KT’s look at the best of the best in high school baseball
Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Since I’ve been covering sports for the Washington Daily News, several student-athletes have definitely left their mark.
Several of those athletes went on to play in college, while a couple are now playing professionally. I could easily make a “Dream Team” of the “best of the best.”
I know there were plenty of greats before my time as sports editor, and plenty of outstanding athletes who could make the team now. But this list is about those athletes I’ve covered who have already graduated.
Here is my “Dream Team” for baseball.
Starting off with one of the best and classiest players I’ve ever covered is Patrick Swift, a former great at Williamston High School. Swift is the captain of this team, and is the “Dream Team” starting catcher. Swift could do it all for the Tigers. He could hit for power, move runners across and hit to any field at his choosing. Swift spent more time in the batting cages than anybody I’ve known, except maybe for Trent Whitehead (who also makes this team). Swift was unbelievable behind the plate and was a true team leader. He is now coaching at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
The powerful-hitting Seth Barnes is the first baseman. Barnes, a former great at Williamston High School, could smash the cover off the baseball.
Another pair of Williamston players can team up for double plays. Former Tiger standouts Trey Warren and Anthony Williams fill the second baseman and shortstop positions on the squad. Warren was just plain scary as a hitter and was solid with the glove, while Williams was simply reliable. Williams went on to have an outstanding career at Mount Olive College, where he helped the Trojans win a national championship.
Rufus Wilson, who deserves to be in Washington’s Walk of Fame, is the third baseman. A class-act, Wilson was a superb hitter and fielder. The former Pam Pack standout went on to have success playing at Barton College.
Trent Whitehead, another former great at Washington High School, leads the outfielders. An all-state player, Whitehead enjoyed a solid freshman campaign with the East Carolina Pirates. A solid hitter, Whitehead is also outstanding on defense thanks to his speed and strong arm.
Joining Whitehead in the outfield are Kamal Pearsall, a former star at Bear Grass, and Williamston’s J.J. House. Both possessed incredible speed in the outfield and made the hard plays look routine.
House, who had success at Elizabeth City State University, is currently playing baseball in Canada.
Trent Watkins, a former great with the Washington Pam Pack who tragically died too young in a motorcycle accident, is the “Dream Team” designated hitter. I liked everything about this kid, whether it was how he hit, how he played defense or how he carried himself off the field. Watkins always had a smile on his face and he absolutely loved playing the game of baseball.
The starting pitchers are Washington’s Aaron Mobley and Dee Eubanks of Williamston. Mobley had nasty stuff as a southpaw. Eubanks relied on a wicked fastball for his bread-and-butter pitch.
The “Dream Team” back-ups are Plymouth catcher Dustin Edwards, Washington first baseman Jock Moore, Jamesville second baseman Steven Roberson, Williamston shortstop Matt Howell, Plymouth third baseman Ronald Phelps, Plymouth outfielder Roderick James, Northside outfielder M.J. Mackey, Southside outfielder Billy Carter, Southside designated hitter Kevin Boyd, Bear Grass pitcher Brookes Walker, Plymouth pitcher Brant West and Roanoke pitcher Trimane Goddard.
Dream Team starters
C – Patrick Swift, Williamston
1B – Seth Barnes, Williamston
2B – Trey Warren, Williamston
SS – Anthony Williams, Williamston
3B – Rufus Wilson, Washington
OF – Trent Whitehead, Washington
OF – Kamal Pearsall, Bear Grass
OF – J.J. House, Williamston
DH – Trent Watkins, Washington
P – Aaron Modley, Washington
P – Dee Eubanks, Williamston
Dream Team bench
C – Dustin Edwards, Plymouth
1B – Jock Moore, Washington
2B – Steven Roberson, Jamesville
SS – Matt Howell, Williamston
3B – Ronald Phelps, Plymouth
OF – Roderick James, Plymouth
OF – M.J. Mackey, Northside
OF – Billy Carter, Southside
DH – Kevin Boyd, Southside
P – Brookes Walker, Bear Grass
P – Brant West, Plymouth
P – Trimane Goddard, Roanoke
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at Kevin@wdnweb.com.