Unicoi, EHS help solidify All-NET team

By Allen LaMountain
Assistant Sports Editor

    The Unicoi County Blue Devils, with five players named and their head coach Chris Bogart nominated for Coach-of-the Year, the All-Northeast Tennessee baseball squad was top-heavy with Devils at the A-AA level.
   While Bogart missed out on the coaches award to Sullivan Central skipper Brandon Krantz, his team was well represented.
   Devils pitcher Nick Garland (13-1, 2.05 ERA) was named Player of the Year, and was the Watauga Conference's top player as well. Garland led the Unicoi contingent that also included outfielders Darrell Roop (.430, 7 HRs, 20 SBs), Mike Manual (.450, 3 HRs, 40 runs), Marcus Longcrier (.380, 4 HRs) and catcher Justin Benard (.365, 6 HRs, 33 RBI).
   Elizabethton's B.J. Miller was named to the first team at second base, and he put up some impressive numbers for the Cyclones (.314, 28 RBI) as EHS surprised everyone by advancing to the Regional final.
   Rounding out the A-AA squad were first baseman Daniel Bishop (.368, 23 runs) of Rutledge, and University High's Daniel Smith (.375).
   At second base, along with Miller, was Chuckey-Doak's Jarrod Waycaster (.382, 34 runs, 18 RBI).
   The shortstop position was manned by Garrett McConnell (.398, 30 RBI) of Sullivan Central, while the third base slots were filled by Chuck Odom of Sullivan North (.444, 8 HRs, 46 RBI), and Josh Self of Rutledge who posted (.404, 5 HRs, 32 RBI) numbers for the Pioneers.
   Joining Roop and Manual in the All-NET outfield are Sullivan North's Josh Jenkins (.433, 7 HRs, 36 RBI) and Logan Seal (.511, 4 HRs, 22 RBI) of Hancock County.
   On the hill along with Garland are Kenneth Holt of Claiborne County (10-6, 112 Ks) and Brandon Summey of Sullivan North (7-5, 2.25 ERA, 99 Ks).
   The DH spots are manned by Jason Johnson of Chuckey-Doak (.419, 8 HRs, 29 RBI), South Greene's Eric Justice (.358, 6 HRs, 43 RBI) and Drew Harrell of University High, who doubled as a pitcher for the Junior Bucs (.513, 5-7, 2.30 ERA).
   Three utility players slots were filled by A.J. Bales of Chuckey-Doak (.443, 11 HRs, 50 RBI. 3-2, 1.77 ERA), Ben Shew of UH (.438, 4-4, 2.75 ERA) and Region 2-A Player of the Year Jason Gray of Rutledge who batted .373 and as a pitcher was 5-2, with a 2.22 ERA.
   Sophomore Travis Bowers of EHS was voted honorable mention honors.
   Tennessee High's Boodle Clark was named the top player at the 3-A level and was the Big Seven Player of the Year as well. Clark -- who is signed to East Tennessee State -- hit a robust .538 with eight homers and 29 RBI for the Vikings.
   Clark received six of eight possible first-place votes in balloting by eight newspapers in East Tennessee. Thomas Lister (.445, 6 HRs, 31 RBI, IMAC Player of the Year) of Greeneville and Todd Sangid of Science Hill (.383, 30 RBI) also received votes.
   Morristown East head coach Tom Griffin was named Coach of the Year by a narrow margin over Science Hill's Bernie Young and Dobyns-Bennett's Mike Ritz.
   The rest of the 3-A team shaped up this way: 1B - Matt Spencer of Morristown West (.487, 12 HRs, 42 RBI), 2B - Chris Clear of Daniel Boone (.464, 16 doubles), 3B - Josh Gott (.434, 30 RBI) of Sullivan South.
   Lister is the catcher, and the outfield consists of Matt McGahey, Science Hill (.321, 11 HRs, 42 RBI); J.R. Candlish of Sullivan East (.405, 21 SBs) and Morristown East's Chase Shaw (.348, 10 doubles, 3 HRs).
   The DH spots and utility player went to Matt Noe, Morristown West; Aaron Hudgins, Sullivan South and Chase Greenway of Greeneville, respectively.
   Head coach Tony Skole of ETSU will reap some fine rewards of this recruiting season having signed Clark, Unicoi's Benard, Science Hill's Shane Byrne (10-2, 1.98 ERA), Jeremy Hall of Daniel Boone (6-2, 1.52 ERA), and Bo Alford of Science Hill (.347, 3 HRs, 32 RBI).
   Brevard College signed 3-A second-team catcher Andrew Allen of Dobyns-Bennett (.376, 3 HRs, 45 RBI).