Plenty of other good baseball players have come through Northwest Cabarrus High, but the Seager name will have its own legacy.
Justin and Corey Seager, the Trojans' double-play combination this year, are brothers to Kyle Seager, the former Northwest star and now a professional in the minor leagues.
Justin, a senior, and Corey, a sophomore, inevitably draw comparison to their older sibling. They welcome the compliments and are proud of Kyle's successes.
The Seagers said they started playing organized baseball when they were 3 years old. That turned into AAU ball when they were 7 and then showcase teams in their teens.
Justin played a year of junior varsity before becoming a varsity starter as a sophomore. He broke a lower-back vertebra while weightlifting, which kept him out most of his junior season. He just started swinging a bat again in December.
Corey was pulled up to the varsity as a freshman after the second day of tryouts. Slated to play second base, he filled in at shortstop when Justin was injured and earned all-North Piedmont 3A Conference honors.
The Seattle Mariners selected Kyle in the third round of Major League Baseball's June draft after his junior year at UNCChapel Hill. His brothers said he'll likely start the season at the high Class A level in High Desert, Calif.
Coach Joe Hubbard plans to start Justin at shortstop and Corey at second base this year.
"Obviously they have some genes that are working for them," Hubbard said, " ... and they've worked tremendously hard.... Kyle ... would get out of basketball practice and go and hit (baseballs). The other two boys are the same way. They work extremely hard trying to get better."
Northwest was one of several teams in the South Piedmont 3A Conference that hovered around a .500 record last year (11-13). Many coaches are expecting it to be a very competitive league this year.
Complementing the Seagers will be seniors Taylor West (P/OF), Jon Wallace (C/IF) and Kevin Hamilton (P) and juniors Will Miller (OF/IF), Rob Bain (P) and Michael Hagwood (OF/IF).
Rest of the South Piedmont
Mount Pleasant (25-8 last year) is one of the favorites despite moving up from 2A. The Tigers reached the state final four in 2009.
They return all-state third baseman Matt Barrier and fellow all-conference players Ethan Ledbetter (senior SS), Corey Huneycutt (senior P/OF) and Brandon Burris (junior 2B). Coach Bryan Tyson said the team should be sound offensively and defensively.
Central Cabarrus (14-9) and Jay M. Robinson (7-12) are dropping to 3A from the ME-CA 7 4A Conference, where the Vikings finished in a second-place tie last year. Central will be led by Ryan Watlington (senior 2B, .377 batting average), Jamey Lee (senior P/SS/1B, 2-3 pitching record), Ryan Yoder (junior C/P/3B, .323) and Brandon Porter (junior IF/OF).
Robinson returns two-time all-conference senior Thomas Emery (IF/OF), who hit .484, and junior infielder Shawn Weber, a two-year starter.
Concord (10-12-1) has a solid core in senior all-conference (SS/P) Eric Brenk (.500 BA, 16-16 SB, 5-2, 2.16 ERA), junior leadoff man Garrett Todd (.402), and senior starting pitcher Ryan Goodman (3-2, 44 strikeouts in 50 innings).
First-year coach Branden Knapp said Hickory Ridge (11-13) has a strong pitching duo in senior Colton Love (4-2, 49 strikeouts) and sophomore Blake Sides (2-0, 3.23 ERA, .438 BA). All-conference shortstop Zach Andrews (.468 BA, 24 RBI) and junior outfielder Travis Baucom (.378) are offensive leaders.
Kannapolis Brown's (7-16) core group has a ton of experience. All-conference middle infielder Wesley Honeycutt (.328, 14 stolen bases) and (P/SS) John Tuttle are both four-year varsity players. Junior Dylan May (CF/P) is in his third year of varsity play.
Middle infielder Robert Erdie will be just one of two juniors on Cox Mill's inaugural team. Seven sophomores will likely be in the starting lineup, including catcher Travis Watkins, who started at Northwest last year, and infielder/pitcher Martin Galusha.
North Piedmont 3A
In the North Piedmont 3A Conference, South Rowan (7-16) and Jesse Carson (15-10) hope to contend for state playoff berths. Senior all-conference/all-county shortstop Maverick Miles (.477 BA, 19 RBI) and senior outfielder Blake Houston (.400 in American Legion) lead the Raiders.
Led by senior catcher Tyler Freeze (.381 BA, 4 HR, 21 RBI), Carson will have some offensive punch. His co-MVP, four-year starter Julio Zubillaga (2B, .405, 25 runs), shares the middle infield with junior Gunnar Hogan (SS, .392, 9 doubles, 20 RBI). Senior Jesse Park (2-1, 3.20 ERA) will be the Cougars' top pitcher.
First Assembly (9-8) returns junior all-Metrolina Athletic Conference pitcher Stephen Gilmore (60 strikeouts in 45.2 IP, .400 BA) and senior all-conference shortstop Brandon Murr (.442).
Cannon School's (8-16) attempt to climb in the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association will be led by a group of sophomores, including Justin Redfern (SS, .408 BA, 24 runs), though he'll miss the season's first four weeks with a broken foot. Connor Lippincott (C/P, .302, 15 runs) and Devland Zakar (P/IF, 3.85 ERA) will be Cannon's top battery.