Local Sports

Offensive catalyst

As the leadoff batter for Avon Park, Alfred Brown utilized his athleticism and speed to spark the Red Devils’ offense.

Brown batted a robust .378, scored 26 runs, had 12 RBIs and the senior speedster swiped a team-high 23 bases to lead Avon Park to an impressive 20-5 record and the Class 4A-District 9 championship.

“Alfred’s athleticism, speed, arm strength and competitiveness were great assets,” said Avon Park baseball coach Whit Cornell. “It was an advantage when Alfred was on base because pitchers had to throw a lot of fastballs to give their catcher a chance at throwing him out.

“He continually put pressure on opposing defenses with his legs and saved a lot runs with his speed and arm playing center field for us.”

For leading the Red Devils to the state playoffs this season and three of his four years, Brown has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Baseball Player of the Year.

“It means a lot to win this award,” said Brown. “All the dedication and hard work paid off and winning the district title and this award is a great way to finish my high school career.”

The Team

Tyler Carr, senior, Lake Placid: Carr was a force on the mound with a 4-3 record and a miniscule .74 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 73 batters in 43 innings, was selected to play in the FACA All-Star Baseball Classic and has signed to play at St. Johns River State College.

“Tyler is an outstanding pitcher and a great shortstop,” said Lake Placid coach D.W. Daum. “He’s an outstanding athlete, has a good work ethic and was a team leader.”

Cullen Lovett, senior, Sebring: Playing as a potent designated hitter, Lovett batted .429 and scored 15 runs to lead the Blue Streaks offense.

“Cullen knows the game and understands its pitch to pitch at the plate,” said Sebring coach Jasone DeWitt. “He made adjustments, came up with key hits and put the team before himself.”

Luis Martinez, sophomore, Avon Park: Martinez batted .397 with 18 RBIs and he scored 30 runs.

“Luis has a positive attitude and approaches the game like a professional,” said Cornell. “He gives 100 percent, played an excellent third base and was a big stick in our lineup.”

Laine Daum, senior, Lake Placid: The senior catcher batted .364 and his strong arm kept other teams from running the bases.

“Laine was solid behind the plate,” the Green Dragon coach said. “He’s a smart player with a good work ethic and he pretty much shut down the opposition’s running game.”

Seth Cannady, freshman, Sebring: Cannady played a number of positions and bated .339 for the Blue Streaks.

“The ball just jumps off of Seth’s bat,” DeWitt said. “He played infield and outfield and came up with some key hits during the season.”

Tyrone Perry, junior, Avon Park: Perry batted .443 with 24 RBIs, 19 runs and the left-handed power hitter belted four home runs for the Red Devils.

“Tyrone has the ability to change the game with one swing of the bat,” said Cornell. “He’s solid at first base or in the outfield and he dominates hitters with his velocity and off-speed pitches on the mound.”

Jacob Cram, junior, Lake Placid: The versatile Cram pitched, played first base and batted .267 for the Green Dragons.

“Jacob gave us a chance to win every time he took the mound,” said Daum.

Jimmy Peck, sophomore, Sebring: Peck was outstanding behind the plate, used his strong arm to keep runners at bay and batted .306 with 14 RBIs for the Blue Streaks.

“Jimmy controlled the other team’s running game and was an offensive threat,” said DeWitt. “He’s a great kid and is only going to get better.”

Mykel Gordon, junior, Avon Park: Gordon batted .287 with 29 RBIs for the Red Devils.

“Mykel had a good season at the plate and was solid defensively at first base,” Cornell said.

Jordan Austin, sophomore, Sebring: Playing center field, Austin batted .277 and scored 22 runs for the Blue Streaks.

“Jordan was the leader of the outfield and used his speed to run a lot of balls down in the gaps,” said DeWitt.

Trey Frazier, freshman, Avon Park: Frazier played outstanding defense at shortstop and batted .280 with 14 RBIs for the Red Devils.

“Trey played like a veteran and made a lot of big plays at crucial times for us,” said Cornell.

Josh Crouch, freshman, Sebring: Crouch batted .271 while pitching and playing several other positions for the Blue Streaks.

“Josh was solid defensively and played three infield spots and in the outfield for us,” DeWit said.

JC Cobb, junior, Avon Park: Cobb batted .373 with 11 RBIs and played well in the outfield.

“JC could play anywhere in the outfield and had some key hits for us,” Cornell said.

Mason Jahna, senior, Avon Park: Jahna batted .286 with 10 RBIs while playing a solid second base.

“Mason was consistent and was a good example for our younger players,” Cornell said.

Alex Gomez, sophomore, Avon Park: Gomez made the transition to catcher and had an on-base percentage of .420 for the Red Devils.

“Alex did a great job behind the plate and was a major factor in our success,” the Red Devil coach said.

Kyle Kelley, senior, Avon Park: Kelley batted .327 with 11 RBIs for the Red Devils.

“Kyle was positive and took advantage of his opportunities this season,” Cornell said.

Daniel Simons, freshman, Avon Park: Simons went 11-1 with a 2.58 ERA for the Red Devils.

“Daniel had a great year for us and did a good job of locating his pitches,” Cornell said.

Kenny McGrath, senior, Avon Park: McGrath went 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA to help the Red Devils win the district title.

“Kenny worked very hard and was a great leader and teammate,” Cornell said.

Honorable Mention

Paul Cantwell, senior, Lake Placid: Cantwell was a relief pitcher and also played in the outfield.

“Paul was solid in the outfield and threw strikes when he came in to pitch,” Daum said.

Matt Portis, junior, Sebring: Portis batted .269 with 17 RBIs while playing the infield for the Blue Streaks.

“Matt is a versatile player and knows the game,” DeWitt said.

Kyle Thompson, senior, Avon Park: Thompson batted .293 with 13 runs scored for the Red Devils.

“Kyle was a solid player for us,” Cornell said.

Jonathan Struck, senior, Sebring: The left-hander had a 4-5 record with a 2.30 ERA for the Blue Streaks.

“Jonathan pitched well and gave us a chance to win every game,” DeWitt said.

Norris Gordon, junior, Avon Park: Gordon had a .444 on-base percentage and scored a lot runs as a courtesy runner.

“Norris has good speed and ran the bases well,” Cornell said.

Everett Hurst, freshman, Sebring: Hurst posted an impressive 1.20 ERA while pitching for the Blue Streaks

“Everett’s record didn’t show how well he pitched,” DeWitt said. “He’s very composed and mature for his age.”

Cody Pearlman, senior, Avon Park: Pearlman played outstanding defense in the outfield and used his speed on the bases for the Red Devils.

“Cody was fast and had an excellent work ethic,” Cornell said.

Coach of the Year

For guiding his team to a 20-5 record, the Class 4A-District 9 title and a berth in the state playoffs, Avon Park’s Whit Cornell has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Baseball Coach of the Year.