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Super 22: Cyclones' Carter gets top NET honor

By Douglas Fritz • May 31, 2019 at 1:30 AM

Elizabethton’s Evan Carter put together the kind of baseball season that carries a team to big things.

The junior standout was a key part of the Cyclones’ run to the TSSAA Class AA tournament — as a hitter, pitcher and center fielder.

Carter was chosen Thursday as the Johnson City Press/Times News Super 22 Northeast Tennessee Player of the Year. He edged Daniel Boone’s Cade Elliott for the honor.

Carter and Elliott were joined on the first team by Sullivan East’s Perry Casaday, Dobyns-Bennett’s Derek Thurston, Sullivan South’s Drew Creech, Tennessee High’s Davis Hall, Elizabethton’s Evan Perkins, University High’s Michael Degennaro, and Science Hill’s Caleb Marmo.

With Carter taking the ace role and Elliott adding to a tough 1-2 punch in the pitching rotation, there’s plenty of help from Sullivan North’s Braydon Wilhoit and Science Hill’s Landon Slemp among the starters. Dobyns-Bennett’s Brogan Beckner was the pick as the setup man, and Elizabethton’s Matthew Dailey got the nod as closer.

The second team was led by Tennessee High’s Gavin Cross. He was joined by Daniel Boone’s Colby Backus, David Crockett’s Cade Larkins, Sullivan South’s Chase Bowery, University High’s Kaleb Meredith, Elizabethton’s Karson Dillard, Sullivan East’s Dylan White, Cherokee’s Nick Collins and Unaka’s John Ramsey.

Science Hill’s Ryan Edwards was the choice as coach of the year after brushing aside heavy graduation losses and still reaching the Class AAA tournament. Also considered for the honor were University High’s Josh Petty and Elizabethton’s Ryan Presnell.

Super 22 top honors
Player of the year
Evan Carter, Elizabethton
Coach of the year
Ryan Edwards, Science Hill

THE BATTING ORDER

Leading off was the area’s best hitter in Elliott, who was over the .500 mark at the end of the regular season.

Slotted in the No. 2 spot was Carter, one of the area’s most dangerous sticks as evidenced in part by 28 walks in 140 plate appearances.

Casaday led Northeast Tennessee in RBIs and was the clear choice for the No. 3 spot. Likewise, the area’s best power hitter was Thurston, who fit nicely into the cleanup position.

Creech provided plenty of power protection for Thurston in the No. 5 slot while Hall would be ready to drive Thurston and Creech to the plate if pitchers didn’t throw them strikes.

Perkins was the choice at No. 7 for his ability to start a rally or keep it going.

Degennaro adds a tough out in the No. 8 spot while Marmo’s 36 walks made him a glove fit for a second leadoff hitter at No. 9.

THE LINEUP

(With honorary batting order) 

Order Player, team, year Avg HR RBI
1 Cade Elliott, Daniel Boone, Jr. .494 1 33
2 Evan Carter, Elizabethton, Jr. .324 4 27
3 Perry Casaday, Sullivan East, Jr. .420 5 47
4 Derek Thurston, Dobyns-Bennett, Jr.    .375 7 35
5 Drew Creech, Sullivan South, Sr. .373 6 42
6 Davis Hall, Tennessee High, Sr. .386 3 45
7 Evan Perkins, Elizabethton, Sr. .423 2 31
8 Michael Degennaro, UH, Sr. .380 0 33
9 Caleb Marmo, Science Hill, Jr. .312 5 27

THE STAFF

The area’s winningest pitcher earned the ace role. Carter lost his first two games before ripping off 10 straight victories — including one in the state tournament against Pigeon Forge.

The Duke commitment also finished the year with 99 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 72 2/3 innings.

Elliott was basically a second ace, posting Northeast Tennessee’s best ERA. The Tennessee commitment struck out 59 batters in 40 1/3 innings.

Right behind Elliott was the workhorse Wilhoit, who had eight complete games and three shutouts.

Slemp was the team’s lone undefeated pitcher, earning him a spot in the starting rotation.

The setup role went to Virginia Tech signee Beckner, who was in the same conversation with Carter and Elliott when he had his command.

Matthew Dailey was the choice at closer because he boasted the tools to close out ballgames.

PITCHING ROTATION

POS Player, team, class W-L ERA
Ace Evan Carter, Elizabethton, Jr. 10-2 1.35
SP2 Cade Elliott, Daniel Boone, Jr. 5-2 1.04
SP3 Braydon Wilhoit, North, Jr. 9-2 1.05
SP4 Landon Slemp, Science Hill, Jr. 7-0 2.10
 Setup  Brogan Beckner, D-B, Sr. 3-2 2.93
Closer Matthew Dailey, Elizabethton, Sr.    8-3 1.62

THE SECOND TEAM

Leading the way was Cross, one of the area’s most feared hitters. Backus batted .394 and drove in 31 runs while helping Boone win 18 games.

Larkins batted .455 with four homers and 25 RBIs while Bowery had a .504 on- base percentage to go along with four homers and 36 RBIs.

Meredith batted .345, scored 35 runs, and was one of the area’s best pitchers.

Dillard batted .356 with 13 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs and a team-high 21 stolen bases. White batted .429 with 24 RBIs and scored 36 runs.

Collins gave the Chiefs a chance to win when he was pitching and was a feared stick in the batting order. Ramsey led Northeast Tennessee with 106 strikeouts in the regular season and was in the top five in ERA, WHIP and wins.

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