Peaks named WDN Hitter of the Year

Published 3:14 am Saturday, June 7, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — His coach calls him a jack-of-all-trades, but with a bat in his hand he is more like Jack the Ripper, which is why the Washington Daily News calls him the best hitter in the area.
When talking about Williamston’s A.J. Peaks, a lot of compliments can be paid, however, the one that fits him the best just might be that he is a pure baseball player.
In his three years with the Tigers’ varsity club, Peaks has played all over the diamond. Last year he made the WDN all-area first team as a catcher, this year he moved up 60-feet-six inches and became the closer when he wasn’t positioned in center field.
Though his positions have varied, one thing hasn’t, and that’s his bat, which is why Peaks was selected the Washington Daily News Hitter of the Area.
A senior, Peaks went out on top as he led the 18-8 Atlantic Conference champion Tigers with a gaudy .536 batting average, while belting three home runs, driving in 27 RBIs and scoring 33 runs. All of which was good enough to be selected to the all-state team.
A lot of batters bring complex approaches to the plate, some sit on fastballs, others on zones, but Peaks’ approach is much more basic.
His simplistic style is deceiving. While other hitters also use the see-the-ball, hit-the-ball approach, they probably lack Peaks’ hulking size, or more importantly a radar-like eye that when combined with his sweet swing, is capable of smashing the ball to either side of the field.
Tice said the biggest improvement in Peaks’ game from last year to this year was his patience at the plate.
Most cleanup hitters tend to sacrifice a base on balls for some contact, or will forget about an opposite field single and go for the pulled triple; which Peaks may have been guilty of last season. However, Tice said his slugger did a much better job this season with his pitch selection.
A point made by Peaks’ whopping .678 on-base percentage, which helped out by the fact that he only struck out seven times in 56 at-bats.
The senior will be moving on to play baseball at Lenoir College next season, and while his career was filled with numerous highlights, and a playoff run that extended into the fourth round, Peaks’ favorite Williamston moment has nothing to do with Peaks.
The humorous hitter said he will always remember the time when former teammate Tucker Warren struggled on his way to home plate.
Peaks will bring his jack-of-all-trade skills to Lenoir next season, and while it is uncertain what position he will play, it’s a safe bet he will hit.