Baseball is a game of numbers, and performance can easily be quantified by statistics. The stats don’t lie, making it simple to compare players and determine which is more productive.
Ahh, if only it were so simple when picking the top players in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
The issue, of course, is that the level of competition varies greatly between the smaller private schools and the largest public schools, and in a sport like baseball — where pitching is everything — the quality of opponents can have an even bigger impact than in other sports. Further complicating matters is the fact that many of the best high school baseball players contribute in multiple ways and are their teams’ best pitchers and hitters. That kind of versatility was rewarded during this exercise.
As always, we gave it our best shot, soliciting nominations from area coaches, comparing the stats (with a dash of salt added where necessary to balance out the schedule strength), and filled out our lineup card. The result was the inaugural All-Lowco Baseball Team, a collection of 31 players — 15 on the first team, and 16 honorable mention — who represent the best ballplayers the area has to offer.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Keith Stewart, May River
The Sharks were overlooked entering their second year of existence, but they made a big splash early and spent the entire season proving it was no fluke. Stewart’s squad won the region title and made a strong run to the district title game to finish with a 20-6 record.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Josh Patterson, 3B/P, May River
May River’s remarkable season certainly was a team effort, but no one contributed more than Patterson. The junior was outstanding on the mound, going 7-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings and tossing the first no-hitter in program history — against rival Bluffton, no less. He also was a standout at the plate, hitting .442 with nine extra-base hits, 25 runs, and 23 RBIs, earning spots on the S.C. Baseball Coaches Association and Diamond Prospects Class 3A All-State teams.
ALL-LOWCO FIRST TEAM
C: Tater Goodson, MRHS
Batted .369 with 18 runs and 13 RBIs and was a star behind the dish, gunning down 50 percent of would-be base-stealers
INF: Josh Patterson, MRHS
All-State selection hit .442 with 25 runs and 23 RBIs and was the Sharks’ ace with a 7-1 record and 1.98 ERA
INF: Wade Olivarri, BHS
Senior hit .398 with 23 runs and 22 RBIs
INF: Michael Graupner, HHCA
Senior shortstop hit .427 with 22 RBIs and 36 runs and hit safely in 22 of 24 games
INF: Jeff Hays, HHIHS
Hit .352 with 20 runs and 10 stolen bases and was 4-3 with a 2.33 ERA on the hill
OF: Cody Wan, HHIHS
Hit .455 with nine extra-base hits, 19 RBIs, and 23 runs
OF: Jeffrey Hodge, MRHS
Sharks’ speedy center fielder hit .423 with 27 runs and 22 RBIs and swiped eight bags
OF: Jordan Kennedy, BLHS
Hit .373 with 23 runs, 11 RBIs, and eight stolen bases
UTL: Cooper George, MRHS
Hit .449 with 17 runs and 18 RBIs and contributed on the mound for region champs
P: Ethan Graham, BHS
Eagles’ ace was 8-1 with a 0.61 ERA
P: John Blackshire, HHCA
Senior ace went 6-2 with a 1.49 ERA and 82 strikeouts
P: Ray Johnson, JPII
Allowed only two earned runs in 46 2/3 innings with 55 strikeouts
At-Large: Griffin Yeager, BLHS
USCB signee hit .486 with three homers and 31 RBIs and was a stalwart behind the plate
At-Large: Sean Sutay, BLHS
Batted .359 with 29 runs and went 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA on the mound
At-Large: Matt Mebane, HHIHS
Freshman led Seahawks at plate, hitting .529 with three homers, 24 RBIs, and an .814 slugging percentage
Zach Bond, THA
John Burke, HHCA
Jaren Cantorn, WBECHS
Dargan Cherry, HHCA
Cody Eldridge, BLHS
Hunter Eldridge, BLHS
Armani Gibbs, BCHS
Kamryn Gleason, MRHS
Colin Gross, HHIHS
Tyler Hofmann, BCHS
Gage Hurlbut, HHP
Hayden Jennings, JPII
Irvin Mulligan, WBECHS
Jeffrey Smyth, BHS
Bryce Tillotson, THA
Cooper Woods, BHS
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