HV sophomore Caldwell gets nod as player of year

from staff reports
Happy Valley, Unaka and Elizabethton dominate the All-Carter/Johnson County baseball team for the 2004 season.
Happy Valley won the tough Watauga Conference while racking up a 20-plus win season. While Unaka finished the year 26-13 en route its second straight state tournament appearance, Elizabethton won 19 games -- the most wins in 25 seasons for a Cyclone baseball team.
This team could be one of the best ever, with several players putting up incredible numbers against some stiff competition.
Player of the year was a close call, with Happy Valley's Todd Caldwell gathering the honor. Caldwell's ability to play anywhere on the field led to this selection.
The sophomore sensation was 7-3 on the mound with 94 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA in 54 innings of work. He batted .412 with four home runs and 30 RBIs.
The infield is as good as it gets, with Travis Bowers of Elizabethton getting the nod at first base. Bowers hit a whopping .469 for the season, and had two home runs and 27 RBIs, including 15 doubles.
Bowers is an excellent third baseman but proved he could play first with his versatility. The double-play combination of Chad Lewis and Rusty Chambers of Unaka was selected at shortstop and second base, respectively.
Lewis runner-up to Caldwell hit .437 with four home runs and 37 RBIs. Chambers, the 2003 player of the year, batted .412 with four home runs and 34 RBIs. Both Lewis and Chambers walked 29 times and were four-year starters for the Rangers.
Ricky Morgan anchors third base. Morgan knocked in a phenomenal 47 runs while batting .415 with five home runs. Morgan's play both offensively and defensively was a key in the Warrior's conference championship drive.
The outfield is solid, with Tim Whaley of Happy Valley in left, Mark Byrd of Cloudland in center and Nat Treadway of Elizabethton in right. Whaley batted .388 with five home runs and forty RBIs while Byrd hit .405 and led the team in stolen bases and home runs.
Treadway finished at .388 and proved to be one of the best No. 2 hitters in the area. His ability to move runners into scoring position and great defensive play in the outfield played a huge part in the Cyclones success.
Nathan Paisley represents Johnson County as the catcher. Paisley led the conference with nine home runs and flashed one of the top mitts in Northeast Tennessee.
Adam Miller of Hampton is our designated hitter. The big senior batted .420 with two home runs, including a grand slam in the Bulldogs' one-run loss at Unicoi County.
Four pitchers are on the squad, with Elizabethton's left-handed ace Zach Stipe and Warrior right-hander pitcher Shannon Buchanan getting the starting nods.
Stipe was 5-3 on the season with a 3.00 ERA. He had 60 strikeouts, pitched two shutouts with one perfect game.
Buchanan was 7-1 on the season with an era of 1.34. Buchanan won several big games, including key conference wins over Unicoi and Sullivan North.
The right-handed closer is Ryan Toney of Happy Valley. Toney was 5-3 on the season with 54 strikeouts. With a fastball in the mid 80s Toney gave opponents fits with his velocity.
Randy Swearingen is the left-handed closer. He pitched a three-hit shutout at Unicoi, racked up a sub-state win over 30-game winner Harriman, and defeating Volunteer.
Greg Hyder gathers coach of the year honors. Hyder's Warriors captured the school's first baseball conference championship since 1979. With only one senior on this year's squad, Happy Valley will be the favorite to repeat in 2005.
The second team features Jordy Harrison (.307) of Happy Valley at first base, with Ricky Garrison, Elizabethton (.316, 21 RBIs) at second.
Jesse Jenkins, Johnson County's slick fielding shortstop, earns that position, while Clint Steiner (.458) of Cloudland takes third. Nathan Bishop (.319) of Elizabethton is at catcher while Unaka's Ryan Bowers (.358) and Johnson County's Michael Davis share the designated-hitter spot.
The outfield consists of Cody Collins (.350) of Unaka in left, Ryan Garland (.318) of Happy Valley in center and Justin Waycaster (.308) of Hampton in right.
Johnson County's Gary Evans and Unaka's Tee Blevins get the starting slots as pitchers while Mitchell Blevins of Elizabethton and Daniel McInturff of Unaka are selected as the closures.
Honorable Mention in the coach-of-the-year selection goes to Steve "Pink" McKinney of Elizabethton and Mike "Acie" Ensor of Unaka.