Two Observer-area players who were selected in the top two rounds of the Major League Baseball draft share All-Observer Player of the Year honors.
Bandys pitcher Hunter Harvey and Watauga infielder Ryder Jones share the honor, as the Observer announces its spring sports all-star teams.
The All-Observer teams, in each sport, represent the top players, as selected by the newspapers high school sports staff, in the newspapers coverage area. The Observer covers more than 130 high schools in North and South Carolina.
To be considered for the teams, a player had to be nominated by his or her school.
Harvey, a senior pitcher, was selected No. 22 overall in the first-year player draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Its a spot that comes with a suggested signing bonus of nearly $2 million.
Harvey, the son of former Major League Baseball pitcher Bryan Harvey, had an 0.38 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 542/3 innings as a senior.
Jones, the N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year, was drafted in the second round by San Francisco, a spot that has slot value of nearly $900,000.
Jones hit .461 this season with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs.
Both players double as co-Observer All-Region players of the year.
The All-Observer Coach of the Year is South Mecklenburgs Jon Tuscan, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the middle of the season but fought through his chemotherapy, leading his team to a 4A state championship win.
It was South Mecklenburgs first baseball state title in 24 years.
• The All-Region Coach of the Year is Piedmonts Milt Flow, who led the Panthers to their first state title since 1984, when Flow was a Piedmont pitcher.
• The All-Mecklenburg Player of the Year is South Mecklenburg pitcher Earl Oliver, who was also named Southwestern 4A Player of the Year.
Oliver was MVP of the N.C. 4A state finals after winning Game 2 of the championship series when South Mecklenburg needed to win to force a deciding Game 3.
Oliver finished the season 10-3 with a 1.96 ERA and 63 strikeouts. He hit .369 with 26 RBIs.
Alexander Central won its eighth state softball championship this year and finished 33-1. After that spectacular season, Cougars coach Monte Sherrill and infielder Taylor Wike are the All-Observer coach and player of the year.
Sherrills team had one senior and won its first back-to-back championship since the team won three straight in 1994-96.
Alexander Central had 399 hits this season to break the single-season N.C. record of 376 set by North Davidson in 2010. The Cougars also had 72 doubles, which ranks No. 5 all-time and 27 home runs is sixth most by a N.C. team.
Wike, who has committed to North Carolina, was a big part of that offensive production. The two-time Northwestern 4A/3A player of the year hit .568 with 17 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs and 43 RBIs.
Wike and Alexander Central ended the season ranked No. 4 in USA Todays top 25 poll.
Charlotte Latins boys felt they had something to prove, despite entering the season as the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A defending state champion.
Coach Dick Sipperly and his Hawks team (16-4) won their second consecutive state championship earned the No. 1 ranking in the state for public or a private school boys team, according to laxpower.com.
Sipperly is the All-Observer boys lacrosse coach of the year and Mecklenburg coach of the year for his teams season, which included a 9-8 win over Providence Day in the state final, as junior Carson Song scored the game-winner with 36 seconds left.
• Lake Norman (20-4), the defending NCHSAA state champion, fell just short of another title, as Apex scored with one second left in the title game to take a 12-11 win.
Wildcats first-year coach James Brugger, a longtime assistant to previous coach Kevin Gowin, is the Observers regional coach of the year.
• Charlotte Catholic senior midfielder Connor Flynn is the All-Observer Player of the Year after notching 28 goals and 26 assists to lead the Cougars to the state semifinals before losing 11-9 to Lake Norman. Flynn will head to play for the University of Denver, an NCAA semifinalist. Flynn is also Mecklenburgs player of the year.
• Lake Norman defender Kyle Gradert is the Observers regional player of the year. Gradert, the MVP of the 2012 state championship, turned down multiple lacrosse offers to attend Ohio State, where he will study engineering. Jay Edwards
The Charlotte Country Day girls lacrosse team expects to compete for championships.
This year, the Bucs won their third NCISAA 3A state championship in the past four years, outlasting Durham Academy 11-10 in double overtime for the title to complete their 19-0 season.
Second-year Country Day coach Kristy Boyles got her first title as coach, earning co-All-Observer coach of the year.
Charlotte Catholics Dee Bier is also co-All-Observer coach of the year after leading the Cougars to their to their third NCHSAA state finals appearance in the past four years, falling 15-13 to East Chapel Hill in the championship game.
Bier and Boyles also share Mecklenburg coach of the year honors.
• Lake Normans Chris Schiemer is the Observers regional coach of the year after leading the Wildcats to an 18-0 mark before losing at Charlotte Catholic in the state semifinals.
• Marvin Ridge junior attacker Amy Collins is All-Observer and regional Player of the Year after recording 124 goals, the second most in a season in N.C. history behind East Chapel Hills Sydney Holman, who had 128 goals this season. Collins, who is committed to play at Bucknell, also had 40 assists and led the her Mavericks team to the state quarterfinals.
• Charlotte Catholic sophomore Natalie Wallon is Mecklenburgs player of the year after leading the Cougars to the state title game with 99 goals this season. Wallon had nine goals in the semifinal win over Lake Norman and seven goals in the finals in loss to East Chapel Hill. JE
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