The award was named after former Blinn baseball coach and athletic director Leroy Dreyer, a NJCAA Baseball and American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer who worked at the College for 36 years and still regularly attends Buccaneer athletic events. Cullen Jozwiak (Brenham) won the award in 2015, Blaine Suehs (Caldwell) won in 2016, and Sam McElreath (Brenham) and Jay Anderson (Humble) won in 2017.
"I saw them both play in a lot of games," Dreyer said. "Kyle kept the team in the game every time he was on the mound and Brandon always played hard and was very focused. I wish them both the very best and know they will have bright futures."
As sophomores, Gray and Ashy each had breakout years on the field while maintaining GPAs over 3.0.
After appearing in three games as a hitter in 2016 and pitching 18 1/3 innings in 2017, Gray vastly increased his time on the mound this season. He posted a 7-2 record and led Blinn with 92 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings, posting a 3.33 earned run average. He signed to continue playing baseball at Auburn University.
"This honor is truly a blessing and shows that all of the hard work paid off," Gray said. "Having a good team surround me and a great coaching staff that helped me on the mound made the entire season really enjoyable."
Ashy also saw significant improvement in playing time after appearing in five games as a freshman in 2017. This year, he played in 49 games and hit .326, scored 44 runs, and led the Buccaneers with 46 runs batted in. He has been accepted into Texas A&M University and plans on pursuing a degree in construction science.
"What helped me thrive was being around my best friends and a good coaching staff, so everything fell into place since I was playing for them and myself," Ashy said. "The atmosphere, the team chemistry, and the coaching staff made my experience at Blinn College one I will never forget."
Gray and Ashy helped the Buccaneers improve from a 28-27 record in 2017 to 37-17 record and second-place finish in the Region XIV South Zone Division in 2018, earning a spot in the Region XIV tournament.
"As with all of the previous award winners, Brandon Ashy and Kyle Gray were leaders and great examples of everything we want our players in our program to be in terms of a student-athlete," McIntyre said. "Brandon could go down as one of the most selfless and driven young men I've ever had the pleasure to coach and his attitude, work ethic, and drive to succeed each day made him the heartbeat our team. Kyle is all about determination and being an ultra-competitor, so he became the rock of our pitching staff this spring and his presence in our program will be greatly missed."
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.