2008 All-Rowan County baseball team
By Mike London
The all-county baseball team grows faster than Chase Utley’s homer total.
The team expanded to 18 members in 2007 with the addition of Carson. The thinking was 18 spots for six schools would maintain the same average per team that existed when 15 players represented five schools.
This year, there are 20 players on the team, but it was an extraordinary year.
East Rowan matched the county record for wins. Salisbury won its first league championship in 24 years.
South Rowan won 16 games. West Rowan won 15 and was arguably the county’s second-best at the end.
Carson wasn’t a pushover and won 10 games.
North Rowan was down, but it beat Salisbury and no one in the CCC relished playing the Cavaliers when Billy Veal was on the hill.
There were far more than 20 standouts in the county. East’s Ben DeCelle, Cody Laws and Noah Holmes; Salisbury’s Doug Seaman and Ben Ijames; West’s Tyler King; and South’s Matt Ingold were all-conference, but aren’t on the all-county team in a year in which 27 players hit .300 or higher.
Lately, we haven’t “voted” on all-county teams. What we have done, based mostly on the objective criteria of wins and losses, is decide how many all-county players each school should receive. For instance, Salisbury coach Scott Maddox would have liked six spots this year, but he only was allowed four.Coaches had to make tough choices for their own teams. But they’re the best qualified. They saw every game. Beyond the raw stats, they know who came through in the clutch.
The original plan was to stick with 18 players this year, and a breakdown was virtually set in stone as the season headed into May.
West’s strong finish bumped it from two all-county players to three. West swept South, so the Falcons shouldn’t get fewer all-county players than the Raiders.
East had been scheduled for six honorees, but that total was bumped to seven when it won the 3A West championship. Small reward for a big accomplishment.
The breakdown is East (7), Salisbury (4), West (3), South (3), Carson (2) and North (1). That’s 20.
South and West fans might wonder ó why four Hornets? South beat Salisbury in their one matchup, while Salisbury and West didn’t meet.
Two reasons. First, Salisbury won a league championship. Second, Salisbury had four players who were clearly among the top 12, not just the top 20.
East’s Micah Jarrett is the dean of this team. This is his third all-county selection.
Salisbury’s Alex Britt, Robbie Ijames and David Ijames, East’s Justin Roland and Corbin Shive; South’s Ryan Bostian and Maverick Miles; West’s Philip Miclat and North’s Billy Veal are two-time all-county players.
Robbie Ijames, Sal. Jr.
Reliable at shortstop and posted mind-boggling offensive numbers.
Batted .548, rapped nine homers, stole 21 bases and reached base 70 percent of the time in league games.
Justin Roland, East, Sr.
The Charlotte signee was superb at shortstop, led the county with 42 runs and 26 steals and was 6-0 on the mound with two saves.
Roland is the first to surpass 100 career hits for East since Cal Hayes Jr. and Drew Davis did it in 2002.
Micah Jarrett, East, Sr.
A center fielder headed to Wake Forest, Jarrett led the county with 39 RBIs and hit six home runs.
In four varsity seasons, two at Salisbury, he collected 120 hits, most in the county since Hayes posted 129.
Corbin Shive, East, Jr.The county’s unofficial pitcher of the year with an 11-2 record and 77 strikeouts. He also knocked in 17 runs and hit two homers in one game at Mooresville.
Zach Smith, East, Jr.
Not yet famous, but a true star. The right fielder’s 35 RBIs were second in the county, and he ripped 19 extra-base hits, including five triples.
Randy Shepherd, Carson, Jr.He went 6-5 on the mound for the Cougars, and his 1.73 ERA indicates he could have been 10-1 with more luck and more run support.
Also can swing the bat ó .344, with 21 RBIs.
Maverick Miles, South, So.The second baseman swung the biggest bat in South’s lineup. Hit .407 with three homers and 27 RBIs.
On track to break numerous school records.
David Ijames, Sal, Jr.
The center fielder was the second-best player in his family but still excelled. He hit .461 with four homers and 27 RBIs and paced the county with 12 doubles.
Ryan Bostian, South, Sr.
Threw a series of complete games on his way to five wins, was an offensive catalyst (.360, 17 steals) and played gold-glove outfield when he didn’t pitch.
Will sign with Montreat.
Alex Britt, Sal, Sr.Salisbury’s workhorse on the mound, he was 6-3 with 73 strikeouts. Also batted .368 with 26 RBIs.
Trey Holmes, East, Sr.
The slick-fielding first baseman’s 30 RBIs ranked third in the county and he batted .376.
The lefty also was 2-0 on the mound and is headed to Pitt Community College,
Russell Michalec, Sal., Jr.
The right fielder was an ideal leadoff man, batting .393 with 21 steals and 32 runs scored. He also showed pop ó nine doubles and three homers.
Zack Simpson, West, So.The lefty’s surprising season was capped by a complete-game victory at Marvin Ridge in the playoffs.
A first-year varsity player, Simpson went 8-2 and struck out 60 in 54 innings.
Hernan Bautista, West, Jr.Instrumental in West’s strong stretch run, he was outstanding calling pitches and showed plenty of power. Scored 21 runs and hit .333.
Billy Veal, North, Sr.A tough year for North (4-17), but Veal always competed, always stayed positive.
On the hill, Veal won two, saved one and struck out 74. He also made tough plays at shortstop and whacked two of North’s three homers.
Philip Miclat, West, Jr.Outstanding defensive shortstop has already committed to Boston College.
Batted .348 with 22 runs and 18 stolen bases.
Michael Morgan, South, Sr.Went 5-1 on the mound, played excellent defense in right field and helped out offensively with 13 RBIs and 13 steals.
Gunnar Hogan, Carson, Fr.The kid can definitely hit ó team-leading .375 ó and his defense at shortstop improved steadily.
Austin Shull, East, Jr.Very good behind the plate, and East coach Brian Hightower gives him credit for the team’s strong pitching numbers.
Hit .290 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
Ethan Fisher, East, Jr.”Skip” flashed a smooth glove at second base for the Mustangs and batted .326 with 16 RBIs.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.