Three CR play­ers named all-state

Times-Record - - Front Page - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­dem.com

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.”

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED BY JEFF FARR

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...

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