All-county baseball team features six Mustangs
By Mike London
The 2009 All-Rowan County baseball team features 18 players. There are six from East, four from West, four from Carson, two from Salisbury and one each from South and North.
West and East played the most challenging schedules. If any school is under-represented, it’s the Mustangs.
East played West Forsyth and North Davidson outside the NPC. It played Lake Norman three times, plus three more playoff opponents. The Mustangs still had nine guys with statistics that were worthy of all-county.
The 2009 all-county team:
Hernan Bautista, Sr.
The Player of the Year led the Falcons in homers (eight), RBIs (29) and batting average (.402). He hit two homers at Northwest Cabarrus, including a tape-measure job, and belted homers in both of West’s meetings with East Rowan.
Zach Smith, Sr. Center field, East
Good against everyone and destroyed South Rowan.
The Pitt Community College commitment had a career in his three games against the Raiders ó 8-for-12, three homers, 10 RBIs.
The Easter tournament MVP launched his eighth homer in East’s final game of the season to tie Bautista for the county lead. Smith tied Bautista for the county lead in RBIs during the regular season. He finished at .378 with 33 RBIs.
Maverick Miles, Jr. Shortstop, SouthThe county batting champion hit .477 with an on-base percentage of .583. He hit for a rare cycle on opening day and finished with four homers and 20 RBIs in 22 contests.
The High Point commitment belted two homers in a game against West Iredell, so it made sense to walk him. He received 18 free passes, nine intentional.
No player on a losing team has been named county player of the year since North’s Shannon Myers played for an 11-15 team in 1991, but Miles deserved consideration.
His only minus was a 7-for-29 effort with three RBIs in 10 games against the NPC’s top five teams.
David Ijames, Sr. Right field, East
Ijames had only two homers, but he produced 14 doubles. That figure tied for the most in Rowan this century. West Rowan’s Weston Church had 14 in 2007. West’s Bryan Graham had 14 in 2004.
Ijames, who finished at .396 with 31 RBIs, showed range and a good arm in right field. His clutch, down-to-the-last-strike hit in the playoffs against Piedmont extended East’s season. He’s headed to Stanly Community College.
Corbin Shive, Sr. First base/pitcher, East
Had his right shoulder been healthy all spring, the Charlotte signee may have been a runaway for the Mark Norris Memorial Award as the county’s top two-way standout.
Shive was 2-2 on the mound with a 1.52 ERA and dominated for six shutout innings in East’s big win at Lake Norman.
He was excellent defensively at first base and steady at the plate with a .352 mark, four homers and 18 RBIs. He homered against good teams, including West Forsyth, Mooresville and Southwest Guilford.
Julio Zubillaga, Jr. Second base, Carson
A wrist injury wrecked his sophomore season, but he returned as one of the county’s top players ó offensively and defensively.
“Zubie” batted .395 and knocked in 16 runs. He set school records with 32 hits and 25 runs scored.
Scott Ashby, Sr. Left field, Carson
Playing with a bum shoulder from a football injury, Ashby still hit a school-record .424. He produced 18 RBIs and scored 24 runs.
His four homers came in NPC games, including shots against East and West.
D.J. Webb, Jr. Pitcher, West
The surprise of the year, Webb saved the Falcons’ season with his willingness to work on the mound in short relief, long relief and as a starter.
He had a role in 10 of West’s 15 wins. His six saves were the most in Rowan this century. He was 4-1 with an ERA of 2.05.
Philip Miclat, Sr. Shortstop, West
The Boston College signee was a slick fielder and excellent table-setter.
He batted .359, stole 10 bases and scored 26 runs. Miclat went 11-for-20 in West’s last five conference games, including a four-hit night against Mooresville.
Preston Troutman, Jr. Pitcher/shortstop, East
Troutman wasn’t starting early in the season, but he forced his way into the Mustangs’ lineup and batted .387. On the mound, he won four games, saved two and posted an ERA of 1.77. He led the county with 53 strikeouts.
Tyler Freeze, Jr. Catcher, Carson
Returning from an injury-plagued sophomore year, the lefty swinger batted .385 with four homers and 20 RBIs. Freeze nearly hit two homers in one inning against A.L. Brown but settled for a double on his second blast.
Forrest Buchanan, Sr. Pitcher/left field, Salisbury
Buchanan hit a robust .397 with nine doubles while performing double duty as the Hornets’ top pitcher.
Headed to Belmont Abbey, Buchanan accounted for four of Salisbury’s seven wins, including a complete game against Central Davidson in the CCC tournament.
Ben DeCelle, Sr. Left field, East
Reaching base on half his plate appearances, the leadoff man scored 27 runs. Defensively, his speed made plenty of tremendous catches look pretty routine.
Headed to UNC Pembroke on a football ride.
Noah Holmes, Jr. Third baseman, East
More than one coach declared him the best high school defender they’d ever seen at the hot corner.
Also contributed at the plate with a .351 batting average, seven doubles and 16 RBIs.
Jon Crucitti, Jr. Center field, West
Jonny Hustle batted a modest .307, but he was highly productive with three homers, a team-high 27 runs scored and 19 RBIs. He threw in a dozen web gems.
Russell Michalec, Sr. Center field/pitcher, Salisbury
Batted .350 with four homers, four triples, 11 steals and 20 runs. The catalyst for the Hornets was 10-for-18 in his last six games.
Michalec, who won twice on the mound, will play at Catawba.
Gunnar Hogan, Soph.
The only sophomore on the team, Hogan scored 20 runs and batted .372, including 3-for-4 nights against Mooresville and West Rowan. He made just one error in the Cougars’ last eight games.
Travis Honeycutt, Sr. First base, North
The Cavaliers fell off the radar screen when they sank to 1-11, but they quietly won four of their last nine.
Honeycutt had a productive season, thumping four homers and batting .365. He was 8-for-17 in North’s last six contests.