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Prep baseball: Carson pitching could be powerful

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

Carson Cougars baseball

2016 record: 18-11, lost in second round of the 3A state playoffs to Marvin Ridge.

League record: 12-6, tied for third place in South Piedmont Conference.

Coach: Chris Cauble is the only coach Carson has ever had. He entered his 11th season at the helm of the Cougars with a 172-98 record. Prior to moving over to Carson, Cauble had success at West Rowan where he was 136-55 in seven seasons. In 2004, Cauble led the Falcons to 29 wins and a runner-up finish in 3A. Cauble owned a county-record 308 career wins entering this season.

Strength: Pitching. The top three hurlers are back. Owen White, Cameron Prugh and Maddux Holshouser combined for 17 of Carson’s 18 wins a year ago. Now Cauble adds A.L. Brown transfer Clayton Gilmore to the mix, along with some talented youngsters.

Question marks: Offense. White, who had five homers and 13 doubles a year ago, provides a lot of power, but  there’s not much proven punch other than him. Michael Morrison, Brandon Mock and Ryan Bearden are gone and they delivered a combined 60 RBIs.

Youth. This is a young team, mostly juniors, not many seniors.

Catching: The graduation of Bearden and the transfer of Pearce Wilhelm to West Rowan left Carson thin behind the plate. Sophomore Garrett Alewine is the guy the Cougars are counting on.

Returning players:

• White, considered one of the state’s top juniors, will be a candidate for Rowan County Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. He was 6-4 on the hill last season and had dominating games that he didn’t win. He compiled a 2.04 ERA with 87 strikeouts. When he’s not pitching, he’s a stellar shortstop. He batted .323 with 23 RBIs.

• Prugh, a junior, doesn’t look scary, but he wins. He was 6-1 on the mound with 50 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. He’s also a capable middle infielder and batted .289 with 13 runs scored. Like White, Prugh has been on the basketball court the past few months.

• Holshouser, a junior lefty, was 5-2 on the mound. He might get a chance to swing the bat this season. Defensively, he’s a good first baseman.

• Junior outfielder Brycen Holshouser batted .311 with eight RBIs.

• Senior second baseman Logan Ridenhour batted .341 with 7 RBIs.

• Senior third baseman Ben Shoaf drove in 10 runs last season. He also will play some first base.

New faces: Gilmore is a talented player who has speed and a strong arm. He’s versatile, able to play infield or outfield, and gives Cauble a lot of lineup options. Sophomore Luke Barringer and junior Sollie Holshouser could be starters in the outfield. Carson has a host of newcomers competing for the DH position.

Quote: “We’ve got a very good pitching staff and we’re expecting big things,” Cauble said. “But we’ve got to do the job at the plate if we’re going to have the kind of season we’re capable of.”

Schedule: Carson lost 1-0 at Davie County on opening night but bounced back to pound Mooresville. Carson’s first six contests are on the road, including a loss last night in the SPC opener at Central Cabarrus. There is an early showdown with East Rowan next Tuesday.

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