Dan Powers was a gift for the Shenandoah University baseball program when he first arrived on campus as a freshman four years ago, and Hornets head coach Kevin Anderson feels lucky to have had the opportunity to coach a player like Powers for the past four seasons.
"He came in as a third baseman, highly recruited. He was a borderline Division I player and we were fortunate to attract his talents," Anderson said on Thursday.
Powers, who had since made the move across the diamond to first base for the Hornets, lettered in all four seasons for SU, and this past spring he was an integral part of Shenandoah's success on the diamond. Powers finished his senior season with a .362 batting average to go along with three home runs, 30 RBIs, 42 runs scored and 63 total hits en route to helping the Hornets advance to the NCAA Division III regional tournament.
Powers was named third-team all-ODAC, earned a spot on the ODAC All-Tournament team and was a South Regional All-Tournament selection after he hit .500 in the NCAA tournament.
But for everything that Powers has done on the field at Shenandoah this year -- and over his four-year college career -- he has made just as big an impact off of it.
"He just had a tremendous year on the field, in the classroom and in the community," Anderson said. "I could not be more proud of any player at Shenandoah.
"We talk about person, player and student, and he excelled in all three venues."
Powers' devotion to working hard in the classroom and in the Winchester community hasn't gone unnoticed, and he was recently announced -- deservedly so -- as one of 16 finalists for the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby Fan's Choice Award. Powers is one of just two Division III players up for the award, which recognizes college baseball players who "excel beyond the diamond and whose leadership inspires others," according to a release by Shenandoah University.
The winner, chosen by you, the fans, can be voted on through Facebook and will be honored at this year's College Home Run Derby.
Ask Anderson about Powers' contributions in the community, and he reacts like you'd just asked him to name all the flavors of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. There are simply too many to count.
Powers -- who earned SU's Athletic Director's Award this year for his academic achievements and commitment to community service -- participates at the Blue Ridge Fall Races held annually in Berryville, he helps out with the Kiwanis Club and Concern Hotline in Winchester, and he was a regular fixture at the Winchester-area elementary schools when the Hornets would volunteer time to read to young children. There are probably other examples that didn't even pop up during our conversation.
"He not only participated, but he would lead those activities," Anderson said. "He would organize and lead our team and he just did a fantastic job in this community.
"He was really an ambassador for this school and for this community."
Powers, who recently graduated with a degree in business management, also has a GPA of around a 3.6, according to Anderson. The Hornets' coach added that Powers will pursue his MBA at Shenandoah.
"He aspires to be a sports agent one day. I definitely think that will come to fruition because when he puts his mind to something, he accomplishes it," Anderson said.
The TD Ameritrade Fan's Choice Award, the only college baseball award determined solely by fans, consists of three rounds of voting. The first round is already open and runs until June 9, when the field will be whittled down to 12 of the top vote getters. That field will be further reduced to four on June 16, and the winner will be announced during the College Home Run Derby in Omaha, Nebraska on July 3.
Voting can be done by visiting apps.facebook.com/tdafanschoiceaward.
Dan has devoted plenty of his time to the surrounding community over the last four years, and he certainly deserves some thanks and recognition. So get out there and vote.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD