2023 COLLEGE BASEBALL PREVIEW: 89 area products on rosters, including 4 preseason All-SAC selections
By Richard Walker
Eighty-nine Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln county products begin college baseball seasons all over the country this year, including four preseason All-South Atlantic Conference selections, two players from the defending NCAA Division II championship team and a member of the country’s second-ranked team in a preseason ranking.
At Wingate, the 2021 NCAA Division II national champions are favored to win the South Atlantic Conference title and the Bulldogs’ roster includes preseason first team starting pitcher Austin Mitchell, a senior and 2018 North Gaston High graduate. Also on the Wingate roster is sophomore pitcher Brent Walls (Cherryville 2020 graduate).
Other preseason all-league selections include preseason second team relief pitcher Robbie Cowie (Lincolnton 2018) of Catawba, preseason second team outfielder David Bell (Kings Mountain 2019) of Lenoir-Rhyne and preseason third team outfielder Wes Reynolds (from Cherryville) at Tusculum.
Also playing for Catawba are sophomore infielder Jackson Finger (North Gaston 2020) and freshman pitcher Joseph Webb (Burns 2022).
Also playing for Lenoir-Rhyne are graduate pitcher Dakota Caughey (Forestview 2018), graduate catcher-first baseman Tyler McPeak (North Lincoln 2018) and junior pitcher Joey Cobb (North Lincoln 2019).
And at Tusculum are junior utility player Zach Wilson (Burns 2020), junior pitcher Seth Willis (West Lincoln 2019), junior infielder Darien Farley (from Denver) and 3rd-year assistant coach Caleb Narron (Cherryville 2014)
The two defending national champions are junior pitcher Cooper Sain (Cherryville 2019) and sophomore pitcher Noah Ingle (Cherryville 2020) at North Greenville.
And Ty Cobb (East Lincoln 2020) is a sophomore pitcher at Walters State Community College in Tennessee, the No. 8 ranked team in the preseason National Junior College Athletic Association Division I poll.
Here’s a look at other local products whose school’s respective websites have them playing or coaching college baseball this season:
Anderson: Nathan Ledford (Gaston Christian 2019) is a senior pitcher and Brett Eurey (from West Lincoln) a junior oufielder for the Trojans.
Appalachian State: Jake Beaty (South Point 2022) is a freshman pitcher, Seth Whitley (North Lincoln 2021) a sophomore pitcher, Jordan Fisher (East Lincoln 2021) a freshman pitcher and former Belmont Abbey and Gaston Braves head coach Kermit Smith is the Mountaineers’ 7th-year head coach.
Belmont Abbey: Jackson Risk (South Point 2021) is a sophomore catcher and Caleb Burr (East Gaston 2021) a sophomore infielder for the Crusaders.
Berea: A.J. Wylie (Kings Mountain 2021) is a sophomore utility player for the Mountaineers.
Brevard: Cameron Cook (Cramer 2020) is a junior pitcher, Adam Rushing (East Gaston 2020) a junior infielder, Colson Miller (Burns 2019) a senior first baseman and Baylor Wyatt (Ashbrook 2021) a sophomore infielder for the Tornados.
Caldwell Tech: Derek Farley (from Denver) is a sophomore infielder for the Cobras.
Campbell: Lawson Harrill (Crest 2019) is a junior outfielder for the Camels.
Carson-Newman: Hunter Harritan (Lincoln Charter 2020) and Jackson Harbin (Forestview 2019) are junior pitchers, Spencer Bright (Lincoln Charter 2019) a senior catcher and Dylan Dodson (Lincoln Charter 2019) a junior catcher for the Eagles.
Catawba Valley Community College: Carter Lindsay (from Shelby is a freshman outfielder, Gavin Queen (Lincolnton 2021), Samuel Carpenter (Lincolnton 2022) and Clint Turner (from Kings Mountain) are freshman pitchers and Cole Drewery (Crest 2022) is a freshman infielder for the Red Hawks.
Cleveland Community College: Boone Cartee (Kings Mountain 2021) is a sophomore pither, Avery Bridges (Burns 2020) a sophomore pitcher, Noah Sigmon (East Lincoln 2020) a sophomore infielder, Ben Hodge (Crest 2021) a freshman pitcher-utility player, Bradley Harmon (from Kings Mountain) a sophomore catcher and John Grigg (Burns 2016) a 1st-year head coach and Russ Branch (Burns 2016) a 1st-assistant coach for the Yetis.
Coker: Evan Pawlowski (East Lincoln 2018) is a senior catcher, Cody Chapman (Gaston Christian 2021) a sophomore pitcher-infielder and Landon Reeves (North Lincoln 2022) a freshman infielder-pitcher for the Cobras.
College Charleston: Chad Holbrook (Shelby 1989) is a 6th-year head coach for the Cougars.
Davidson: Joe Haney (from Denver) is a junior infielder for the Wildcats.
East Carolina: Lane Hoover (Lincolnton 2018) is a senior outfielder and Mason Smith (Lincoln Charter 2022) a freshman pitcher for the Pirates.
Gaston College: Preston Hall (former Cramer) is a sophomore first baseman and Nathan Williams (North Gaston 2022) a freshman first baseman for the Rhinos.
Guilford: Adam Anderson (North Gaston 2019) is a senior pitcher-outfielder and Allden Horne (East Lincoln 2019) a senior infielder for the Quakers.
Guilford Tech: Bryson Walker (North Gaston 2021) is a sophomore pitcher for the Titans.
High Point: Peyton Fisher (Kings Mountain 2022) is a freshman pitcher for the Panthers.
King: Derek Martin (East Lincoln 2020) is a junior outfielder-first baseman for the Tornado.
Limestone: Colby Humphries (Crest 2022) is a freshman catcher-pitcher, Tucker McSwain (Crest 2022) a freshman infielder-pitcher and Matthew Walker (South Point 2022) a freshman pitcher for the Saints.
LSU: Josh Jordan (Huss 1998) is a 1st-year assistant coach for the Tigers.
Mars Hill: Jordan Lathe (South Point 2018) is a senior infielder for the Lions.
Mount Olive: Dawson Gause (South Point 2018) is a senior pitcher for the Trojans.
North Carolina: Dalton Pence (Cherryville 2021) is a sophomore pitcher and Grayson Guy (Gaston Christian 2021) is a student manager for the Tar Heels.
N.C. State: Matt Heavner (North Lincoln 2022) is a freshman infielder and Zac Flontek (from Shelby) a sophomore pitcher for the Wolfpack.
Pfeiffer: Alec Bell (Kings Mountain 2018) is a graduate infielder, Jacob Landis (South Point 2019) a senior pitcher, Nate Callahan (Lincoln Charter 2019) a senior utility player, Carter Merrill (Cramer 2020) a junior catcher and Craig Bolton (Crest 2011) a 3rd-year head coach for the Falcons.
Queens: Riley Cheek (Crest 2018) is a graduate utility player, Nick Melton (Crest 2018) a graduate infielder, Daniel Bagwell (Kings Mountain 2018) a graduate pitcher and former Gardner-Webb assistant coach Russ Steedley is a 3rd-year head coach for the Royals.
Seminole State: Mike Nicholson (Bessemer City 1980) is a 19th-year head coach for the Raiders.
Surry Community College: Cade Doolittle (East Lincoln 2021) is a sophomore catcher for the Knights.
United States Merchant Marines Academy: Jack Millen (Crest 2020) is a sophomore infielders for the Mariners.
UNC-Asheville: Fermin Osio (North Gaston 2019) is a senior infielder and Bryce Fisher (Kings Mountain 2020) a junior pitcher for the Bulldogs.
UNC-Greensboro: Dosi Jonas (East Gaston 2018) is a junior infielder for the Spartans.
West Georgia: Jared Emory (Cherryville 2019) is a junior infielder for the Wolves.