4 Vik­ings named first-team All-Mid-Shore

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By DAVID INS­LEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Star Demo­crat Sports Writer David Ins­ley an­nounces his picks for the All-Mid-Shore base­ball team for the 2016 high school sea­son.

From the be­gin­ning, Jake Ze­bron saw how high the bar had been set for him.

Join­ing a pro­gram in 2015 which al­ready had a po­tent 1-2 pitch­ing punch in Sal­is­bury Univer­sity-bound Caleb John­son and Di­vi­sion-Ical­iber star Jaret Ben­nett, Ze­bron reached it none­the­less.

Go­ing 4-0 on the mound last year as a fresh­man, Ze­bron capped his de­but by throw­ing a no-hit­ter in the play­offs for Colonel Richard­son High’s base­ball team.

The Colonels went 22-1 last year, win­ning the Bay­side Con­fer­ence ti­tle and Class 1A East re­gional cham­pi­onship. Ze­bron, tapped to be the re­place­ment for John­son in 2016, was just what the doc­tor or­dered.

With a 6-1 record, 1.40 earned run av­er­age, and nearly a strike­out per in­ning pitched, the right-han­der came up big at bat for the Colonels this sea­son as well.

Hit­ting be­hind Ben­nett, who’ll be play­ing for Charleston (S.C.) South­ern Univer­sity next sea­son, Ze­bron ac­quit­ted him­self ad­mirably, bat­ting at a .443 clip, the high­est in the di­vi­sion. Scor­ing 23 runs while driv­ing in 24, the sopho­more had three dou­bles, two triples, and two home runs.

Sport­ing an on-base av­er­age of .533, a slug­ging per­cent­age of .655, and strik­ing out just five times in over 80 plate ap­pear­ances while play­ing in a di­vi­sion marked by power pitch­ing, Ze­bron’s OPS (on-base plus slug­ging) of 1.189, the high­est by al­most 240 points on a team that hasn’t lost a reg­u­lar-sea­son game since the year be­fore he en­tered high school, also led the North Bay­side.

Ze­bron’s ef­forts on the mound, as an out­fielder when not pitch­ing, and at bat, not only gave the Colonels a boost on the way to their third straight North Bay­side ti­tle, but also earned him the Star Demo­crat’s Mid-Shore Base­ball Player of the Year award.

“He’s just got a tremen­dous up­side,” said Colonel coach Dan Mangum. “To think that I had said no­body could fill Caleb’s shoes, and Zebby went out there and did that on the mound. He hit the ball well, too, and ... I think the big­gest thing we had this year on the pitch­ing staff was how few peo­ple we walked.

“If you pound the zone, and you don’t walk any­body, that’s go­ing to take pres­sure off your hit­ters, and take pres­sure off your de­fense,” Mangum added. “Ze­bron, and Jaret, and [fresh­man] Jami­son [Covey] all three did that all year.”

Ze­bron, who com­pleted three of the five games he started, yielded just eight walks, and 24 hits, in 40 in­nings of work, for an im­pres­sive 0.80 WHIP (walks plus hits per in­ning pitched); the Colonel staff as a whole gave up just 30 walks in 132 in­nings of work, while fan­ning 140 hit­ters en route to an 18-2 sea­son.

Half an hour to the north, the Queen Anne’s County High base­ball team was on its way back to the top as well.

Hav­ing reached the Class 2A East re­gional fi­nal last year, the Lions, who lost only a small por­tion of their start­ing lineup, reloaded and looked ready to take on the world.

“But we started 0-5, count­ing the Easter [tour­na­ment] games,” said coach Chris Fitzger­ald. “And one of our two big-gun pitch­ers was hurt early, and the other late.”

With Zach Bed­nar miss­ing the first two weeks of the year, and 2016 class­mate Jimmy Rich miss­ing the rest of the sea­son af­ter a mid-April an­kle break, Fitzger­ald had some lineup jug­gling to do.

He proved up to the task, as did the pitch­ing staff and lineup he found him­self cob­bling to­gether.

“We had sev­eral guys come up big for us this year,” Fitzger­ald said. “Chase Porter, Pat Free­man, Kole Klabe, Cam­den [Lan­caster]. Sev­eral guys, like Luke Wed­dell, Dy­lan [Thomas], who came in and got the job done when we needed it done . ... This team had a real chem­istry, a real feel­ing to it, that they had been to­gether for so long, the se­niors, that they just knew they could win, could play good base­ball when they needed to.”

The Lions rolled over North Caro­line in their first play­off game; Lan­caster’s game-win­ning hit helped the team out­last Eas­ton in a 10-in­ning sec­tional fi­nal, putting it on the road to Fall­ston for the 2A East ti­tle game.

The Lions came out on top there, too, win­ning 7-4. The re­gional crown marked the first state-tour­na­ment berth for the Lions since 1978, when they won it all.

Fitzger­ald’s ef­forts and his­toric sea­son earned him

the Mid-Shore Coach of the Year lau­rel.

Here’s the rest of the Al­lMid-Shore base­ball team for 2016.

Pitcher Noah Brack Jr., St. Michaels A tall, lanky lefty with a sneaky-fast heater and the abil­ity to keep al­most any­one off­bal­ance, Brack led the con­fer­ence in pitch­ing wins with seven. Brack struck out a di­vi­sion-high 82 hit­ters in 48 1/3 in­nings; op­po­nents bat­ted just .161.

Play­ing first when he wasn’t on the bump, Brack made just one er­ror all sea­son, and posted a .992 field­ing mark.

Brack also hit .406, with a .500 on-base av­er­age, 19 runs scored and 12 RBIs.

Pitcher Chase Porter Jr., Queen Anne’s De­spite not hav­ing pitched an in­ning on var­sity be­fore 2016, Porter was the right man, in the right place, at the right time, for the Lions when in­juries took a toll on the staff. Lead­ing his team in wins with four, Porter put up a 1.91 ERA over 51 1/3 frames of work.

Porter was in­stru­men­tal in the Lions’ play­off run, get­ting the mound win over the Bull­dogs, pitch­ing three score­less in­nings of re­lief against Eas­ton, and earn­ing a save in the re­gional fi­nal at Fall­ston.

Pitcher Joseph Bu­rack Sr., N. Caro­line Serv­ing as third base­man, short­stop, catcher, and the team’s win­ningest hurler with three vic­to­ries, Bu­rack had a no-hit­ter and one­hit­ter in the fi­nal weeks of the sea­son. He hit .366 with a di­vi­sion-best five home runs, 26 RBIs, and 13 walks.

Bu­rack struck out just four times all sea­son, was the coaches’ se­lec­tion as North Bay­side Player of the Year, and fin­ished with a .518 on-base per­cent­age, a .585 slug­ging av­er­age, and an OPS of 1.103.

Pitcher Devin Stan­ford Sr., St. Michaels Go­ing 5-2 on the bump, Stan­ford posted a st­ingy 1.15 ERA, his only losses com­ing against the­nun­beaten Colonel in early May, and even- tual state 1A champ Brunswick in ex­tra in­nings.

The south­paw struck out 56 bat­ters in 36 2/3 in­nings, al­low­ing just 21 hits — an av­er­age of .153. At the plate, Stan­ford hit a solid .296, with 21 runs scored, start­ing in cen­ter field when not pitch­ing.

Pitcher Jami­son Covey Fr., Col. Richard­son A break­out star for the Colonels, Covey went 6-1, his only loss in re­lief in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, Covey led the team in pick­offs with three.

Covey also posted a 2.74 ERA, and 29 strike­outs in 38 1/3 in­nings of work, while is­su­ing just nine walks.

Catcher Dy­lan Nepert Sr., Col. Richard­son Nepert fol­lowed a dom­i­nant 2015 cam­paign with an en­core this spring, mak­ing sev­eral statelevel all-star teams and earn­ing a spot with the Se­ton Hill (Pa.) Univer­sity team next year.

Hit­ting .356 with 28 RBIs, two homers, and with an OPS of .950, only three run­ners stole a base on Nepert, Colonel’s start­ing catcher, all sea­son — the low­est among play­ers for whom that statis­tic was avail­able. First Base­man Jaret Ben­nett Sr. Col. Richard­son Hit­ting .373 with two homers, Ben­nett scored 24 runs, drove in 16, and reached base at a .500 clip this sea­son. He fin­ishes his high school ca­reer with a .446 ca­reer bat­ting mark and a 16-4 record as a pitcher, not hav­ing lost a de­ci­sion on the hill since his sopho­more year.

Ben­nett, the hard­est­throw­ing south­paw in the di­vi­sion since North Caro­line’s Mar­shall Thomp­son (2008), struck out 64 hit­ters in 41 2/3 in­nings, while walk­ing just nine and al­low­ing 29 hits, for a WHIP of 0.93. On the hill, he was 5-0 with five com­plete games in six starts, with an ERA of 1.51. Sec­ond Base­man Tyler Hard­ing So., Cam­bridge-SD Post­ing a .408 av­er­age, Hard­ing also scored 21 runs and drove in 11 to pro­vide spark at the top of the Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester lineup, just as he did as a fresh­man.

On the mound, the righthander led his team with three wins, three com­plete games, two shutouts, and an ERA of 2.01. In 45 1/3 in­nings of ef­fort, he struck out 33, al­low­ing just 33 hits; op­po­nents hit only .210 against him. Third Base­man Nathan Howeth So., St. Michaels One of the youngest stars on an al­ready young Saints team which lost just one player to grad­u­a­tion in 2015, and two this year, Howeth’s 31 hits led the Bay­side Con­fer­ence.

Howeth fin­ished the year with a .408 av­er­age, ty­ing Hard­ing as tops among sopho­mores, 26 runs scored, 20 driven in, and

seven dou­bles, bat­ting in the three-hole in the lineup much of the sea­son.

Short­stop Michael Richard­son Sr., Cam­bridge-SD

A four-year var­sity reg­u­lar, Richard­son went out in style, hit­ting .393 with 15 runs, 17 RBIs, five dou­bles, and an on­base av­er­age of .487. His OPS was 1.044 and his 10 stolen bases were a team-best.

Richard­son’s other lau­rels in­clude mak­ing the Brooks Robin­son All-Star game, played Sun­day at Ori­ole Park at Cam­den Yards in Bal­ti­more, as well as the District 8 all-star team.

Out­fielder Devin Sparks Sr., Cam­bridge-SD

Pos­si­bly the best-kept se­cret in the North Bay­side, Sparks was a tough out in a lineup chock­full of them.

Bat­ting .414, Sparks also led his team in runs scored (18), and RBIs (15), while reach­ing base at a .471 pace and putting up an OPS of 1.074; he was 7 for 8 at steal­ing bases.

Out­fielder Tyson John­son So.,

Kent County An ath­letic five-tool stand­out on the Tro­jans for two years run­ning, John­son led the 2016 team in hit­ting (.375), runs (18), hits (18), RBIs (12), and dou­bles (five).

With a .492 on-base mark, and an OPS of 1.075, John­son also picked up a pair of pitch­ing wins, and struck out 28 hit­ters in 23 2/3 in­nings of work.

Out­fielder Matthew Gro­gan So., St. Michaels

Hit­ting .403 with 16 runs, 11 RBIs, and eight dou­bles, Gro­gan reached base at a .493 clip, and his OPS of 1.074 was among the top five in the North Bay­side.

The Saints’ top righthander on the hill, Gro­gan went 2-0, got a no-de­ci­sion when he threw seven score­less in­nings early in the sea­son against Colonel, and struck out 42 hit­ters in 45 1/3 in­nings; op­po­nents hit .228 against Gro­gan, who posted an ERA of 2.77.

Des­ig­nated Hit­ter C. J. Chansler Jr., St. Michaels

Chansler put up num­bers that would keep him in or near the cleanup po­si­tion on al­most ev­ery team in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence this year.

He hit .392, with 27 RBIs, 24 runs scored, and a di­vi­sion-high 11 dou­bles; his on­base av­er­age was .442, and he put up an OPS of 1.010. Util­ity Player Ryan Farr So., Eas­ton Farr’s .333 bat­ting av­er­age led the Warriors; he also posted a .406 on­base av­er­age, driv­ing in a teamhigh 12 runs while scor­ing 10 on the sea­son.

Start­ing at short­stop, Farr also spent time at third base, as well as serv­ing as a re­liever. Farr threw eight score­less in­nings in a 14-in­ning loss in late April against South Bay­side pow­er­house Stephen De­catur; he fin­ished the year with an ERA of just 0.64.

Util­ity Player Matthew El­liott Sr., Cam­bridge-SD

Play­ing third or DHing in the place of an underclassman pitcher when he wasn’t, El­liott fin­ished a four-sea­son var­sity stint in style, hit­ting .431 with 12 runs scored, four dou­bles, and two triples, while play­ing in ev­ery game.

El­liott, who also saw time in other in­field po­si­tions and pitched nu­mer­ous games dur­ing his high school ca­reer, looks to make an im­pact next year with the Sal­is­bur y Univer­sity team. Sec­ond Team

Pitch­ers: Jack Wheat­ley (Sr., Eas­ton); Bran­don Latham (Fr., Eas­ton); Pat Free­man (Jr., Queen Anne’s); A. J. Wil­ley (Jr., N. Dorch­ester); Tyler Loh (Jr., Kent Is­land); Ma­son Led­ford (So., Eas­ton);

Catch­ers: Bre­nan Cas­sell (Sr., Eas­ton); Dy­lan Thomas (Jr., Queen Anne’s);

First Base­man: Ben Man­ley (Sr., Kent County);

Sec­ond Base­man: Mor­gan Loetz (So., N. Caro­line); Third Base­man: Evan Fish­paw (Jr., Cam­bridge-SD);

Short­stop: Cam­den Lan­caster (Sr., Queen Anne’s);

Out­field­ers: Nathaniel Lowe (Sr., CambridgeSD), Seth Parks (Jr., St. Michaels); Kee­gan Bentz (Jr., Eas­ton); Sean Reid (So., Kent Is­land); Pey­ton Lieske (Jr., N. Dorch­ester); Des­ig­nated Hit­ter: Jake Hipps (Jr., Kent Is­land); Util­ity Player: Al­lan Saathoff (Jr. 2B/3B/SS/P, N. Caro­line). Hon­or­able Men­tion

Cam­bridge-SD: Lan­den Warfield (Sr., 1B); Matthew King (Jr., 3B/P); Bradley Stan­ton (Jr., 3B/P); Koby Schreiber (Sr., C); Josh Townsend (So., C/P/IF). Col.

Richard­son: Rem­ing­ton Mangum (Fr., 1B); Gar­rett Nepert (So., 2B/P); J. B. Buchanan (Sr., 3B); Shawne Bowens (Sr., OF).

Eas­ton: Trent Weems (Fr., 2B); Dy­lan Waters (Sr., 3B/P); Kee­gan Bentz (So., OF/P); Cody Farr (Sr., DH). Kent County: Josh Ise­man (Jr., 3B/1B/P); Austin Black (Sr., OF); Austin Peet (Sr., SS); Jor­dan Cap­palo (Sr., 2B); J. P. Ni­chol­son (Sr., C); Josh Frey (Sr., OF). Kent Is­land: Jake Hipps (So., DH); Kyle Son­n­eveldt (Sr., C); Dy­lan Tvelia (Jr., IF/P); Ian Schools (Fr., OF/P); Colin McKin­non (Jr., OF); Lo­gan Du­me­nil (Jr., 1B). North

Caro­line: Cameron Byrd (Sr., OF); Dan Edris (Sr., 1B/P); Jaret Price (So., P); Will Man­ship (Fr., 2B/SS); Ma­son Blake (Jr., OF); Mark Con­ner (Jr., P/IF).

North Dorch­ester: Jerome Thomas (Jr., SS); Da­juan Malone (Sr., OF); Tan­ner War­rell (Fr., DH/3B); Tyler Wind­sor (So., P/IF).

Queen Anne’s: Zach Bed­nar (Sr., P); Jimmy Rich (Sr., OF/P); Kole Klabe (Sr., OF); Luke Wed­dell (So., OF); Darin Rose­brock (So., OF). St. Michaels: Al­bie Urbina (Sr., P); Devin Led­num (Jr., OF); Bren­nan Shin­ski (Jr., P); An­drew Risher (So., SS); Tucker Hein­lein (Jr., DH); Trent Saun­ders (So., 2B); Nick New­nam (Fr., 1B).

Cam­bridge-SD’s Matt El­liott blasts a dou­ble to deep cen­ter against St. Michaels on May 18.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Michael Richard­son blasts a dou­ble to deep left against St. Michaels Wed­nes­day, May 18.


Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Tyler Hard­ing fires to first for an out against Kent Is­land Wed­nes­day, April 27.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester’s Devin Sparks blasts an RBI dou­ble to deep left against St. Michaels Wed­nes­day, May 18.


















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