High School Sports

After losing all-state pitcher Max Wotell, Marvin Ridge baseball aims for repeat 3A title

Marvin Ridge coach Mark Mennitt, right, talks with Jason Curtis prior to an at bat against Butler in the 2013 Spring Break Classic at East Mecklenburg High School.
Marvin Ridge coach Mark Mennitt, right, talks with Jason Curtis prior to an at bat against Butler in the 2013 Spring Break Classic at East Mecklenburg High School. JEFF SINER

In the past five years, Union County has established itself as a hotbed for N.C. high school baseball.

Union County teams have won three of the past our state championships in the N.C. 3A class, and Piedmont won a 2A title in 2013. This spring, Marvin Ridge, the reigning N.C. 3A champ, hopes to match what Weddington did in 2012 and 2013 – and that’s win back-to-back rings.

The Mavericks (5-2) were scheduled to play at Sun Valley Tuesday.

“I think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody in 3A,” coach Mark Mennitt said Tuesday morning. “So many things have to fall in place, but we’re 5-2 now and we’ve got a good team.”

Marvin Ridge is trying to back to the finals after graduating perhaps the best player in school history. Charlotte Observer player of the year Max Wotell. Wotell, who named state player of the year by several publications, was 14-0 last season with an 0.52 ERA. He struck out 145. Wotell was drafted in the third round by the Mets.

But Mennitt, a former coach at Independence High, is excited about returning his returning pitchers. Senior Jake Kuchmaner (6-0, 180, RHP) has committed to East Carolina. Junior Jason Cornatzer, who is a 6-5 rightie, throws hard.

“Our team lost four key contributors, including Wotell, from last year, but we have a lot of guys back. We just have five guys playing new positions. We’re feeling our way through. Our pitching is still very good, and hopefully we’re ready to take on the challenge of making another (state title) run.”

Basketball

▪ Some of the state’s top girls basketball players will participate in the third Select 60 showcase at Rocky River Saturday at 8:30 a.m.. Regional trainers Ashley Rivens (Trascend Sports Performance) and Chris Meadows (Momentum Sports Academy) will have skills sessions and the campers will play two games each. National scout Prentice Beverly, along with several regional scouting services, will also be on hand. Former Observer player of the year and Ms. Basketball Stephanie Watts will be a guest speaker. Watts, a freshman at North Carolina, was recently named ACC Rookie of the year.

The event is open to the public.

Area invitees:

A’Lea Gibert, South Meck; Addison Pennell, North Iredell; Ariana Nance, Rocky River; Bella Sheprow, Metrolina Christian; Carrie Barnett, Providence; Courtney Meadows, Davidson Day; Erin Addison, Weddington; Gabby Smith, Hickory Ridge; Isabella Limon, Sun Valley; Jasmine Sanders, Garinger; Jessyka Leak, Northside Christian; Jiera Shears, Hickory Ridge; Jordan McLaughlin, Berry; Josie Wiles, Davidson Day; Karli Mason, Sun Valley; Laila Barnes, West Charlotte; Mahaley Holit, Central Cabarrus; McKenna Haire, Myers Park; MiLeia Owens, Providence Day; Rinnah Green, Butler; Shamani Stafford, Northside Christian; Shareka and Shameka McNeil, Harding; Shema Stanbeck, A.L. Brown

▪ Providence Day forward Josh Howard has committed to Brown. Howard, a 6-foot-6 senior, was named to the N.C. Independent Schools all-state team and helped lead the Chargers to the 3A state title. He is the son of former Michigan “Fab 5” star Juwan Howard.

Football

Mallard Creek offensive lineman Grant Gibson has committed to N.C. State.

Girls Soccer

Providence’s soccer team (8-0-1) is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today national poll. Raleigh Leesville Road is No. 6. Providence’s Jenn Simons had three goals in Monday’s 9-0 win over Butler. The Panthers were scheduled to play Harding at home Tuesday.

Misc.

Novant Health will offer free sports screenings to Union County public schools students May 7 from 8 a.m. to noon at Novant Health at 1994 Wellness Blvd. in Monroe and 3614 Providence Road South in Waxhaw. The event is for middle school students currently enrolled in sixth grade or above and all high school students. Registration is April 1-May 1 at ppezoom.com

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