WDN honors boys of summer

Published 6:01 pm Saturday, July 16, 2011

Washington shortstop Jake Duke throws the ball to first during a game earlier this year. Duke was named to the WDN All-Area team first-team for the third straight year. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

This year was one of the most exciting ones for area baseball as it was highlighted by several tremendous individual and team efforts. Plymouth was the last area team standing as it made run that lasted all the way until the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional round of the playoffs, while Riverside finished right behind the Vikings, winning a District title and making it to the Sectional round of the postseason.
Plymouth’s journey through the playoffs was a historic one as the team finished 23-6 to break a school record for most wins in a season and swept the WDN postseason awards. Vikings manager Terry Perry was named coach of the year, while Ronnell Blount batted nearly .500 to win position player of the year and D.J. Cook went 11-2 to win pitcher of the year.
Plymouth and Riverside weren’t the only two teams to turn in stellar efforts. Northside overcame an 0-12 start before it became one of the hottest teams in the state and won nine straight to make the postseason. Washington, under first year coach Matt Burnett, took a big stride and made the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs for the first time in three years.
Overall, there were plenty of reasons why this year’s baseball season was a great one, and the WDN would like to honor some of those players that made the season so special by presenting the Washington Daily News All-Area Baseball team.

Hatteras Brooks, Washington
An extremely crafty pitcher, Washington’s Hatteras Brooks wrapped up his senior season in sensational style as he finished 6-4 with a 3.47 ERA and three saves. Equipped with a sharp curve, and a changeup loaded with late movement, Brooks could be depended on to give a quality start every time he took the mound.

Brandon Marsh, Northside
Perhaps the most complete pitcher in the area, Northside’s Brandon Marsh strikes with a quality fastball, while his curve may be the best around. His 6-8 record may not seem that impressive, but it’s more the result of playing on a team that ran either extremely hot or cold. Marsh played his best in big games, and he was perhaps the only pitcher in the area to record wins over both Riverside and Plymouth this season.

Will Gurganus,
The staff ace on a team that went 22-4 and won a District championship, Riverside’s Will Gurganus compiled a 6-3 record with a 3.04 ERA. The rising senior did an extremely good job of keeping hitters off balance this year as he yielded only 39 hits in 53 innings of work.

Kevin Baker,
Plymouth coach Terry Perry talked a lot about the chemistry of his team and Kevin Baker was a big part of that. The Vikings’ catcher always kept the energy up in the dugout and on the field. Baker was a force offensively as he hit .330, while on defense his strong arm allowed him to gun down 14 runners at second base.

First base
Dillon Cutler,
A real menacing presence in the middle of the Panthers’ lineup, Dillon Cutler came to the plate with a quick bat and enough power to scare any opposing pitcher. Cutler hit .283 this season and mashed four home runs while his big frame provided a nice target for his fellow infielders.

Second base
Chris Rogerson, Plymouth
Every quality team has a good leadoff man and this year Chris Rogerson was that guy for Plymouth, A real pro style hitter, Rogerson’s keen eye allowed him to hit .440, which provided guys like Ronnell Blount and Shaun Holloway a tremendous amount of RBI opportunities. Rogerson, who is making his second straight WDN first-team appearance, also has great range in the field and soft hands.

Third base
Christian Leggett, Riverside
Easily one of the best hitters around, Riverside’s Christian Leggett hit third in a very good Knights’ lineup and batted .379 with three home runs and 42 RBIs. When an RBI opportunity arose, Leggett was the guy Riverside wanted at the plate as his batting average rose to 72 points to an eye-popping .451 with runners in scoring position.

Jake Duke, Washington
A three-time WDN first-team selection, Washington shortstop Jake Duke capped off his tremendous prep career by hitting .409 with three homers and 19 RBIs against tough 3-A pitching. Aside from having a knack for clutch hits, Duke was capable of batting anywhere in the Pack lineup and did a great job providing senior leadership on a young team. On the field, Duke’s glove is second to none as he displayed great range coupled with a strong throwing arm.

Terrill Moore, Southside
One of the best athletes in the area, Southside’s Terrill Moore’s speed allowed him to cover a large amount of ground in the outfield while his throwing arm made team’s scared to run on him. At the plate, Moore was outstanding as the junior hit .619 and stole 17 bases.

Will Swain,
One of the most fun hitters to watch, Washington’s Will Swain has a great eye for the ball and a swing that allowed him to hit .307 this season with one home run and 19 RBIs. This season Swain made the transition from second base to center field and didn’t miss a beat as he was able to track down balls and be a steady presence in the center of the Pack’s defense.

Taylor Woolard, Northside
Like Southside’s Moore, Taylor Woolard is a phenomenal athlete who can seemingly do it all. The senior outfielder hit .352 for the Panthers this year and drove in 15 runs. Woolard, who was also a very good defensive player, was a team player for the Panthers who could be counted on as a team leader.

Shaun Holloway, Plymouth
Just a rising junior, Shaun Holloway took the area by storm his sophomore season as he batted third in the potent Plymouth lineup and hit .460. Together, Holloway and Runnel Blount teamed up to proved the best 1-2 punch in the area. It would be a tandem that would allow the Vikings to win a Sectional title and make it to the 1-A East Regional.

Shaun Holloway, Plymouth
Terrill Moore, Southside
Mathew Perry, Riverside

Matt Wisniewski, Riverside

First base
Mathew Perry, Riverside

Second base
Caleb Whitley, Riverside

Third base
Hunter Cook, Plymouth

Lucas Groover, Riverside

Will Gurganus, Riverside
Brandon Marsh, Northside
Treshon Blount, Southside

Blake Jones, Southside

Caleb Sherman
Josh Miller
Brandon Ussery
Gray Burbage

Mister Davis
Brandon Gibson

Cameron Price
Luke Mathews
Thomas Knott

Foster Peaks
Austin Lee

Julien Brown
Hayden Bogart
Trey Elks

Austin Mitchell
Mike Hollis
Will Masten
David McIver