WDN All-Area baseball team announced
Published 3:47 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
This year area fans were treated to an excellent season of prep baseball. Williamston won its 11th straight conference title, while coming one win away from reaching the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional. Jamesville put together a fantastic season to win the Tideland Conference, while the always exciting Panthers from Northside’s late season run allowed them to make the postseason.
Not every team was a success record-wise, but a lot of the struggling teams featured younger players that have plenty of potential.
Washington’s freshman third baseman Jake Duke had a solid season, and showed he can hang with the varsity kids, while Northside sophomore shortstop Tyler Woolard and Plymouth sophomore center fielder Cameron Peed also enjoyed breakout season.
With an fantastic blend of veteran players and young up-and-comers, this year’s Washington Daily News All-Area Team was one of the hardest to put together.
Taylor Whitley, Jamesville
An all-state selection, Taylor Whitley led the Bullets to a 17-3 record and a playoff victory. The Bullets’ ace finished up a phenomenal season going 7-2, with 60 strikeouts in 60 innings. On the season he let up only 30 hits, while issuing 18 walks and ended the year with a miniscule .98 ERA.
William Rushton, Northside
The staff ace for two years, William Rushton led Northside to a 13-10 record and a trip to the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs in 2008. While the Panthers endured an up and down season, when Rushton was on the mound it was mostly up. The right-hander has always been a big game pitcher for the Panthers, as he dominated on the mound with a sound fastball and a plus changeup. A senior, Rushton’s leadership will be missed next season.
Dustin Latham, Pungo
Yes, the Pungo squad struggled in 2008, but that is no reflection on how good a pitcher Dustin Latham is. While his won-loss record (3-7) may be below par, his stats aren’t. Latham averaged over two strikeouts per inning, as he struck out 74 batters in 37 innings. The Pungo hurler also finished the year with a Bob Gibson-like ERA of 1.20.
Tyreek Cooper, Roanoke
Doug Chesson, Plymouth
Was one of the big bats in a feisty Plymouth lineup that showed a lot of punch, Vikings’ cleanup hitter Doug Chesson batted .370 while mashing 32 RBIs (both second highest totals on the team). Aside from providing senior leadership on a team that made it to the 1-A playoffs, Chesson also brought a steady glove to the field every day.
Trey Peaks, Williamston
A member of the WDN all-area second team last year as a junior, Peaks made strides in his game and was able to elevate to first team status this year. The Tigers were able to produce a lot of runs this season, and Peaks was a big part of that. The second baseman crossed home plate 27 times for Williamston, while knocking in 18 RBIs. Peaks’ presence was also felt in the field, as an integral part of a strong Tigers’ defense.
Brad Boyd, Southside
Though the Seahawks may have struggled a bit this season, Brad Boyd gave the Southside faithful something to cheer about. The junior third baseman had a monster year, batting .460 while driving in 16 runs, both team-highs. One of the toughest outs in the Atlantic Conference, it will be exciting to see what Boyd can do as a senior with the Seahawks.
Taylor Whitley, Jamesville
This was by far the most heavily contested spot on the all-area team, as there were easily five or six kids who were truly first team worthy. However, Taylor Whitley’s numbers could not be denied. The Jamesville shortstop batted .450 for the Bullets, earning team MVP as well as Tideland Conference Player of the Year.
Bob Lilley, Jamesville
Behind the plate, Jamesville catcher Bob Lilley was a sound defensive player, at the plate, the Bullets’ junior was dangerous. In the middle of a high-powered Jamesville lineup, Lilley led the team in batting average, as he hit for a ridiculous .467 average. The everyday grind of being behind the plate tends to wear down hitters, but Lilley showed no ill effects in the batter’s box where was a key piece to on of the area’s better lineups.
Cameron Peed, Plymouth
Vikings’ fans may be witnessing their next big star in the making, as sophomore center fielder Cameron Peed burst on to the scene with a dynamite 2008 season. Peed batted an eye-popping .490, with 37 RBIs while belting four home runs; all of which were team-highs. The super sophomore made the Albemarle All-Conference team, and it’s a safe bet that he might have a few conference player of the year awards under his belt by the time he graduates.
Colby Mason, Northside
One of the best athletes in the area, the Northside senior center fielder was the backbone to the Panthers’ defense as he displayed the speed and range to track down difficult fly balls. It also didn’t hurt that the all-conference Mason batted .389, and drove in a team-leading 26 runs and smashed three homers to lead the Panthers to a 13-10 record.
Justin Barr, Jamesville
Like Mason, Barr is an outstanding athlete and did nice job patrolling center field for the Bullets. Barr, who also played football for Jamesville, showed good speed and awareness out on the field. At the plate, Barr was a menace, hitting for a .410 average while leading the team in extra-base hits.
WDN All-Area Second Team
Doug Chesson, Plymouth
Eric Boyd, Southside
Jamie Blackard, Southside
Josh Warren, Williamston
Will Davis, Williamston
Kevin Sparks, Southside
Coleman Perry, Jamesville
Walt Ange. Williamston
WDN Honorable Mention
Bradley Van Staalduinen
Greg Van Essendelft