Nine local players made the Northwest All-Conference Team for baseball.
The Northwest Conference released the list after South Stokes beat West Stokes 11-9 in the tournament final Monday night.
West Stokes took both top honors with Kirk Goodson as coach of the year and Blaine Durham as player of the year.
Coach Barry Hall said Durham was a tough out at the plate and good fielder. Hall added that Durham’s father played for him in the 1980s, so the coach is familiar with the family.
East Surry and Surry Central each got three players on the 20-man team. North Surry had two and Mount Airy one.
For East Surry it was Scott Meredith, Jordan Miller and Drew Wilson. The Eagles got Hunter Smith, Austin Stevens and Forest Kimbrell.
The Greyhounds had Austin Chandler and Alex Ratcliff, while the Bears got catcher Sam Harris.
East’s Wilson was one of the top votegetters and was in the running for player of the year, according to some of the coaches.
Wilson pitched very well against Mount Airy, one of the best performances against the Bears all season, said Bear Coach Jon Cawley.
Drew did a great job on the mound at the start of the year when Jordan Miller wasn’t able to go yet after elbow surgery, said Hall. He also was one of the best hitters in the league in the heart of the Cards’ order.
While Miller was rounding back in shape from Tommy John surgery, the slugger was able to bat and flourished.
“Offensively, he carried us early in the year,” said Hall. He hit it well while the young kids were developing. Also, he put in a lot of time rehabilitating his elbow and returned to the mound in midseason.
The sophomore Meredith played third base and reliever, performing well on the mound. He also was a threat to steal on the basepaths.
The Golden Eagles got a starting battery on the first team. Pitcher Smith and catcher Stevens made for a strong combination.
Smith led the team with a 2.02 ERA, and opposing hitters batted just .197 against him. He struck out 93 men in 59 innings.
Stevens played well behind the plate and in the batter’s box. He hit .319 while leading the team in runs scored. He also threw 14 innings with the second-best ERA and opponent batting average behind Smith.
Kimbrell played good defense in the infield for the Eagles. He had 82 total chances and just five errors this season, a .939 fielding percentage.
For the Hounds, Ratcliff manned centerfield and the leadoff spot. Chandler played infield and pitcher for North, which boasted eight seniors in the dugout.
I don’t think people realized just how good Austin Chandler was this season, said North Coach Travis Gammons. He led the team in almost every batting category including average and on-base percentage, he noted. During conference play, he batted nearly .500.
Early in the season when a couple of people were hurt, Austin moved around in the field, filling in wherever the team needed him, Gammons added.
Ratcliff mised a couple of games due to injury early on. His return lent balance to the defense and solidified what we wanted to do with the lineup, said Gammons.
In centerfield, Alex can track down most any ball. And, the quarterback of the football team has a rocket for an arm to get the ball back to the infield.
Mount Airy’s Harris was an easy choice for first team. For most of the season, he flirted with a .500 batting average, noted Cawley.
SCC assistant coach Wayne Edmonds bragged on Harris’ pop-up time behind the plate – how quickly he could rise up from his crouch to throw out runners trying to steal.
West Stokes took first in the regular season with a conference mark of 13-1. The Wildcats had the most players on the list with five on the first team and two honorable mentions.
Durham was joined by Dustin Chun, Tyler Pollard, Jacob Washer and Amos Wilmoth. Brandon Helvey and Tanner Lomax were honorable mentions.
Helvey played really well against the Bears, and Pollard was unhittable on the mound in Mount Airy, Cawley said.
North’s Gammons said he was impressed with the Wildcats’ Chun, who played centerfield and hit leadoff.
The tournament champion Sauras got Brandon Ashburn, Josh Bray and Jameson Nagle on the first team. North Stokes had only T.J. Sonafrank honored.
For Bishop McGuinness, it was Chris Kane and Brandon Gray.
Kane was the best hitter in the conference, several coaches agreed. One said he gave Kane his vote for player of the year because he was more valuable to the Villains than Durham was to the Wildcats.
Each school had two players on the second team, except Bishop, which had just Chris Angiolino listed.
For East Surry it was catcher Cameron Sheets and outfielder Trevor Simmons. Mount Airy had pitcher/slugger Choppy Cawley and centerfielder Austin Taylor.
North Surry catcher Ryan Stone and pitcher Caleb Whitaker were honored as were Central’s pitcher Ethan Wilmoth and DH/third baseman Preston Cave.
North Stokes saw John Bray and Covey Fulp listed, as South Stokes had Mitchell Edwards and Ryan Smith.