Coastal Plains announces spring award-winnersPublished 12:04pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014
By DAVID CUCCHIARA
Washington Daily News
BAYBORO — The Class 1-A Coastal Plains Conference released its spring award-winners and all-conference teams for baseball and softball on Tuesday, with a trio of Northside athletes taking home top honors.
In baseball, it was East Carteret that notched a first-place finish in the table, going undefeated with a 12-0 record (16-7 overall). The Mariners earned one of the top seeds in the East portion of the state playoff bracket and knocked off conference-foe Lejeune and later North Duplin before falling to regional champion Rosewood last week.
Head coach Jason Salter’s team was also well represented in final conference awards with a league-best five all-conference selections. Salter finished with coach-of-the-year honors and Joseph Lewis was selected as Coastal Plains Player-of-the-Year.
Locally, Northside ended third in the conference with a 6-6 record (9-12 overall) after a pivotal one-run victory over rival Southside in the final game of the regular season. A productive pitching staff complimented by an offense that struggled to score runs had head coach Gil Robbins’ scrappy team fighting to close games out over the final month of the regular season. Earning a No. 3 in the state playoffs, the Panthers earned a meeting with West Columbus in the first round. Again, the pitching held an offensive-minded team to just six runs, but the Northside offense was blanked, recording just a couple of hits.
Headlining the Panthers’ staff was ace Ryan Arthur, who was received the conference pitcher-of-the-year award, deservingly so. Arthur logged a 2.36 ERA with a league-best 111 strikeouts during the regular season. The senior was even more dynamic at the dish with a .420 average, second only to East Carteret’s Ty Mason in conference. An unquestioned leader, Arthur pitched 74 of the team’s 128 innings. It was his durability that backed the offense and held back opposing lineups late in games.
Northside’s other two seniors, Corbin Minor and Curby Clark, were also selected to the all-conference team. Minor finished with a .270 average with 19 runs and six RBI. Clark had a nice balance between arm and bat, ending with .231 average and 10 RBI at the plate, while notching a 3.60 ERA in 35 innings pitched.
Under first-year head coach Kevin McRoy, the Seahawks began the season fielding a collection of mostly inexperienced freshman starters, some who had never even played baseball. It was a tough situation for a coach making his high school debut, but Southside still managed a fourth-place finish in the conference with a 5-7 record (8-10 overall).
Junior Wil Mumford and senior hurler Alex Graves both earned all-conference selections. Mumford stayed consistent in the field and at the plate, while Graves pitched his way to all-conference honors.
Senior John McCormick and sophomore Lawrence Brown received honorable mentions.
While both Northside and Southside had similar success throughout the 2014 season in baseball, both teams found themselves on opposite sides of the table in softball.
Northside spent a good portion of the season as the team to beat in Class 1-A, boasting a No. 1 ranking. The Panthers ranked first in offense and pitching, an impressive feat resulting in a slew of players earning prestigious conference honors.
Following an early-season two-run loss to South Creek, head coach Keith Boyd’s team went on a tear, winning their next 15 games and finishing the regular season 19-1. Unfortunately, the Panthers’ historic run came to an abrupt half in the third round of the state playoffs when Princeton came to Pinetown and decisively knocked off Northside, 9-3. It was a demoralizing way to end a productive season, but the future is undoubtedly bright for this young team.
One of many threats in the Panthers’ lineup is the No. 4 hitter, sophomore Kendall Alligood, who was awarded conference player-of-the-year. Alligood batted .577 with four home runs and a league-best 39 RBI, an impressive line for the catcher’s position.
Her battery mate, Junior Kelsey Lang, took home pitcher-of-the-year honors, throwing 94 of the team’s 123 innings and recorded a league-best 1.41 ERA. Boyd completed the trifecta, winning coach-of-the-year honors.
Other all-conference selections were sophomore Mackenzie Swain, seniors Jessica Cleary and Cheyenne Franks and junior Alex Adams. Perhaps the most impressive of the bunch was Swain, who finished with a .557 average, 35 RBI and a league-best five home runs. Kelsey’s sister, freshman Rachel Land, received an honorable mention.
Despite an uncharacteristically tough season for Southside, junior Tia Hardy and senior Valarie Hodges were selected to the all-conference team. Hardy led her team with a .384 average, while Hodges finished at a .352 clip.
The Washington Daily News will be releasing its All-Beaufort County baseball and softball squads later this week.