This was another tremendous season for Columbia County baseball. Four of our five public schools earned state tournament berths, with Lakeside, Evans and Greenbrier all winning in the opening round.
Of course, Greenbrier made the deepest run. The Pack advanced to the state championship series for the second consecutive season and finished as the Class AAAAA runner-up. We also had some incredible individual performances along the way.
When it came time to sit down and attempt to put together the all-county team, I agonized over several choices. This year’s squad may have been the most difficult to assemble in the 15 years that I have been writing this column. There were many deserving players, as you will see as I introduce you to the 2013 All-County Baseball Team.
Catcher: Matt Anderson (Soph., Evans)
Anderson, who has already been offered a scholarship to South Carolina, is amazing behind the plate. It is hard to believe this kid has two years remaining in high school. He threw out over 90 percent of would-be base stealers. A great example of his impact was versus Hardaway in the state playoffs. The Hawks had attempted 15 steals in their previous series, but tried to run only twice on Anderson. He also hit .321 at the plate with a homer and 14 RBI.
Infield: Adam Sasser (Soph., Greenbrier)
Sasser had a monster year for the Pack. He hit a team-best .406 and also led GHS in homers (5) and RBI (37). He came very close to winning the Columbia County Triple Crown. He had an on-base percentage of .487, slugged .723, and had an OPS of 1.210. He also smashed a county-best 15 doubles. Not bad for a 10th-grader. He was also solid on the mound, going 5-1 with an ERA of 3.17, serving as Greenbrier’s Game One starter throughout their playoff run.
Infield: Cameron Busby (Jr., Grovetown)
Busby was excellent defensively at shortstop for Grovetown, and his hitting numbers were stellar as well. He hit .425 this year with eight doubles, a homer and 18 RBI. He also stole 18 bases and was 2-3 on the mound with a 2.01 ERA.
Infield: Aaron Moore (Sr., Harlem)
Moore put together quite a season offensively. He led the county with a .437 batting average, tied for the lead in homers with five, and drove in 26 runs. He also scored 22 runs and had a slugging percentage of .713. He was the leader for a young Bulldogs team and was among the finalists for County Player of the Year.
Infield: Chandler Corley (Jr., Lakeside)
Corley burst on the scene with a tremendous summer showing in 2012. That great play carried over into 2013, as he hit .384 with eight doubles and 15 RBI for the Panthers. He helped lead Lakeside to the Region 2-AAAAA crown. He is a terrific college prospect for next season.
Outfield: Clint Hardy (Sr., Greenbrier)
Hardy was a leader for a Greenbrier team that earned its second straight trip to the state finals. The Western Kentucky signee hit .333 with four triples, four home runs and 10 stolen bases. He was second in the county in runs scored with 37 and was solid defensively as well. On the mound he chipped in with a 4-1 record and an ERA of 2.71.
He was a serious contender for County Player of the Year.
Outfield: Adam Grice (Sr., Greenbrier)
Grice played first base, right field and pitched for the ’Pack. His versatility was a great asset for coach Wilkins’ squad. He hit .337 with three homers and 27 RBI. He also boasted a .433 on-base percentage. On the mound he was 2-1 with a terrific ERA of 2.33, and had a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio..
Outfield: Jeremy Clements (Sr., Evans)
Clements hit .323 with one home run and 20 RBI. He also had eight doubles and scored 22 runs. Clements showed his performance in 2012 was no fluke. A year ago, he hit .382 and drove in 22 runs. He was named first team All-Region in 2012 and 2013.
Utility: Garrett Wilkinson (Jr., Evans)
Wilkinson has emerged as an outstanding pitching prospect, after making noise early in his career with his bat. He still hit .300 this season, with eight doubles, 16 RBI and 19 runs scored. As a pitcher he was outstanding. Do not let his 5-4 record fool you. He had the county’s top earned run average at 1.81. He has verbally committed to JUCO power Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla.
Pitcher: Kyle Anderson (Soph., Evans)
Kyle made big news this season when he verbally committed to South Carolina. The Gamecocks don’t hand out scholarships to sophomores unless they are special, and Anderson certainly fits that criteria. The talented lefty went 10-1 on the mound for Evans. He had an ERA of 2.95 and struck out 62 batters in 59.1 innings of work. He was also solid at the plate, hitting .375 in 48 plate appearances.
Pitcher: Austin Robinson (Sr., Greenbrier)
I still cannot figure out how Robinson did not earn first team All-Region honors. He led the county in innings pitched, working 65. He went 8-3 with an ERA of 2.91 and struck out 56 batters this season while facing extremely tough competition. Savannah State is getting an outstanding competitor in this right hander.
Pitcher: Hunter Hubbard (Sr., Lakeside)
His won/loss record is very misleading. Hubbard went 4-3 this year. However, he boasted an ERA of 1.95 and had 53 strikeouts in 57 innings of work. Down the stretch he may have been the best pitcher in the county, as he spearheaded Lakeside’s march to the region tournament title. Hubbard has signed with D-II power USC-Aiken.
Pitcher: Cole Pittman (Jr., Lakeside)
Pittman quietly put together a wonderful season on the mound. He had several quality starts in key games for Lakeside. For the season, he finished 7-2 with a 2.05 ERA. He also had 42 strikeouts in 44 innings of work. He will be counted on heavily next season.
Infield: Connor Hoover (Jr., Greenbrier)
My toughest omission from the first team. Great defensive shortstop. He also hit .343 and led the county with 43 runs scored. Was named second team All-Region.
Infield: Knox Marchman (Jr., Greenbrier)
Extremely tough to leave off first team. Hit .333 with 23 RBI and led GHS with 11 stolen bases. First Team All-Region.
Could be in contention for player of the year next season.
Infield: Tyler Williams (Sr., Lakeside)
First team All-Region. Hit .337 and struck out only four times all year for the Panthers.
Infield: Ryan Beasley (Sr., Grovetown)
Four-year starter for the Warriors. Hit .375 with 17 RBI this season. Solid defensively at 3B.
Outfield: McTier Mosley (Sr., Lakeside)
As good a defensive outfielder as you will find. Earned first team All-Region despite hitting only .211. Now that’s respect.
Outfield: Dalton Green (Jr., Harlem)
Hit .306 with 14 RBI and 14 runs scored.
Utility: Bryson Serigney (Jr., Harlem)
Was first team as a freshman and sophomore. Hit 326 with 18 RBI and 26 runs. Also 3-1 on the mound with 32 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Pitcher: Tyler Roberts (Sr., Evans)
Signed to play at Gordon College. Went 3-2, with a 3.21 ERA and had 36 K’s in just 32 innings.
Pitcher: Josh Roye (Sr., Evans)
Led the Knights with 6 saves. Had 23 strikeouts in only 16 innings of work.
Pitcher: Hunter McBride (Sr., Grovetown)
Four-year starter for the Warriors. Had a 4-hit shutout over Evans. Has signed with Brevard.
Augusta Prep: Michael Downing, Joseph Shaver
Evans: Raekwon Bennett, Kelvin McCladdie, Spencer Murray
Greenbrier: Chris Michals
Harlem: Collin Beasley, Trey Price, Chaise Dukes
Lakeside: Tanner Brassell, Lane Wallace, Hunter Banks, Stephen Hutto
Coach of the Year: Chris Wilkins (Greenbrier)
Odd circumstance with Wilkins being relieved of his duties, but in terms of his coaching job, he was certainly deserving. Lakeside’s Jay Matthews won Region Coach of the Year, but Greenbrier beat Lakeside three times in the regular season before the upset win for LHS in the region tournament. Greenbrier graduated three college-bound players from last season’s 31-win team, including County and Area Player of the Year Jordan Hunt. Few expected Greenbrier to be back in the hunt for a state title, but they nearly pulled it off.
Player of the Year: Taylor Glover (Greenbrier)
This was an extremely close race. Clint Hardy, Hunter Hubbard, Kyle Anderson, Adam Sasser, and Aaron Moore all deserved serious consideration. However, in the end, my gut said Glover was the choice. I know this is an award strictly for 2013, but it is hard to ignore what he has done over the course of his career. As a four-year starter behind the plate, he has led Greenbrier to 98 wins and two straight trips to the Championship Series. He also had an astonishing 128 RBIs for his career. This season, he hit .390 with two homers and 32 RBI. He also had an OPS of 1.025 and had 10 doubles and two triples. His outstanding play behind the plate and the leadership he provided the Pack makes him the 2013 Columbia County Player of the Year.
Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Anderson (Evans)
This was another close race. Hunter Hubbard was so good down the stretch for Lakeside, but it is hard to look past the numbers Anderson piled up in 2013. The southpaw finished 10-1 with more than a strikeout per inning (62 K’s in 59.1 IP).