Matthew and Reid Mayers, Charlotte Christian Baseball: Charlotte Christian baseball coach Greg Simmons clearly defined his sophomore catcher Matthew Mayers’ role coming into this season.
Simmons wanted Mayers to serve as the Knights’ starting junior varsity catcher, but come to all the varsity games as the bullpen catcher and backup to all-state, Clemson University signee Drew Donathan.
Even Mayers himself admits he didn’t expect to play much on the Charlotte Christian varsity team this season.
But everything changed when Donathan broke his nose against Metrolina Christian in the season opener. Donathan also broke his right hand, which is his throwing hand, two games later against Cardinal Gibbons.
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All of the sudden, Mayers was Charlotte Christian’s starting catcher.
“At first, I was really nervous, because I knew we had a great team and I didn’t want to mess anything up,” Mayers said. “But after a few games, it started to just feel like normal baseball again and I settled down.”
Mayers says his older brother — junior, left fielder Reid Mayers — was also a major help in those first few, nervous moments.
Reid Mayers knew the feeling as he also earned a starting spot on the Charlotte Christian varsity team as a sophomore last year.
“I went through the same nervous feelings last year, so I just tried to reassure Matthew and tell him no one expected him to be Drew Donathan, we just wanted him to come out and play the game the best that he can,” said Reid Mayers, who is hitting .330 as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup.
It didn’t take long for Matthew Mayers to settle into his role as the catcher and the Knights kept rolling.
Charlotte Christian has now won 17 of their last 18 games, and are a perfect 12-0 with Mayers as the starting catcher.
“I felt like he (Matthew Mayers) improved this offseason, but we knew he wasn’t going to start over an ACC catcher (Donathan),” said Coach Simmons, who has guided the Knights to 13 state championships in 27 years as the head coach. “But, after game one, he’s our No. 1 guy. He really came in and played great baseball for us. Drew (Donathan) did a great job mentoring him as the catcher, and Reid (Mayers) really helped settle him in. But Matthew really stepped up when we needed him.”
While Donathan is back in the lineup, Mayers proved to coach Simmons that he can be an option off the bench or if they want move players around or give guys rest.
Simmons says Matthew Mayers’ play has been a microcosm of players across this team stepping up when needed to fill a role.
It’s those kind of efforts that have the Knights (19-2 overall, 6-0 in CISAA conference play) setting their sights on another state championship run.
“We always tell our players if we are going to play for championships, somebody is going to have to step up and do something extra in each game,” Simmons said. “We’ve had a lot of players across the lineup doing that ‘something extra’ to help us win. …
“We need to keep doing those kinds of things to keep winning the big games.”
While the Mayers’ brothers have been getting it done on the field, they also excel in the classroom, where Matthew scored a 32 on the ACT last fall, and has a 4.1 grade-point average (GPA). Meanwhile, Reid scored a 1370 on the second part of the SAT and has a 4.3 GPA.
While both Mayers are focused on enjoying their time at Charlotte Christian, they also hope to play college baseball, while getting a great education.
“If you’re trying to play college baseball, like we are, getting good grades just gives coaches one more reason to look at you,” Matthew Mayers said. “You want to do everything you can to stand out.”
Kevin Finzer, Ardrey Kell Baseball: The Ardrey Kell senior had a game he will never forget last week in the Knights’ 4-0 win over Butler, April 11, in the Top 8 tournament.
Finzer tossed a no-hitter on the mound in the victory with seven strikeout, while also hitting a two run homer in the same game.
John Hosmer, Charlotte Country Day Baseball: The Charlotte Country Day junior had another big week, going 7-for-10 at the plate with two doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI in three wins over Parkwood, Mallard Creek and Hopewell at the Jack Sink Invitational.
Hosmer also got the save in a 5-3 win over Mallard Creek on April 11 and three out three runners from his catcher position in the tournament.
Hosmer has been a major player for the 19-3 Bucs, hitting .435 with two home runs, eight doubles, 20 RBI and 21 runs scored, playing the catcher position primarily.
He also has four saves on the mound as the Country Day closer.
Hunter Baker, Hough Baseball: The Hough senior outfielder had a big week as Hough beat Butler and Providence in the Top 8 Baseball tournament, before falling to Marvin Ridge in the championship game.
Baker, a N.C. State signee, went 5-for-8 at the plate with a double, a triple, a home run, five RBI and four stolen bases in three games.
Baker is hitting .405 with six doubles, two triples, a home run, 15 RBI and 11 stolen bases for Hough (12-6) this season.
Julia Knapp/Meaghan Quinn/Erin Shaver, South Iredell Girls’ Soccer: The South Iredell trio all helped the Vikings stay unbeaten (14-0) with wins over Lake Norman, Mooresville and North Lincoln.
Shaver, a freshman, got things started scoring the lone goal in South Iredell’s 1-0 victory over Lake Norman on April 10.
The next night, Knapp came up big with a game-tying, direct kick that she hit “upper 90,” to help but the Mooresville game into overtime. Knapp also had a goal in the 5-0 victory over North Lincoln on April 13.
Quinn had a goal and an assist in the 3-2 overtime win at Mooresville on April. 11. Quinn leads South Iredell with 19 goals this season and 88 scores in her Viking career.
Alina McCue, Covenant Day Girls’ Soccer: The Covenant Day senior had another big week scoring five goals to lead the Lions past CISAA conference rivals, Charlotte Christian and Charlotte Country Day.
McCue had her fourth hat trick of the season with three goals in the 4-0 win at Charlotte Country Day on April 12, helping Covenant Day (7-4, 4-2) stay in the thick of the CISAA conference race.
McCue, a Mercer University signee, had 17 goals and nine assists this season, and 128 goals and 61 assists in her Covenant Day soccer career to date.
Phyllis and Helena Ketter, West Mecklenburg Girls’ Soccer: The West Mecklenburg sisters have played a big role the Hawks’ defensive success this season.
Phyllis, a freshman goalkeeper, has 212 saves this season, and averages 15 saves per game. She also had 4.37 GPA and is No. 1 in her class.
Helena, a junior defender, leads the West Meck (3-11) defense and is No. 2 in her class with a 4.6 GPA.
Cannon School Golf Team: The Cannon School golf team shot a tournament record, 2-under par, 286 as a team to win the 11th Annual High School Challenge at Treyburn Country Club on April 10.
The unbeaten Cougars were led by co-medalists in juniors, Michael Sanders and Michael Childress, who both shot 2-under par, 70s.
Senior Tim Bunten and junior Lansdon Robbins, both shot 1-over par 73s.
Cannon actually field a second team in same tournament that finished 7th-place, led by junior, Braxton Tracy’s 73.
The victory at Treyburn was the Cannon boys’ golf teams’ fourth tournament title this season as they also won the Carmel High School Challenge at Carmel Country Club the North Carolina High School Challenge at Irish Creek Country Club, and the Wildewood High School Invitational in Columbia, S.C.
Connor Armistead, Charlotte Christian Golf: The Charlotte Christian senior had a big week on the golf course, helping his Knights’ team to a 10th place finish at the Palmetto High School Challenge at True Blue and Caledonia Golf Clubs in Pawleys’ Island, S.C., on April 13-15.
Armistead first shot a 4-under par, 68, to help Charlotte Christian, qualify for the championship flight of the event.
Armistead followed that with a 68 and 71 the next two days to finish with a two-day, 139 (3-under par) to finish 4th place out of the 151 golfers from North Carolina, South Carolina and as far away as Texas.
Sam Johnson, Statesville Track: The Statesville junior was named the Iredell County male track athlete of the year after his performance at the Iredell County championships April 11.
Johnson won both the long jump (22-03.5) and the triple jump (45-06) at the event, and helped his 4 X 100-meter relay to a second-place finish.
Johnson, a college track recruit, is unbeaten in both the long and triple jumps this season.
Johnson is the defending 3A state, outdoor champion in the long jump.
Kirsten Ingram, Mooresville Track: The Mooresville senior won field athlete of the meet at the Iredell County championships on April 11, winning both the discus and shot put.
Ingram, a Meredith College signee, threw a 32-06.5 in the shot put and a 93-07 in the discus to take county titles in both events.
Sarah Billiard and William Wallace Covenant Day Track: The Covenant Day senior duo both turned record-breaking performances at the Cannon School meet on April 12.
Billiard, a University of Virginia volleyball signee, jumped a personal and school record 5-4 to win the high jump in only the second track meet of her life.
Wallace, a four-time state qualifier, broke the school record in the 800-meter run (2:04.01) at the Bojangles’ Track and Field Classic (formerly Taco Bell Classic) on April 8.
Wallace was also a part of the 4 X 400-meter relay team with teammates Gabriel Moore, Jaren Bryant and Davis Harrelson that won their event at the Cannon School meet April 12.
Kaitlin Coleman, Charlotte Catholic Girls’ Lacrosse: The Charlotte Catholic sophomore midfielder scored her 100th career goal in the Cougars’ 15-1 win over Providence Day on April 10.
Coleman had two scores against Providence Day to reach the milestone in only her second varsity season to help Catholic improve to 12-3 this season. Coleman has 37 goals so far this season, after pouring 63 scores as a freshman.
RosaLee Schiemer, Lake Norman Girls’ Lacrosse: The Lake Norman junior midfielder/attacker also had a big week, scoring five goals, four assists and 13 draw controls as the Wildcats rolled past St. Stephens and Hickory by a combined score of 44-6.
Schiemer’s best game of the week came in a 22-4 win over Hickory, where she had three goals and 10 draw controls.
Schiemer, a Kennesaw State University (Ga.) commit, has 38 goals, 29 assists, 74 groundballs and 105 draw controls this season for Lake Norman (13-1).
Anna Knox, South Iredell Softball: The South Iredell senior catcher led the Vikings to a 9-8 victory over North Lincoln on April 13 with a monster game.
Knox, a UNC Wilmington signee, went 3-for-4 at the plate with 6 RBI, including the game-winning grand slam, home run in the 7th inning.
Knox also scored two runs, including a “hook slide,” avoiding the opposing catcher in the sixth inning.
Knox is hitting .479 with four home runs and 28 RBI for the Vikings (5-12) this season.
Alyssa Farrar, Charlotte Country Day Softball: The Charlotte Country Day junior led the Bucs (1-9) to their first win of the season in a 14-2 victory at Charlotte Latin on April 12.
Farrar went 1-for-4 at the plate, scoring two runs, while also earning the win on the mound.
Farrar is hitting .407 this season.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELP US FIND THE ATHLETES
This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through April 16. In most cases, the athletes featured will come from sports that don’t get a lot of recognition. However, the goal is to recognize excellence. If you want to suggest someone to be included in This Season’s Finest column, send email to Jay Edwards at email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.
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