WDN Baseball/Softball County Players-of-the-YearPublished 12:52pm Tuesday, June 3, 2014
By DAVID CUCCHIARA
Washington Daily News
The Northside Panthers finished the 2014 season with the fourth-ranked offense in Class 1-A, scoring 278 runs in 23 games. Spearheading the county’s most threatening lineup was WDN Softball Coach-of-the-Year Keith Boyd’s standout sophomore, Kendall Alligood, a two-year varsity starting catcher who had a perfect season behind the plate, committing no errors and throwing out nearly every runner that attempted to steal. Few did.
At the plate, the All-Coastal Plains Conference selection led the county in every major offensive category and was fifth in the class in RBI with 39. Alligood also notched a team-high batting average of .577, 33 runs, 13 doubles, three triples and four home runs. The result was the highest OPS (on-base plus slugging) in the county at 1.599.
Catchers tend to have limitations in terms of durability. Alligood, however, played almost every inning of all 23 games for the Panthers. If she can remain healthy for the duration of her playing career at Northside, there’s little doubt Alligood will finish at the top in almost every offensive category.
HALEY HUTCHINS, WASHINGTON
All eyes were on Washington ace Haley Hutchins at the season’s commencement. After tearing through travel ball and showing early success at the high school level, Hutchins was expected to lead the Pam Pack to the promise land in 2014.
The All-Eastern Plains Conference selection ignored the pressure, disregarded outside distractions and posted one of the most impressive seasons on the rubber in Washington history.
Hutchins’ microscopic 0.71 ERA was the lowest in the conference, county and Class 2-A, while her 152 strikeouts ranked sixth in the class. The pitcher softball enthusiasts refer to as “Fire” held opponents to a .152 average and tossed four one-hitters and a nine-out perfect game against Farmville Central in March. She allowed just one home run all season.
While known for her pitching, Hutchins was equally impressive at the plate, leading her team in average (.569) and RBI (24), while also notching three home runs, six doubles, three triples and 25 runs. Fans should expect big things out of Washington’s No. 1 in 2015.
RYAN ARTHUR, NORTHSIDE
Like Washington’s Hutchins, Northside senior Ryan Arthur was graced with the unique ability to carry his team at the plate and on the mound.
Head coach Gil Robbin’s ace proved to be a bright spot in an otherwise unproductive lineup, as Arthur led his team with a .420 average, a whole .150 points higher than the next closest hitter.
Last week, Arthur was named Coastal Plains Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year, boasting a 5-5 record and 2.36 ERA, second-best in the conference. His 111 strikeouts rank second in Class 1-A, while his nine complete games and 74 innings pitched lead the county.
At the plate, Arthur pieced together the best stat line in the county with a .420 average, two home runs and 22 RBI. He also notched 13 runs, six doubles and two triples.
Arthur’s stellar senior campaign single-handedly propelled the Panthers to the state tournament. Without it, their 9-12 record and third-place Coastal Plains Conference finish would have been significantly lower.
COLE AUSTIN WOOLARD, PUNGO
The word “workhorse” is an understatement when referring to Pungo’s Cole Austin Woolard. The unquestioned and uncontested leader of the Raiders’, the senior ace was on the mound for every single big-game situation this season.
In the playoffs, WDN Coach-of-the-Year John Scott Cutler relied on his lengthy right-hander to work his way through the playoffs. Thrown into the fire on just two-days rest, Woolard’s run came to an ugly finish in the second round of the state playoffs, as he drilled three-consecutive batters in the second inning and was pulled early.
The game was a testament to his determination and desire to do whatever it takes to win.
From a numerical perspective, Woolard’s 1.88 ERA was the lowest in the county. He finished with a 5-2 record and 61 strikeouts in 52 innings of work. His lights-out performance earned him NCISAA Class 1-A All-State honors.
Offensively, Woolard was Cutler’s go-to hitter, finishing with a .347 average, 18 RBI and 13 runs. He also led his team in doubles with five.