2014 WDN All-County Baseball SelectionsPublished 11:46am Thursday, May 29, 2014
By DAVID CUCCHIARA
Washington Daily News
WASHINGTON — It was a tough 2014 campaign for most baseball teams in Beaufort County, but looking through the sub-.500 records and tough competition, there are still a handful of gifted athletes worthy of joining the ranks of the Washington Daily News All-County team.
Weather, and lots of it, defined this spring’s baseball and softball seasons. Rampant rescheduling and washouts caused inconsistency. Tornados, lightning, rain and even sleet forced mass cancellations. Battling through the elements, the county’s top talents still managed to shine. Here are the Washington Daily News First and Second All-County Baseball Teams.
RYAN ARTHUR, P/SS, SR., NORTHSIDE
The ideal baseball player has five tools: speed, hitting for power, hitting for average, arm strength and fielding. Being a dominant force on the rubber, you can argue Northside’s standout senior is a six-tool high school phenom. In a lineup where no one batted above .300, Arthur was the primary producer, recording an impressive .420 average, a conference-high two homers and a team-high 22 RBI. On the mound, the Coastal Plains Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year logged 74 innings of work and a 5-5 record, posting a 2.36 ERA with 111 strikeouts.
COLE AUSTIN WOOLARD, P/SS, SR., PUNGO
Few players headlined the sports section of the Washington Daily News more this season than Woolard. The Pungo ace, like Northside’s Arthur, was head coach John Scott Cutler’s No. 1 threat at the plate and on the mound. The Raiders senior and NCISAA All-State selection logged a team-high 60.2 innings of work and a 5-2 record, while finishing with 71 strikeouts and a 1.73 ERA. At the dish, Woolard led his team in average (.394) and RBI (20).
NEIL JENNINGS, DH, SO., WASHINGTON
Jennings was a bright spot in a Pam Pack lineup that simply couldn’t get hits at the right time. Whether his team was down seven runs or fighting to win a low-scoring game, the regular designated hitter always seemed to put great swings on the ball, adjusting to the curve and waiting on the fastball. The result was usually short line drives up the middle or to the opposite field. Jennings finished with a .400 average and was tied for the team lead in RBI with 10. Just s sophomore, expect Jennings to blossom into an even better hitter under head coach Ryan Whitney.
AUSTIN ROSCOE, P/SS, FR., TERRA CEIA
Roscoe fit Terra Ceia’s mantra to perfection. He is young, dynamic, scrappy, poised and, well, rather short. But don’t let the height fool you. Roscoe, just a freshman, is on track to be Beaufort County’s most dominant pitcher in 2015. Even against powerhouse Lawrence and a resurgent Pungo, Roscoe proved virtually unhittable. He finished with a 2-2 record and a 1.71 ERA. Run support was always an issue for Roscoe this season, but it’s not like he didn’t contribute at the plate. The All-Conference selection finished with a team-high .364 average.
ALEX GRAVES, P/SS, SR., SOUTHSIDE
Southside’s Graves quietly had one of the most well-balanced seasons as a pitcher and hitter. One of head coach Kevin McRoy’s unofficial senior captains, leading through his on-the-field production, hit .286 and was tied for the team-high in RBI at 11. He came through with big hits down the stretch and was a threat on the base paths. On the mound, the All-Coastal Plains Conference selection was a true ace for the Seahawks, finishing with a 2.23 ERA.
TREY BRUNSON, SS, SR., WASHINGTON
Coming into the 2014 season, the pressure was on Brunson to lead the Pam Pack, on and off the field. While struggling at times on defense, Washington’s senior shortstop met most expectations, finishing with a .350 average and 10 RBI. Above all else, if Brunson were inserted into an offensive-savvy lineup, his RBI total would have been much higher. The Pack’s leader on the diamond is going to be hard to replace in 2015.
AUSTIN WYNNE, 2B/P, FR., TERRA CEIA
Along with Roscoe, a young Terra Ceia team relied on another freshman for run support. Wynne, who had just three errors this season, gave head coach Jason Wynne consistency on defense at second base, as well as at the plate. The speedy, undersized freshman batted .346 with a notable .502 on-base percentage. As the Knights’ No. 2 starter, Wynne finished with a 3.13 ERA. Partnered with Roscoe, the future looks bright for Terra Ceia baseball.
DALTON ETHERIDGE, CF, JR., PUNGO
Over the course of the season, Pungo systematically generated runs early in the game and usually from the top of the lineup. As the Raiders’ leadoff hitter, Etheridge was a key component in that scheme. In fact, you could argue the speedy junior was the top hitter in the county from that spot in the lineup. Etheridge, a threat on the base paths with 18 stolen bases, finished with a .356 average and 15 runs. He also proved to be one of the better defensive outfielders with an outstanding .989 fielding percentage.
WILL RESPESS, SS/P, SO., PUNGO
Similar to Arthur, Graves, Roscoe and Woolard, Respess – a now two-time Tarheel All-Conference selection – offered solid production and was the No. 1 relief option for Cutler. Traditionally batting second in a top-heavy lineup, the consistent sophomore hit .326 with eight RBI, 10 stolen bases, 16 runs and a .567 on-base percentage. A well-rounded stat line, top to bottom. As a pitcher, Respess was just as impressive, recording a 2.46 ERA and 21 strikeouts. With Thomas Mann and Woolard set to graduate, expect this young sophomore to lead Cutler’s staff n 2015.
HUNTER SPARKS, C, FR., SOUTHSIDE
It’s rare to see such a strong freshman campaign from a freshman, especially a catcher. However, Sparks gave McRoy a durable option behind the plate, while being one of the Seahawks’ top players on offense. Sparks led his team (minimum 30 at bats) with a .326 average, just .001 of a point above teammate Lawrence Brown. Sparks also recorded nine runs and eight RBI.
LAWRENCE BROWN, RF, SO., SOUTHSIDE
JOHN MCCORMICK, LF, SR., SOUTHSIDE
CORBIN MINOR, CF, SR., NORTHSIDE
WIL MUMFORD, CF, JR., SOUTHSIDE
RYAN TOOLEY, RF, JR., PUNGO
QUENTIN VAN ESSENDELFT, C, FR., TERRA CEIA
MARCUS WILLIAMS, 3B, SR., PUNGO
COLT DIXON, OF, SR., SOUTHSIDE
CURBY CLARK, P/LF, SR., NORTHSIDE
CHASE FURLOUGH, 3B/P, SO., TERRA CEIA
PATRICK THOMPSON, P/SS, JR., WASHINGTON
TERRY MOORE, P, SO., SOUTHSIDE
ZACH PARKER, P, SR., WASHINGTON