Sylacauga native earns NAIA All-American honors
The postseason awards keep coming for Talladega College’s Chase Benfield.

Last Thursday, the Sylacauga native earned a spot on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics honorable mention All-American team.

Benfield is the first player from any sport at TC to earn All-American honors in the NAIA.

“It actually came as a surprise to me,” Benfield said. “I really didn’t expect it. One of my buddies told me about it. To me it is a great accomplishment and it shows that all my hard work has paid off lately. I am going to keep at it.”

TC head coach Will Ramos was ecstatic about his first All-American player at TC. He said the hard work Benfield put in last summer made him a better player.

“We are very happy and very proud of Chase Benfield for being an All-American honorable mention,” Ramos said. “That is a great accomplishment. I think this is the first All-American honorable mention honor the Athletic department has ever had in NAIA. He had a good year this year, he hit over .350. He was one of the top leads on the team. The last two years we have seen him improving, but you just didn’t know how much he was improving until this year. Even when the year started, I told my coach I was worried about short spot position. After I saw him and how hard he worked in the summer, I stuck with him. He came in great shape, he lifted weights and he put together a good year.”

The junior shortstop led the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference with a .384 batting average.

He also led the conference in hits with 61, and he was tied for first in RBI’s with 34. Defensively, Benfield was just as good, with a fielding percentage of .887, and he turned 17 double plays for the Tornadoes.

For his efforts, he was named the GCAC Player of the Year.

“It is a great achievement,” Benfield said. “It shows the success of our program now and we are actually getting respect. For me to represent Talladega College, it was actually a great honor for me. I really don’t look at my numbers; I just really want to win. I try to do my best and I want to do whatever I can to help my team win. It is a great honor to represent Talladega College.”

The Tornadoes lead-off hitter is thrilled about some of the players that head coach Will Ramos has signed during the off season.

“I know coach has been doing a lot of recruiting out there and we have a lot of new players coming in,” Benfield said. “Actually, one of my best friends, Ryan Drummond, is coming there next year. We are getting a couple of guys that I have actually played with. Expectations for me in my senior year: I expect nothing less than a conference championship and a bid to the World Series. Every year we have made it further and further. This year, I definitely think we have the pieces to make a pretty deep run and make a big name for Talladega College. I am just excited.”

After the season was complete, Benfield decided to take his talents above the board to Canada to play in the Western Major Baseball League.

He said he is gaining some great experience in Canada and he believes this will help him become a better player for TC.

“My buddy, Ryan, actually told me about it and said he was coming up there,” Benfield said. “He told me that I should email the coach to see if they needed more players. They actually did and that was two weeks before I found out I was coming, so I had to get all my stuff ready. They actually invited me to come and it has been a great experience so far. They put us with a host family and they take good care of us up here. It is good baseball, a really good league.”

© 2012