All-County Baseball: Carson’s Cauble Coach of Year
By Ronnie Gallagher
CHINA GROVE — Carson’s baseball team had just been defeated by Asheboro in the playoffs and coach Chris Cauble was alone in the stadium, raking the mound.
Or so he thought.
That’s when his boy, Blake, a senior who saw his career end, approached him and they shared a poignant moment, pretty much thanking each other for enjoying the sport of baseball together for almost 18 years as father and son.
It was at this moment that Cauble realized what type of spring it had been. Not only did he get to spend every afternoon at practice with his son, but also with the best team in Carson’s seven-year history, a group that won 24 of 28 games.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t go to the state finals,” Cauble said. “But all of the kids are proud of what we accomplished in the regular season. It was one of the best teams I’ve coached — and we’ve got real good kids as well.”
It all added up to Cauble being named 2013 Rowan County Coach of the Year.
It wasn’t as easy of a season for the Carson coach as one might think. The Cougars, after taking eventual state champ Weddington to the brink in the third round a year before, came in as an overwhelming favorite to go at least that far. There was an amazing talent pool returning to China Grove.
“People don’t realize when there’s that much pressure on you from the beginning, it makes every game more important and you put more pressure on yourself,” he said.
The most pressure may have been on Cauble, in his 24th year of coaching and 15th as a head man.
His biggest dilemma? Who to play?
“A lot of people think it’s easy when you’ve got backups as adequate as the starters,” Cauble said. “But there was probably as much complaining this year as there was in the last 20 I’ve coached because there were a lot of kids who were equal and deserved to play. At other places, they would have been playing. I just tried to keep people happy and going for the same cause.”
Cauble accomplished that. The Cougars won their first-ever North Piedmont Conference regular-season championship and a second straight tournament title.
“It was a very satisfying feeling to get over that hump,” Cauble said.
None of Carson’s success would be possible without assistant Dwayne Fink, who has been with Cauble since the school opened. Fink, a former successful head coach himself, shares this award.
“I’m lucky that he agreed to be my assistant,” Cauble said. “I’ve never treated him like an assistant and 100 percent of appreciation goes to Dwayne Fink for being here all seven years.”
When Dillon Atwell fired a one-hitter in the 3A playoff opener, Cauble felt his team had momentum at the right time. But Asheboro ended its season in the next round.
“In a one-and-done, anything’s possible,” Cauble shrugged.
It left a bittersweet taste in the mouth of the Cauble.
That is, until the 2013 Rowan County coach of the Year got that much-needed hug from a very appreciative son.