Alex Liquori (left) and John Mark Rhodes (right), both of Whitewater, are the Co-Players of the Year.
(Staff Photos by Chri
With another school year in the books we say goodbye to the Boys of Spring. Our local baseball teams had another thrilling season and it is time to celebrate their accomplishments.
The Whitewater Wildcats again carried the flag for all of Fayette, reaching the state Final Four thanks to a series of comeback wins in the playoffs.
The Wildcats' season was keyed by two especially dominant players, Alex Liquori and John Mark Rhodes. The two so regularly destroyed the opponent's pitching that they share Player of the Year honors. Liquori sported a .474 batting average to go with nine home runs, nine doubles, and 32 RBI. Rhodes hit .452 with nine home runs, eight doubles, seven triples, and 49 RBI.
"They carried us with their offense and their leadership. They were huge for us," said Whitewater coach Bobby Gatlin. "One of them or both contributed to us winning a lot of one run games. Without those two we would've really struggled. They picked everybody up and the rest of the team fed off what they did. The combination of their ability, work ethic, drive, and they way the competed led us."
A number of the schools could make a case for their head man for Coach of the Year, but the honor goes to Kevin Nix of Our Lady of Mercy. In just his second year at Mercy, Nix led the Bobcats to their most wins in school history. Their 12 wins this season exceeds the total from the previous five years combined. With a number of key players returning next year, Nix just might have the Bobcats close to something special.
The All-County First Team is a truly exciting group of players. You would be hard pressed to find a more accomplished team anywhere around the state. Brennan Morgan of McIntosh will set up behind the plate as the catcher. Morgan, a four year starter for the Chiefs, led with a big bat, driving in 22 runs.
Garrison Elliott of Starr's Mill, Tyler Roberts of McIntosh, John Keuler of Our Lady of Mercy, and Hunter Bening of Whitewater make up the infield. Elliott burst onto the season as a junior, hitting .451 with two runs and 28 RBI. Roberts batted .333 with 12 RBI. Keuler shared the county batting crown with a .474 averaging along with 20 stolen bases, capping off a stellar career with the Bobcats. Bening hit .347 with three home runs and 27 RBI.
Alex Liquori and John Mark Rhodes are joined in the outfield by Jeremy Taylor of Fayette County. Taylor led the Tigers with a .342 batting average.
Evan Gresham of Whitewater and Ryan Avidano of Starr's Mill finish of the squad as not just the top pitchers, but also great batters. Gresham, a right handed pitcher and leftfielder, had a perfect 7-0 record on the mound with 63 strikeouts and a 2.12 ERA in 46 innings. He also hit .330 with 20 RBI. Avidano, a left handed pitcher and rightfielder for the Panthers, sported a 4-1 record with three saves, 45 strikeouts, and a 2.94 ERA in 33 innings pitched. He also had a .405 batting average with 2 home runs at the plate.
The All-County second team boasts a lot of excellent players as well.
Chris Chaphe of Starr's Mill is the catcher. Chaphe batted .351 with two home runs, twelve doubles, and 21 RBI.
Chris Carden and Sam Fielding of Fayette County are joined by John Tyler Nash of Whitewater and Christian Griffith in the infield. Carden hit .285 with Fielding batting .315. Nash hit .290 with nine doubles and 22 RBI.
The outfield is made up of Chancellor Triplett of Sandy Creek, Michael Trebendis of Fayette County, and Andrew Johnson of McIntosh. Trebendis hit .315 for Tigers. Johnson, a sophomore, batted .322 with 10 RBI for the Chiefs.
Daniel Amos of Whitewater and Griffin DeJoy of Starr's Mill are the pitchers for the second team. Amos, last year's pitcher of the year, notched a 6-4 record with 97 strikeouts and a 3.42 ERA in 68 innings. DeJoy had a flawless 4-0 record with a 1.08 ERA.
The country honorable mentions are a strong group in their own right, especially heavy on pitching talent. Starr's Mill's honorable mentions are Nathan Bates and Connor Dillon. McIntosh's honoree is Matt Gray. Our Lady of Mercy's are Thomas Smilie and Austin Loper. Whitewater's are Mac Kriesch and Robert Nelson.
The All-County teams and awards were voted on by coaches of each of the schools included save for Sandy Creek which did not make any nominations.
Congratulations on another exciting baseball season.