High School Sports

All-Area baseball: Autry slugged, pitched his way to top honor

Trent Autry hit .500 this season with nine home runs, but was equally devastating on the mound for Chester where he allowed just seven hits and two earned runs in 28 innings and threw three no-hitters.
Trent Autry hit .500 this season with nine home runs, but was equally devastating on the mound for Chester where he allowed just seven hits and two earned runs in 28 innings and threw three no-hitters. Photo by Barbara Powell

If there were such a thing as high school fantasy baseball, Chester’s Trent Autry would have made lucky owners a killing in winnings the last few months.

The Cyclones senior posted some fantastical statistics during a spring in which he helped Chester baseball to its first postseason win in more than 10 years.

Autry smashed the ball all over the state throughout the spring, while shutting down opponents almost every time he took the mound. The senior threw three no-hitters, while allowing just seven hits and two earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. Although he has a commitment to USC Lancaster, Autry stands a good shot at getting drafted by a Major League Baseball club.

Without a doubt, Autry was The Herald’s baseball player of the year.

The All-Area coach of the year – Lewisville’s Billy Keels – worked for his honor. The Lions started 8-7, losing three games in Region 3-A, which many predicted they would dominate despite several teams being ranked in the state.

After a solid showing at the Wheels Invitational, Keels’ Lewisville club refocused, won 12 of the next 13 games, and very nearly chased down the school’s seventh state title. Lewisville pushed Latta all the way before falling in the 1A state finals. Keels wins the area’s top coaching award for orchestrating the turnaround that got his team to the title series.

Player of the year: Trent Autry, Chester

Coach of the year: Billy Keels, Lewisville

First team

Trent Autry, Chester: Senior shortstop/pitcher batted an even .500 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. Autry drew 18 walks with just nine strikeouts, part of a .624 on-base percentage. Autry was just as good pitching for the Cyclones, producing a 3-1 record with a 0.49 ERA. He struck out 51, allowed just 14 walks and only two earned runs in 28 1/3 innings. Autry was chosen to the South Carolina Select team that plays North Carolina’s all-stars, and also made 3A All-State.

Josh Alley, Chester: Senior who has signed with Erskine batted .485 with four home runs and 41 RBIs and a .909 slugging percentage. Alley, a North-South all-star, also pitched 38 innings, going 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 68 strikeouts.

Jake Wright, Chester: Junior pitcher/outfielder committed to South Carolina hit .422 with a home run, 13 RBIs and a .563 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot. On the mound, Wright was 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 43 innings.

Evan Sisk, Lewisville: Senior pitcher headed to College of Charleston struck out 114 batters in 77 innings with an ERA of 0.90. An All-State selection and the Region 3-A player of the year, Sisk hit .432 and struck out just four times in 100 at-bats.

Clay Hunt, Nation Ford: College of Charleston-signed senior batted .395 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs. Hunt, an All-State selection, Region 3-4A tri-player of the year and S.C. Select team member, was 4-2 on the mound with 71 strikeouts and14 walks to go with a 1.71 ERA.

Dupree Hart, Northwestern: Hart was named the 4A player of the year by the High School Sports Report, and like Autry, is a finalist for Mr. Baseball from the same publication. Hart was one of three players to share the Region 3-4A player of the year award, the third such honor of his career at Northwestern. The College of Charleston signee and All-State selection had another excellent season at shortstop and hit.476 with two home runs, 29 RBIs, 18 walks and 15 stolen bases.

Zach Carter, Rock Hill: Senior first baseman made All-State after batting .473 with a home run, 13 doubles and 19 RBIs. Carter, who signed with Erskine, was one of three All-Region 3-4A players of the year, along with Hart and Hunt.

Caleb Hamilton, Rock Hill: An Erskine signee, was sharp at shortstop and as a relief pitcher. . He made All-Region 3-4A after batting .345 with 11 RBIs and 14 stolen bases, and also had a 1.91 ERA in 14 innings.

Second team

Jimmy Marcelli, Clover: Junior pitcher/shortstop hit .351 with a home run and 25 RBIs, and was 3-2 as a pitcher with a 2.66 ERA in 25 innings.

Drew Colvin, Lewisville: Sophomore was 7-1 with a 1.98 ERA. Colvin made All-Region 3-A after striking out 81 batters in 70 2/3 innings.

Alex Stennett, Nation Ford: Sophomore All-Region pick batted .431 with 17 stolen bases and two errors at second base.

Brandon Ashley, Northwestern: Sophomore catcher provided pop in the Northwestern lineup, batting .450 with four home runs and 29 RBIs.

Eric Taylor, Northwestern: North-South All-Star signed with Furman hit .346 with two home runs, six doubles and 27 RBIs. The right-handed All-Region pick was 6-3 as a pitcher with a 3.65 ERA.

Cameron Smith, Northwestern: Pitcher/infielder hit .347 with 23 RBIs and was 4-0 as a pitcher with a 0.84 ERA.

Isaac Rodgers, Rock Hill: Another Bearcat senior headed to Erskine, Rodgers batted .373 with 18 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. He was 6-3 as a pitcher with an ERA of 2.31 and 43 strikeouts.

Ryan Gilbert, York: All-Region 3-4A senior right-handed pitcher was 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 50 innings. Gilbert will play college baseball at Erskine.

Patch Edwards, York: Senior outfielder batted .470 and make the All-Region 3-4A team.

Honorable mention

Clay Helvey and Mason Jordan, Fort Mill; Barrett Courtwright, Clover; Brandon Fite, Nation Ford; Wes Bostic and Will Reid, Rock Hill; Cody Montgomery and Trey Keels, Lewisville; Daniel Gueldner, Indian Land; Harrison Childers, York; Grant Golke, Northwestern.

Bret McCormick •  803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T