The 2016 season is in the books for the Boys of Spring, and it’s time to honor the county’s best in baseball.
In a season of standout individual performances, Cole Jackson of Sandy Creek is the All-County Player of the Year. Jackson, a Georgia State signee, destroyed opposing pitching all year, hitting .442 with a .613 on-base percentage, 6 home runs, and 21 RBI, all while playing stellar defense behind the plate as a catcher.
Jake Arnold of Starr’s Mill is the All-County Pitcher of the Year. Arnold posted a 6-3 record, 61 strikeouts, and 2.07 ERA in 48 innings as the ace of the Panther pitching staff.
David Munoz of McIntosh is the All-County Coach of the Year. In Munoz’s second season at the helm, the Chiefs finished 19-9 to reach the state playoffs where they pushed 12-time state champion Columbus to the brink, falling in the decisive game of a best-of-three series. Along the way, they strung together an 11-game winning streak that included a sweep of Starr’s Mill.
The All-County First Team starts off with Joe Gruszka of Starr’s Mill at catcher. Gruszka, a UNC-Asheville signee, hit .330 with a .571 on-base percentage and just 7 strikeouts all season.
The infield is made up of Tyler Doanes of Whitewater, Matt Mullins of Starr’s Mill, and Drew Plant and Jack Hartman of McIntosh. Doanes hit .418 with 2 home runs, 15 RBI, and 20 walks. Mullins posted a .411 average with 1 home run, 30 RBI, and 9 doubles. Plant hit .390 with 1 home run and 17 RBI. Hartman raked for a .365 average with 1 home run, 19 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
The outfield consists of Kyle Evert of Starr’s Mill, Austin Adams of Whitewater, and Van Neeley of McIntosh. Evert posted a tremendous .401 average. Adams hit .329 with 1 home run and 9 RBI. Neeley posted a .322 average with 19 RBI and 19 stolen bases.
The offense is rounded out by utility player Richie Post of Starr’s Mill and Chase Walter of McIntosh. Post, a LaGrange College signee, hit .370 with 10 doubles. Walter mashed 4 home runs and 16 RBI with a .344 average.
The pitching staff is composed of Hudson MacNellis of McIntosh and Hunter White and Matthew Henderson of Whitewater. MacNellis racked up a stellar 5-0 record with 3 saves, 30 strikeouts, and a 0.25 ERA in 28 innings. White posted a 3.39 ERA with 64 strikeouts. Henderson notched a 3.70 ERA with 19 strikeouts.
The First Team is capped off with three players that made their mark on the mound and at the plate in Will Evans of Starr’s Mill, Daniel Blair of McIntosh, and Chazz Walker of Fayette County. Evans posted a .364 average with 1 home run and a 6-0 record and 1.33 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 42 innings. Blair hit .328 with 3 home runs, 17 RBI, and 10 stolen bases while posting a 4-3 record and 2.87 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 48 innings. Walker, a pitcher, catcher, and infielder, hit .267 with 8 RBI, and posted 4 wins and a 3.60 ERA in 64 innings.
The All-County Second Team boasts a wealth of talent.
The Second Team catcher is Garrett Stewart of McIntosh. Stewart, a senior, hit .262 with 1 home run and 17 RBI.
The infield consists of Jared Kent of Sandy Creek, Dane Bullock and Connor Nalley of Whitewater, and Tyler Courtney and Cole Evans of Starr’s Mill. Kent, a second baseman, hit .329 with 15 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Bullock posted a .288 average. Nalley hit .280. Courtney hit .383 with 2 home runs. Evans posted a .334 average with 1 home run.
The outfield is made up of Parker Mallett of Sandy Creek, Miles Berry of Fayette County, and JD Norred of Whitewater. Mallett hit .304 with 1 home run, 18 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. Berry posted a .288 average while roaming centerfield. Norred hit .281.
Miles Jones of Whitewater is the designated hitter. Jones finished with a .288 average.
The pitching staff is composed of Daniel Langston of Whitewater, Jared Kumro of Starr’s Mill, and Rodney Randers of Sandy Creek. Langston posted a 2.50 ERA. Kumro notched a 3-0 record with a 2.63 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 15 innings. Randers anchored the Patriot staff, his season highlight coming in the home finale when he racked up 15 strikeouts.
The Second Team is capped off by Vincent Bartolomei of Sandy Creek and Brian Freeman of Our Lady of Mercy. Bartolomei, a pitcher and first baseman, hit .316 with 12 RBI while baffling hitters for the Patriots. Freeman, a pitcher, catcher, and third baseman, hit .311 with 9 RBI and posted a 4-1 record with a 1.10 ERA and 25 strikeouts.
The county honorable mentions are a talented bunch. Fayette County’s honorees are Paul Jenkins, Jack Ridgeway, Zachary Scott, Hayden Clipp, and Ahmad Ali. McIntosh’s honoree is Jacob Cole. Whitewater’s honorees are Dane Bullock, Hunter Guess, Carter Anderson, Logan Worley, and Win Lindsey. Our Lady of Mercy’s honoree is Anthony Angelety.
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