Clams Heading Home with Some Hardware

by Jared Taylor

The Steamers announced the 2023 team award winners prior to the matchup with the Outer Banks Scallywags Friday. The winners may have shared a little bloodline as well.

General Manager Tyler Russell and Head Coach Justin Hill presented four players with the Goodman Glove Award (Best Defender), Gieseke Gold Award (Team MVP), Evans Pitcher of the Year Award (Best Pitcher), and the Katy Ebersole Sportsmanship Award (Heat and Soul of the Team).

Luke Myers walked away with the 2023 Gieseke MVP Award in his first season with the Clams. Myers has demonstrated all of the qualities of what it means to dawn the teal and black. He has played in all 38 games so far this season, most at the top of the Clams lineup. The sophomore from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is tied for the team lead in hits (30, Ty Garza), and 2nd on the team in runs scored with 30. In addition to his durability, Myers has also demonstrated an eagle eye at the plate with a team-leading 32 walks. The middle infielder is the 17th winner of the award named after longtime treasurer and member of the board of directors Gayle Gieseke. Myers followed in the footsteps of 2023 Clams teammate and 2022 award winner, Nate Paulsen. Myers also became just the 4th Steamers infielder to win the award and the first since second baseman Ryan Raslowsky in 2014.

Drifton Padgett took home the 2023 Goodman Glove Award. Padgett’s defense in the heart of the Clams’ outfield has been remarkable all season. He has made some game-saving catches and any ball hit to the gap has seemed to find the glove of the Rocky Mount, NC native. In 33 games played, Padgett leads the Clams in outfield assists (4), and outfield putouts (70), and holds a perfect 100 fielding percentage. The senior from NC Wesleyan followed up shortstop Chase Bruno who won the award in 2022. Padgett is the 14th recipient of the award and became the first outfielder to take home the Goodman Glove since Richard Cunningham in 2016.

Drifton’s brother, Chandler Padgett, won the 2023 Evans Pitcher of the Year Award. Chandler has been the Steamers’ ace all season long. At the beginning of the season, the Clams were looking for a starter to dominate on the mound every five days, Padgett has taken on the challenge and then some. In nine games pitched, he is 2nd on the team in innings pitched with (42.0), 2nd in ERA (1.92), and leads the team with 6 wins. The Rocky Mount, NC native is the 5th recipient of the award that was created in 2019 after one of the organizations founding fathers Wallace Evans.

The Padgett twins continue to make history in a Steamers uniform. In addition to being the first twin brothers on the team since 2013, each now has been a 2023 PCL All-Star and a Steamers Award winner.

Geomar Santana won the Ebersole Heart and Soul Award with his charisma and hard-working attitude on and off the field. Santana has taken on every role that Head Coach Justin Hill has presented him with this season. Whether that is the team’s primary extra hitter, the catcher on any given night, or the right fielder making incredible diving catches. He has done it all with a beaming smile while constantly supporting his teammates. Santana is the 12th recipient of the award and is the third straight catcher to take home the award (Jeremiah Boyd 2022, Case Kermode 2021).

The award winners will be back in action Saturday, July 29th for the final game of the regular season against the Greenbrier Knights. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

The quartet of Clams will also be a huge part of the 2023 PCL playoffs which begin on Monday, July 31st when the number one seed Steamers take on the number four seed Greenbrier Knights at Historic Hicks Field.