Jared Lyons, a senior left-handed pitcher for Liberty University and Tabb alumnus, was named a Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-American.
Lyons, who graduated from Tabb in 2011, was granted third-team All-American honors last week.
By being named an Division I All-American, Lyons becomes the first Flames pitcher and second Liberty player in program history to earn the distinction.
Last week, after sleeping in late, Lyons awoke to a phone full of congratulatory text messages from friends and family.
Confused, it took Lyons roughly 30 minutes to learn what all the excitement was about.
“Everybody texted me congratulations and I didn’t know what they were talking about,” he said.
For Lyons, becoming an All-American was not even on his radar as he began the season as a closer and relief pitcher. However, a slow start by Liberty, which was ranked as high as 23 in preseason polls, prompted Lyons to move into the starting rotation.
“We had a little trouble going on in the beginning with some of the starting pitchers, so some of the coaches talked to me and said we needed to change things up,” he said.
Lyons said the turning point in his season came during a March 22 game against Radford. With Liberty losing the first two games in the series, Lyons said he was determined to go out and put on a performance that would motivate his team moving forward.
And he did.
The Flames took down the Highlanders 3-0 behind a complete-game shutout from Lyons, who struck out 10 batters and allowed only three hits.
That game, Lyons said, turned things around for the reliever-turned-starter. Lyons finished the season with an 8-2 record and a 1.99 ERA over 99 2/3 innings while helping lead Liberty to a 33-23 record. With 100 strikeouts and a top-20 WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched), Lyons cemented himself as one of the top players in the nation.
Along the way to being dubbed an All-American, Lyons led the Big South Conference with three complete games, two shutouts and an opponent batting average of .197. He also earned Big South Pitcher of the Week honors three times during his senior campaign.
With his collegiate pitching career ending on a high note, Lyons said he is now waiting to see how the upcoming Major League Baseball draft will play out. The MLB draft will take place June 8 to 10.
Lyons does not know when, or if, he will be drafted, but he plans to watch the draft with his family back in Yorktown.
“I’m going to come back home and be with my family and discuss things if I do get drafted,” he said. “We’ll see how things go. Hopefully things do work out.”
Lyons was an All-District baseball player his junior and senior years at Tabb, posting an 8-3 record with 88 strikeouts during his senior year.