 16 years, and hold the NCAA Division III record with 34 wins in 2003.
Although The Carroll News was unable to get in touch with Boothe, who was on the road recruiting, Dwayne Puryear, owner of Blue Ridge Hitting & Pitching Instruction, had spoken with the Marlins’ coach prior to Lineberry’s signing.
“(Boothe) was real excited about the power Brandon was going to bring to his lineup,” said Puryear, “and the work ethic Brandon brings to the table. Baseball is 365 days a year with Brandon.”
Puryear added, “I’ve been around the Virginia Wesleyan program and in my opinion, I personally think Brandon is going to step in and make an instant contribution as a freshman.”