High School Sports

Jay’s Featured Stars: after slow start, Owen Tappy starring for Providence Day baseball

Providence Day School’s Varsity boys baseball defeats Metrolina Christian Academy 10 to 0 at Murdock Field, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo/Mike McCarn)
Providence Day School’s Varsity boys baseball defeats Metrolina Christian Academy 10 to 0 at Murdock Field, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Photo/Mike McCarn) Mike McCarn

Owen Tappy didn’t play a major role on the Providence Day baseball team in his first two high school seasons.

Tappy played on the Chargers’ junior varsity team as a freshman, before becoming a role player on the Providence Day varsity team as a sophomore, playing in the outfield (hitting .343) with spot duty on the mound (pitching 6.2 innings).

But in the past two years, Tappy has exploded into an all-state performer both on the mound and at the plate for the Chargers.

As a junior, Tappy went 7-1 as a pitcher with 62 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work while boasting a 1.63 earned-run average (ERA). With Tappy among its stars, Providence Day (18-7) that advanced to the NCISAA state semifinals before losing to rival Charlotte Christian.

This year, the Chargers’ senior has been even better. He has a 4-1 record with 41 strikeouts in 27.1 innings, while boasting a 0.76 ERA.

Tappy hasn’t allowed a run in last two starts, surrendering only four hits, striking out 19 batters without a walk in that span, which included back-to-back complete-game shutouts of CISAA rivals Covenant Day (Apr. 3) and Charlotte Country Day (Apr. 10).

Tappy tossed a one-hitter in the 1-0 victory over Covenant Day with 11 strikeouts, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning before giving up an infield single.

One week later, Tappy had a three-hitter against Charlotte Country with eight strikeouts in the 1-0 win.

He also tossed one-hitters in wins over Metrolina Christian and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes earlier this season.

“My confidence in my game is definitely higher this season, I don’t really feel like there’s any team that can beat us when I take the mound,” Tappy said. “One of the major reasons for my success is that I’ve really focused on not beating myself. By that, I mean just trying to throw as many strikes as possible, and either getting the guy out, or relying on my defense to make plays. We have a great defense. I’ve worked really hard on spotting up all my pitches and it’s paid off.”

His coach agrees.

“Owen (Tappy) has worked really hard to get to where he’s at right now, and how good he’s pitched last year, this year and in the last two games even,” said Providence Day baseball coach,Jim Cerbie, who is in his 31st year as Providence Day’s baseball coach and coached Owen’s dad, Skip Tappy, at Providence Day. “He’s basically had two bad innings in the last two years against Charlotte Christian. Other than that, he’s been great for us.”

Tappy and his teammate and best friend, John Miralia, provide a big-time one-two punch on the mound for Providence Day.

Tappy and Miralia, who have been friends since they were eight years old, played on many of the same baseball teams and live in the same southeast Charlotte neighborhood. But the two good friends have completely different styles on the mound.

With Tappy, a 6-foot-1-185-pound righty, it is all about control and location, meanwhile Miralia (Duke University commit), at 6-foot-6, 235-pound lefty, is all about power with a fastball in the 90s.

“John (Miralia) has always joked around in the past about being Providence Day’s best pitchers together and dominating the conference,” Tappy said, with a big laugh. “It’s been fun to actually become the top two guys on the mound. We really try to help each other and we’re competitive with each other and push each other all of the time.”

Tappy is also quick to credit his catcher, junior Colin Ravin, noting that his backstop is big part of his and the entire Chargers’ pitching staff’s success.

While Tappy has made a name for himself at Providence Day on the mound, he is also a great hitter, currently is batting .382 with a home run, four doubles and 15 RBI this season.

Providence Day (11-5, 4-2 in the CISAA) will rely on its pitching staff to continue to hold opponents down. Coach Cerbie believes if the Chargers want to contend for a state championship they will have to be able score runs.

Providence Day has advanced to the state semifinals each of the past three seasons.

“We’ve talked a lot about scoring more runs, making more quality pitches and making more quality defensive plays in the big games, and we’ve been focused on working on that all off-season,” Cerbie said. “I believe we can get back to that game (state semifinals), but then we are going to have to make the big plays (offensively and defensively) to get where we want to go (championship game).”

Tappy agrees.

“There’s no question we’ve come up one game short of our goal the last three years,” Tappy said. “Our team’s goal (2019) has been to win a championship since day one. Our team chemistry is as good as anyone’s in the state. We believe we can win the whole thing, but we’re going to have play great baseball.”

Regardless of how Tappy’s final high school season ends, he has already accomplished one of his dreams, as he will continue his academic and athletic career in high at Hampden-Sydney College (VA).

“I’m really excited about being able to play baseball at the next level for another four years,” Tappy said. “I believe Hampden-Sydney is a great fit for me and I’m ready for the challenge (college baseball).”

Nolan DeVos, Hickory Ridge Baseball: The Hickory Ridge senior pitcher went five innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out 13 batters in an 11-1 win at East Mecklenburg, Apr. 10.

DeVos was also 2-for-3 with a double at the plate in the East Meck victory.

DeVos, a Davidson College commit, is 5-1 on the mound with 76 strikeouts in 33 innings of work, while boasting a 2.12 ERA for Hickory Ridge (12-4, 10-2 in the Southwestern 4A (SW4A) conference). DeVos is also hitting .265 with four doubles at the plate.

Zach Brighton, Covenant Day Baseball: The Covenant Day senior hit .750 at the plate with five RBI in a two-game sweep of CISAA rival, Charlotte Latin last week.

Brighton had his game of the week going 3-for-3 at the plate with two home runs and five RBI in a 9-7 win over Charlotte Latin, Apr. 11.

Brighton is hitting .375 with three home runs and 11 RBI for Covenant Day (11-7, 4-2 in the CISAA) this season.

Mark Dillon, Myers Park Tennis: The Myers Park senior won his third straight, Southwestern 4A singles’ title beating teammate Sam Dean, 6-3, 6-2 in the league tournament finals at East Mecklenburg April 10.

Dillon, who is 14-2 singles’ play this season, lost his only two matches against his opponents from Montverde Academy (FL) and Montgomery Bell (TN) at the Deco Turf High School Championships in Chattanooga, TN. He advance to the 4A West Regional tournament at Ardrey Kell May 3-4.

Dillon also recently was awarded the prestigious Morehead Cain Scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina. Dillon hopes to walk-on the tennis team at North Carolina, according to Myers Park coach Ed Flynn.

The Myers Park doubles’ duo of Adam Solis and Justin Williams won the SW4A doubles’ title over teammates, Charlie Reiney and Ben Richards.

Kyle Durham, Weddington Track: The Weddington senior ran a personal-best 1:53.69 to finish as runner-up in the 800-meter run at the Bojangles’ Track and Field Classic at Spring Valley High in Columbia (SC), Apr. 13.

Durham’s time was also the No. 1 time run in the state this outdoor season to date.

Durham, an N.C. State commit, also won the 800 and 1,600-meter runs at the Union County Championships at Cuthbertson earlier this month (Apr. 4).

Andrew Coward, South Rowan Golf: The South Rowan junior won the Rowan County Championship, shooting a 76 at Corbin Hills’ Golf Club, Apr. 11.

Coward overcame a slow start with a five-over par on the front nine, to card a two-under par on the back nine to earn the Rowan County title.

Coward also shot a one-under par, 34, to earn medalist honors in a win over A.L. Brown at Warrior Golf Club, Apr. 9.

Coward, a three-time, all Rowan County performer, averages a 37.0 per nine holes for South Rowan this season.

Matt and Nick Song, Central Academy Golf: The Central Academy brothers combined to go seven-under par to lead the Cougars’ to their third straight Rocky River conference tournament title April 11.

Matt, a senior, shot 32 (four-under par), while Nick, a junior, shot 33 (three-under par) to lead Central Academy to a team score of 145 to clinch the league title.

Anu Raghavan, Butler Golf: The Butler junior shot a career-best 37 at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation to help the Bulldogs defeat South Mecklenburg, Apr. 10.

Raghavan’s career-best score was eight shots better than his season average of 45.1 per nine holes.

Fellow Butler junior, Connor Helms, also careered a 39 in the same match to help the Bulldogs to a season-low, team score of 164, 12 shots better than their previous best and the best (team) score in four years overall.

Raghavan also gets in done in the classroom, where boasts a 5.2 grade-point average.

Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week

Providence 4 X 400-meter relay team: The Providence 4 X 400-relay team, including Amanda Watson, Ariana Rivera, Ella Foster Mainwaring and Nimeesha Coleman, ran a record-breaking time of 3:51.08 to win the Bojangles’ Track and Field Classic title at Spring Valley in Columbia (SC), Apr. 13.

The Panthers’ quartet’s time was No. 1 in the state this outdoor season and No. 28 in the nation, according to milesplit.com.

The 3:51.08 was also the fifth-best time run (4 X 400-meter girls’ relay) in the history of the Bojangles’ meet, which features one of the top fields in area each season.

Mallorie Haines, Davidson Day and Taylor Henderson, Myers Park: Haines, an All-Observer pick, and Henderson, a Southwestern 4A star, were invited to the USA Basketball 16U women’s basketball trials in Colorado Springs, Colo, May 23.

Haines, committed to Davidson, and Henderson will compete among a field of 115 players for 12 spots on the USA roster. The selected players will represent their country June 16-22 in the FIBA U16 Women’s America’s championship.

Eve English, Olympic Track: The Olympic senior jumped a career-best 39-7.5 to win the triple jump at the Bojangles’ Track and Field Classic, April 13.

English’s jump was the second-best jump in the state and the No. 32 in the nation this season.

English is being recruited by the Charlotte 49ers, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Jacksonville University and Temple, according to Olympic track coach, Stuart Belizaire.

Megan Dailey, Woodlawn School Track: The Woodlawn School senior won the 100- and 200-meter dash at the Trail Blazers’ seven-team home meet, April 9.

Dailey shattered the school-record in the 200-meter dash in the same meet, running a 26.8, breaking the record she had set two years ago.

Dailey is currently No. 1 in the state for NCISAA 1A/2A runner (girls) in the 100 and 200-meter dash as well as the long and triple jump, according to milesplit.com.

Izzi Wood, Hickory Soccer: The Hickory junior had five more goals and two assists to lead the Red Tornadoes to two wins last week.

Wood scored two goals and had an assist in a 5-0 win at Watauga to take 1st-place in the Northwestern 3A/4A (NW3A/4A) conference standings.

Two days later, Wood had three goals and an assist to lead Hickory to a 9-0 victory over Alexander Central.

Wood, an Appalachian State University commit, has 41 goals and 20 assists for Hickory (13-2-1, 9-1 in the NW3A/4A conference).

Brooke Bellavia, Charlotte Latin Soccer: The Charlotte Latin freshman forward scored four goals and had two assists combined in two critical, CISAA conference road wins last week.

Bellavia had two goals and two assists in a 6-1 victory at Charlotte Christian, Apr. 9.

Two days later, she poured in two more goals in a 4-0 win at Cannon School.

Bellavia, who has six goals in the last nine days for Latin, has scored seven goals and dished out three assists for the Hawks (9-3-1, 4-1 in the CISAA) this season.

Annaliese Shelley, Independence Soccer: The Independence senior scored three times, including the 100th goal of her Patriot career to lead her team past Garinger 7-0 April 12.

Shelley, who also plays for the Carolina Rapids’ ECNL club team, has 31 goals for Independence (8-5, 4-3 in the SW4A conference).

Phoebe Florian, Ardrey Kell Softball: The Ardrey Kell senior went 6-for-7 at the plate in two games against Providence.

Florian, an Auburn University signee, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in a 4-3 win over Providence, Apr. 10.

The next day, she was 3-for-3 with a home run in a tough, 7-6 loss at Providence.

Florian is hitting .532 with eight home runs for the Ardrey Kell (13-4, 8-2 in the SoMeck7 conference) this season.

Haley Price, West Caldwell Softball: The West Caldwell junior went 5-for-5 at the plate, hitting for the cycle – with a single, two doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI to lead the Warriors to a 16-6 win at North Wilkes, Apr. 10.

Price also had a RBI, sacrifice fly to help West Caldwell to a 6-4 victory at McDowell, Apr. 12.

Price is hitting .372 with two home runs, seven doubles, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored for West Caldwell (7-9, 5-7 in the NW3A/4A conference) this season.

** Information published today includes statistics through April 14. Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school players with outstanding performances. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at edwardswork23@gmail.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.