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Bishop Englands Gilbert Earns HSSR-SCHSL Mr. Baseball Award In SC While Windham & Way Lead SCISA Baseball Top Honors

BE’s Gilbert Earns Mr. Baseball Award In SC While Windham & Way Lead SCISA Baseball Top Honors  

Columbia—The sport of baseball was the first all-state sport recognized in South Carolina by the HSSR with an all-state banquet back in June 1987.

The very first all- state banquet was made possible through the generosity of Myrtle Beach restaurant owner Ed Cribb who fed seafood platters to around 200 baseball players and coaches at his Murells Inlet venue known as Drunken Jacks.  He had a son (Buddy Cribb) playing baseball at the time at Myrtle Beach High. Buddy would sign with Florida State out of high school and he played several seasons with the Seminoles before finishing his career with Bobby Richardson at Coastal Carolina.

Among our first Mr. Baseball honorees (late 1980’s-early 1990’s) were Brice Florie a pitcher from Hanahan who signed with the Red Sox directly out of high school and former Lancaster star Earl Cunningham who signed a first- round contract with the Cubs. The Mr. Baseball award is a six-foot tall award comprised of three rows of solid wooden bats. It is thought to be the nicest looking award presented to any prep athlete in South Carolina, but some would argue the Mr. Basketball award presented to Zion Williamson at the 2018 HSSR winter awards banquet is right in there too.  Williamson, posing with his award on Instagram has received 1.75 million views since his proud mother posted her son standing with his well- deserved award.

While there were several outstanding players who got votes for Mr. Baseball though a balloting process made available to every prep baseball coach in the state we have trended to making it more of a career award based (when the vote is close) based on a body of work over several seasons. Bishop England pitcher Geoffrey Gilbert was chosen for top honors after leading Bishop England was the clear choice in the voting after he helped lead the Bishops to their third straight state title.

Gilbert, a 6-2 southpaw, has signed a baseball scholarship with Clemson. “I am honored to have been chosen Mr. Baseball for the 2019 season in South Carolina and I regret that have Clemson orientation the weekend of the banquet and can’t attend in person,” said Gilbert the week of the event. “Baseball is a huge part of my life. I am excited about my future in the Clemson program. Again, I appreciate the honor and I regret that I have required orientation at Clemson this weekend.”

The HSSR-SCHSL Statewide Player of the Year is College of Charleston signee Trotter Harlan who had one of the best senior seasons one can have for the Hillcrest Rams. Harlan batted .565 with 33 RBI’s and he belted 10 homers. On the mound he was 4-3 with a 1.76 ERA.   

Bishop England head coach Mike Darnell is the HSSR-SCHSL AAA Coach of the Year. After leading BE to their 10th state tile in school history he told the HSSR, ““This feels pretty good to win three straights,” said Coach Darnell. “We did what we have done all year, battle until the end. I think being here before for several of our guys helped at the end. They kept the younger guys calm and found a way to win.”

Gilbert, who come on for Salmorin with one out in the sixth, faced four batters in the inning and striking out two. Then with the scored tied in the bottom of the 7th in game three of the title series Gilbert stepped into the batter’s box and worked Drummond for a walk plating Regan with a bases loaded walk to win the game and the state title.

The HSSR AAAA baseball Coach of the Year is Scott Erwin of Eastside High and he coached his team to their first state baseball title in school history this season. This was Erwin’s 18th year as head coach at Eastside.
I guess its always a goal to win state, but we felt like we had some questions going into the year; depth at pitching, new guys moving up from jayvee,” said Coach Erwin. “We ended up, moving some guys around to new positions. So, we really didn't know what to expect early. One thing that was obvious was how well this team got along and pulled for each other.

With the chemistry of this team and the leadership of our four seniors this season was really enjoyable,” said Coach Erwin. “Whether it was practice, weight room, or games they showed up every day and worked hard. They supported each other every day and held each other accountable. It made everyday fun to be on the field.
Once the playoffs started, we felt like we had seen some really good pitching so we thought we would be able to compete at the plate. And our pitching was solid so we thought we would be in every game. Our guys approach to each game and situation stayed the same no matter the score, the game, or who we were playing. They never were fazed by anything.
Noah Mitchell had a good season on the mound. He pitched in a lot of big games for us and really competed. He had a few tough losses, but always gave us a chance to win. In the playoffs he had some big at bats. David Mershon was a big addition to our lineup as a freshman. We felt that every time he was at the plate something good was going to happen. And defensively there is not a play he cant make.
Joseph Mershon could not be more deserving of AAAA Player of the Year,” said Coach Erwin. “It starts with his approach every day he shows up to the field. He has a purpose and focus to everything he does. And then his skill takes over. If we needed a big hit and he was up, it was going to happen.

From the Class A ranks at Seawells today the HSSR is proud to  as he has helped led the Bishps honor Chris Lloyd as the Coach of the year and senior Connor Kirkley is the Player of the Year.

After McBee’s third state win since 2016 title Coach Lloyd told the HSSR, ““This was a very mature team and they never really let that stuff bother them,” said Lloyd.  It’s a special bunch of kids that embraced the expectations. They just showed up every day, practice or game, and put out the best effort they could put out. We knew we had a chance to get back and win it, but we pushed them hard every day. They responded to it well. They loved it. It’s tough the be the favorite but it’s also fun and exciting.”

Kirkley, the Class A player of the year by the S.C. Baseball Coaches Association and the High School Sports Report, finishes his senior year with a 7-0 record and a 0.27 earned run average. The Coastal Carolina signee struck out 58 hitters in 33 1/3 innings of work. At the plate, Kirkley hit .390 with four home runs and 21 RBI.

 In AAAAA baseball Dutch Fork won the state title in front of one of the largest crowds to ever witness a prep game in South Carolina when 6,000 fans showed dup to cheer on either Dutch Fork or Blythewood on May 17th at the Columbia Fireflies’ Segra Park.

Noah Jackson of Dutch Fork is the AAAAA Player of the Year while the Silver Foxes head coach Casey Waites is the AAAAA Coach of the Year.

In the AA ranks Landrum took top baseball honors with a sweep over Oceanside Collegiate. Landrum head coach Daniel Little has been named the HSSR-SCHSL Class AA Coach of the Year and his star player Todd Harris is the AA Player of the Year.

 “When things got a little rowdy, I told the guys to get back to what we do,” Little said. “We eat pressure like candy. We got a little rattled, but we were able to relax and went back to playing one pitch at a time.

 “What an absolute great atmosphere from both schools,” Little said. “This is what a state championship is all about. Lead changes, both teams battling, good pitching. We just made a couple more plays.”

From the SCISA ranks the award winners at Seawells today include HSSR-SCISA Mr. Baseball Austin Windham of Robert E. Lee. Windham led the Cavaliers to the AA state title, and he finished the season at 9-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 68 strikeouts.

“He is very deserving of this award and he has a great future in the game of baseball, and he is very self-motivated and ahrd0working ball player,” said head coach David Rankin, the HSSR-SCISA Statewide Coach of the Year.  Coach Rankin has now won two state titles since 2014 at REL and he has over 30 years of coaching experince.

Hammond won the SCISA AAA title led by AAA Player of the Year Tucker Toman who had 8 hits over the three game title series and the sophomore is committed to Oregon already. Hammond head coach Chris Braciszewski is the HSSR-SCISA AAA Coach of the Year.

Dorchester Academy won their third straight baseball crown led by HSSR-SCISA Statewide Player of the Year Chase Way who has had an outstanding career at DA.  The HSSR-SCISA Class A Coach of the year is Josh Mitchum of Dorchester Academy.

Chase Way led the team in batting with a .507 average getting 38 hits and 17 RBI’s. He also won seven mounds on the mound with a 1.26 ERA.

Coach Mitchum told the HSSR, “We are a super young team and I wasn’t expecting this, but we have good senior leadership and solid pitching and our defense has been good all season,” he said. ‘We put it all together at the end of the year.”

Landon Way of Dorchester Academy is the HSSR-SCISA Player of the Year.

All total the HSSR will honor over 200 all-state baseball players along with Coaches of the Year at Seawells today.  

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