The All-Cabarrus News team had a flair for the dramatic this season.The South Piedmont Conference lived up to its reputation in its final year before realignment. The Mount Pleasant Tigers won the regular conference crown on the final day of the season; Jay M. Robinson swept then first-place Hickory Ridge to help the Tigers clinch the title.That carried over into the SPC tournament. After Hickory Ridge took a 5-3 lead into the final inning of title game, fifth-seeded Cox Mill scored four runs in their final at-bat to win the league tournament championship, 7-5.Five teams went to the 3A playoffs, where Mount Pleasant and Cox Mill were the only teams to advance past the first round.Concord First Assembly also had a year to remember. They won the Metrolina Athletic Conference title for the first time in 12 years before losing in the independent schools 2A state quarterfinals. Cabarrus News baseball player of the year: Tanner Bigham, Northwest Cabarrus – Tanner Bigham knew he had big shoes to fill coming into the season, as he moved into former All-American shortstop Corey Seager’s spot in the field and the batting order.Bigham lived up to the challenge and earned all-state honors after hitting .500 with four home runs, 12 doubles and 22 RBIs. He was named SPC Player of the Year.Bigham is already in summer school at the UNC Chapel Hill, where he will soon begin his collegiate career with the Tar Heels. Cabarrus News baseball pitcher of the year: Philip Perry, Jay M. Robinson – Philip Perry had to step up to become Jay M. Robinson’s ace after former Bulldog Brody Koerner, now at Clemson, graduated.Perry, a four-year varsity pitcher, showed he could handle the responsibility by earning SPC Pitcher of the Year honors. He went 7-4 on the mound with a 1.44 ERA and 104 strikeouts.Perry will play college baseball at East Carolina. Cabarrus News baseball coach of the year: Tommy Small, Mount Pleasant – Tommy Small wasn’t Mount Pleasant’s head baseball coach when the 2013 season started, but he kept the Tigers composed after Bryan Tyson stepped down to take the Cabarrus County athletic director job.Small, a former assistant, helped his team rebound from a slow start to finish with a 15-10 record (10-6 in SPC) and a SPC regular season title.Small and his squad now prepare for a move back to 2A, where the Tigers are certain to be a contender in the Rocky River 2A playing against Central Academy, Forest Hills, Monroe, Parkwood and West Stanly.All-Cabarrus News baseball teamPitchers Philip Perry, Jay M. Robinson, Sr. – SPC pitcher of the year tossed a no-hitter this season.• Matt Grochmal, Hickory Ridge, Sr. – All-conference pick led Ragin’ Bulls with 7-3 record, 2.25 ERA.• Blain Hooks, Mount Pleasant, Sr. – All-SPC performer was strong on mound, leading the Tigers in strikeouts.• Ryan Kirk, First Assembly, So. – All-MAC, all-state pick already throws in the upper-80s mph range.Catcher• Tillman Cook, Central Cabarrus, Jr. – All-SPC backstop also hit .378.Infielders• Jake Barbee, Hickory Ridge, Sr. – Liberty signee hit .372 to be named All-SPC.• Tanner Bigham, Northwest Cabarrus, Sr. – North Carolina signee, an all-state pick, also hit .500 for the season.• Parker Henderson, Hickory Ridge, Sr. – All-SPC slugger hit .347 with five home runs, 29 RBIs.• Austin Fox, Cox Mill, Jr. – All-SPC pick sparked Chargers offense, hitting .398 with 23 stolen bases.Outfielders• Nick Coble, Mount Pleasant, Sr. – Liberty signee, an All-SPC pick, hit .375 with seven home runs and was also one of Tigers’ top pitchers. Garrett Freeze, Central Cabarrus, Sr. – Vikings’ top pitcher (5-4) was also solid in the field, at the plate (.275) to be All-SPC.• Colby Jolly, Hickory Ridge, Sr.: All-SPC senior hit .343 for Bulls with 12 stolen bases.• Griffin Love, First Assembly, Jr. – All-state, all-conference pick led Eagles by hitting .452 with four home runs.Designated hitter• Andrew Burgesser, Central Cabarrus, Sr. – All-SPC selection hit .349 with three homers.Utility players• J.T. Ford, Hickory Ridge, Sr. – All-state pick was big at the plate (.306) and on mound for Bulls.• Parker Swaringen , Concord, Sr. – Also the Spiders’ top pitcher, he hit .338 for the season.
Tuesday, Jul. 02, 2013
2013 All-Cabarrus News baseball team
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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