Three CR players named all-state
Colonel Richardson’s Jake Zebron, Jamison Covey and Garrett Nepert were honored as members of the preseason all-state team during the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches banquet in early February.
The three Colonel baseball players join St. Michaels’ Matt Grogan, Easton’s Ryan Farr and Snow Hill’s Zach Adams as Bayside selections on the annual team.
Brian Femi could be the lead lobbyist for Bayside Conference baseball.
“There’s a lot of talented kids in the Bayside,” St. Michaels High’s longtime head baseball coach said.
Enough talent that Femi thought the conference could have had even more of a crowd on this year’s preseason all-state team selected by the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches.
As it was, the Bayside had one of its largest contingents, as St. Michaels’ Matt Grogan, Easton’s Ryan Farr, Colonel Richardson’s Jake Zebron, Jamison Covey and Garrett Nepert, and Snow Hill’s Zach Adams were each selected to the annual team.
“It’s a huge honor,” Femi said of the all-state team, its members recognized during a preseason banquet in early February at the BWI Marriott. “The Bayside, number one, was very well represented with (Matt), the three Colonel guys, Ryan Farr and Zach Adams at Snow Hill. So I thought we had a great representation.”
Colonel Richardson was one of only two schools to have three players named to the team along with Loyola Blakefield, the Towsonbased school that plays in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association’s A Conference.
“It’s a great honor,” Colonel Richardson head coach Dan Mangum said. “They all three had tremendous years last year. They’re all three going to play Division I baseball somewhere. We’re excited about this year. They’ve worked hard.”
A senior right-hander who signed with North Carolina State in November, Zebron earned his second selection to the pre-season all-state team. He went 5-2 with a 1.62 earned-run average and 62 strikeouts last year, and pitched four complete games. Zebron played outfield when not on the mound and batted .345 with one home run, three triples, 23 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
During Zebron’s three years as a varsity starter, Colonel Richardson has gone 56-7, won a pair of North Bayside titles, one Bayside Conference crown, and a 1A East Region championship. Zebron has compiled a 15-3 record with a 1.43 ERA, striking out 122 over 108 innings over that three-year span.
Like Zebron, Nepert was on the Colonel teams that posted back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 2015 and ‘16. He started at second base as a sophomore, but was moved to catcher last year, where he finished with a .643 caught-stealing percentage and a .989 fielding percentage. A senior, Nepert hit .469 with eight doubles, two home runs and 20 RBIs last season. He has a .405 batting average over the past two seasons, and in November signed to play for North Carolina Central.
Covey, a junior right-hander verbally committed to Mississippi, finished 4-1 last season with a 1.69 ERA, two saves and 43 strikeouts and just eight walks. He’s gone 10-2 during his two years on varsity, with a 2.34 ERA, fanning 74 over 80 2/3 innings. Last season he batted .322.
“It’s been kind of neat seeing them grow up,” Mangum said. “I’ve been with them since they were nine, back in the (Mid-Shore) Bucks days, Little League and all those type things. It’s really paid off; all the hard work.”
The starting shortstop at Easton since his freshman year, Farr got at least one hit in all 19 of the Warriors’ games last season. He finished the season batting a team-high .492 with eight doubles, 18 RBIs and 16 runs scored.
“Ryan has led our team in hitting all three years,” Easton head coach Albert Pritchett said. “He’s started at shortstop since his freshman season. He’s really kind of been the leader of our offense since that year. Plays a good shortstop. Runs the bases exceptionally well. And he’s starting to hit with a lot of power as well. Makes our offense go.”
Farr, who doubled twice and tripled in a scrimmage last Thursday against Mardela, has yet to commit to a college.
A senior, Grogan went 9-1 with a 1.11 ERA last season, which ended with the righthander allowing one unearned run over five innings in the Saints’ 12-1 victory over Boonsboro in the Class 1A state championship game. Grogan struck out 62 and walked 18 over 44 innings. He also played outfield, hit .479 with 23 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and was a perfect 11 for 11 stealing bases.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Matt’s one of the best players in the state along with these other people,” Femi said of Grogan, who is headed to Salisbury University. “I’m just glad he got the recognition because it’s voted on by the entire state, so it’s really tough to get in.”
Femi also thought St. Michaels’ senior Nathan Howeth, James M. Bennett senior right-hander Dallas Repine (Towson), and Stephen Decatur senior Tristan McDonough (Miami) were all worthy of spots on the team.
“You’re voted on by people that some don’t know you,” Femi said. “Like, if you don’t happen to play them or somewhere in the travel-ball circle you didn’t cross paths. And it’s hard to see all those guys. And you’ve just got to base it on stats, et cetera. It’s tough to make it. I just think some guys slipped through the cracks.”
Femi, who piloted St. Michaels to a 24-1 record and its fifth Class 1A state championship last year, was named the District 8 Coach of the Year. A member of the Maryland State Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Femi has a record of 382-123 in 27 seasons at St. Michaels, and has led the Saints to five North Bayside titles, three conference championships, and nine region crowns.
“It’s a team award is the way I view all that,” Femi said. “It’s the best team that I’ve ever had, hands down. We had no Division I players, no pro players. As a unit, it was the best group of people that we’ve ever had with the chemistry. We’ve certainly had better individual players, but the way these guys operated as a team, plus the talent that they had, you couldn’t achieve any awards or anything like that without that kind of stuff.
“And with our coaching staff ... we got probably five guys that could be head coaches anywhere if they wanted to be; if they wanted to do that with their knowledge base,” Femi added. “I’m pretty fortunate to operate in the situation that I do. So I view it as a school award, a team award, just because of that.”
From left, St. Michaels’ Matt Grogan, Colonel Richardson’s Jake Zebron, Jamison Covey and Garrett Nepert, and Easton’s Ryan Farr were honored as members of the preseason all-state team during the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches banquet...