Stand next to Tyler Causey for even a few seconds and you can imagine the ground the Nation Ford senior covered on the left side of the Falcons’ infield.
The 6-foot-6 North Carolina signee covered just as much ground at the plate, holding a bat in his hand. He hit .444 with four home runs and 26 RBI, and had an .857 slugging percentage. Fifteen extra-base hits boosted that figure. Former Nation Ford coach Stas Swerdzewski said Causey has the most raw offensive power of any player he’s ever coached.
But Causey didn’t coast on natural gifts alone.
“He understands that relying on his natural talent alone was not allow him to reach his potential,” said Swerdzewski, who recently took the head job at Catawba Ridge. “Tyler has been laser-focused on becoming the best baseball player that he can be. I think he will be a star in both college and professional baseball.
Causey is The Herald’s 2019 All-Area baseball player of the year, besting a significant challenge from Fort Mill’s J.T. Marr, who Yellow Jackets coach Travis Collier said led the state in RBI (47).
Speaking of Collier, he is the All-Area coach of the year, recognition that feels like it’s been building since he took over as head coach at his alma mater. Collier led Fort Mill to 20-plus victories the last two seasons. The win total jumped to 28 this year, and the Yellow Jackets were ranked No. 1 in the state for a chunk of time. They fell in the 5A Upper State championship, but placed a state playoff marker that they expect to hit again in the coming seasons.
Player of the year: Tyler Causey, Nation Ford
Coach of the year: Travis Collier, Fort Mill
(Listed alphabetically by school)
Jared Dixon, Chester - senior outfielder/infielder hit .442 with three home runs, 12 doubles and 12 stolen bases. Dixon was an All-Region 4-3A pick for the Cyclones.
J.T. Marr, Fort Mill - senior hit .408 with 13 doubles, two triples and two home runs, and a state-leading 47 RBI.
Chase Dougherty, Indian Land - junior catcher was named All-State and All-Region 4-3A after a stellar offensive spring. Dougherty hit .500, with 27 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
Russell Noland, Lewisville - junior All-Region 4-2A catcher swung a big bat for the Lions, hitting .453 with 21 RBI and only five strikeouts in 53 at-bats.
Tyler Causey, Nation Ford - University of North Carolina-bound shortstop was the Region 3-5A co-player of the year, as well as a 5A All-State pick. Causey batted .444 with four home runs and 26 RBI, drawing 16 walks in 81 plate appearances. He also had an .857 slugging percentage and 15 extra-base hits.
Jeffrey Maidhof, Nation Ford - 5A All-State senior signed with Queens University was one of the state’s best pitchers this spring. Maidhof was 7-1 on the mound with a 0.76 ERA, 57 strikeouts and just six walks in 55 innings of work. The All-Region 3-5A pick also hit .284 with 11 RBI.
Willie Lumpkin, Rock Hill - senior shortstop/pitcher hit .408 with two home runs and 18 RBI. He had a 5-3 pitching record with 44 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA in 48 innings
Ty Good, South Pointe - College of Charleston signee hit .391 with a home run and 17 RBI. Good struck out 51 batters and walked just 14, while producing a 4.33 ERA on the mound.
Nick Clayton, York - Clemson signee was 5-0 on the mound, striking out 58 batters in just 35 innings. That helped him accumulate a mere 1.38 ERA.
Connor Manco, Fort Mill - UNC Charlotte recruit hit .379 with four home runs, 28 RBI and 23 runs scored.
Connor Rasmussen, Fort Mill - freshman had a great season, hitting .400 with two home runs and 16 RBI.
Isaac Beirne, Fort Mill - senior pitcher was an ace for the Yellow Jackets, posting a 9-1 record with a 2.07 ERA in 57 innings pitched. Beirne struck out 38.
Carson Jones, Fort Mill - senior hit .366 with 21 RBI and four doubles.
Lawson Otte, Indian Land - first baseman signed with Coker hit .488 with 14 RBI, and a .990 fielding percentage.
Luke Harris, Lewisville - junior utility man hit .404 with a home run and 17 RBI. Harris also had 10 doubles.
Zack Santner, Lewisville - junior All-Region 4-2A pitcher/centerfielder hit .419 while drawing 22 walks.
Colby Guy, South Pointe - sophomore hit .345 with 14 RBI, walked eight times and only struck out four. He also had a 2.71 ERA in seven pitching appearances.
Dylan Smoak, York - junior had a 1.56 ERA in 40 innings of pitching, including 54 strikeouts. Smoak also hit .333 with 10 RBI and 10 doubles.
Kolby Crepeau and Jake Hylinski, Clover; Patrick Matthews and Brady Stone, Fort Mill; Kyle Raynor, Indian Land; Justin Lehman, Bradley Bott and Xavier Cumbee, Nation Ford; Joel Haney, Will Dorrell, Dustin Noller and Kyle Perdue, Northwestern; Luke Banks and Cole Bitting, Rock Hill; Cody Craig and Chris King, South Pointe; Hunter Parks, York.