Friendship Christian baseball coach John McNeal, left, and former pitcher Brennan Swindoll were honored by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association as its 2013 Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively, at the Marriott Hotel in Nashville last Saturday.
Swindoll was the salutatorian of the 2013 FCS graduating class. He went 34-4 on the mound as a freshman, junior and senior, having missed his sophomore season due to Tommy John surgery for an injury sustained in football. The left-hander capped his high school career by pitching four straight complete-game shutouts with 40 strikeouts and two walks in tournament play, including the state final. His senior season was preceded by surgery to eradicate testicular cancer. But just before pitching the Commanders to the state championship in May, he learned the cancer had returned and underwent a nine-week round of chemotherapy treatment. Cancer free, he is a freshman at Chattanooga State Community College where he will soon pitch his freshman season.
McNeal will soon begin his 22nd season as Friendship baseball coach during which time the Commanders have compiled 21 district championships, 11 state tournament appearances, two runners up and two championships with a record of 635-214. Nine of his former players are currently playing in college and another, Stephen Pryor, is recovering from a shoulder injury with the Seattle Mariners.