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County baseball players rack up all-conference honors

Posted: May 14, 2014 2:30 p.m.
Updated: May 19, 2014 5:00 a.m.

North Central sophomore Tyler Bowers was named the Region 3-AA baseball player of the year after having helped the Knights to a third-place finish and a second consecutive AA state playoff appearance since their return to the AA ranks.
Bowers’ honor heads the list of post-season accolades garnered by players from all three Kershaw County public high school baseball programs. In addition to Bowers, three players each from Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central earned all-league laurels.
Bowers, an infielder/pitcher, led Robbie Cash’s squad with a .444 batting average as well as in home runs with nine, 26 runs batted in and just one strikeout in more than 70 plate appearances. He also had four doubles and a triple.
On the mound, the right-hander had a 4-1 record with a save and a team-low 1.78 earned run average. He struck out 58 batters in 31.1 innings of work.
Three other Knights earned All-Region 3-AA honors including John Bowers, Broderick Gaither and Cam Holley.
Bowers, a first baseman/pitcher, had a big season, especially, in region play for the Knights. The junior finished the season with a .321 batting average with two doubles and 10 RBI while scoring 14 runs and swiping six bases.
Gaither was coming off a season in which he set school records for batting average and hits in a season.
The senior batted at a .370 clip --- including 20 hits --- while his 14 RBI were good for second in the conference. The centerfielder/pitcher, was tied for second in the conference 18 runs scored and had three doubles and a pair of triples while having stolen a team-high eight bases.
Gaither, who had one mound victory in 2014, leaves as one of the program’s top hitters and collected 100 hits in his career.
Holley, an eighth-grade shortstop, finished his second varsity campaign with a .311 batting average as he had 14 hits in 45 at-bats while scoring 18 runs, tying him with Gaither for second in Region 3-AA. A player who was adept at getting on base, Holley led the Knights with 14 walks and was third on the team with five stolen bases.
Camden, the runner-up in Region 4-AAA, placed pitcher Grey Hoke, centerfielder Ross Hough and catcher Nick Tucker on the all-conference team. A.C. Flora shortstop Madison Stokes was selected as the player of the year in the circuit.
Hoke, a 6-foot-2 lefthander, finished his senior season with a 5-1 record with a save with two of those victories coming over top-ranked A.C. Flora and a win against Chapin which helped lock down second place in the conference.
Hoke worked 54 innings, fanning 63 batters and pitched to a team-best 2.33 earned run average.
Hough, a junior, made up for lost time after having returned from Tommy John surgery last year which limited him to performing only pinch-running duties. This past season, Hough led CHS in batting average (.448), hits (30), slugging percentage (.672), on-base percentage (.523), doubles (five), triples (four), walks (13), hit by pitch (four) and total bases (45). He was second on the team with seven stolen bases in eight attempts.
Tucker, a senior, closed his career by batting .397; good for second on the Bulldogs. With a rocket arm at catcher and a big bat in the clutch, Tucker led Denny Beckley’s squad with two home runs. He plated 14 runs and legged out a trio of doubles. His total bases (35) and slugging percentage (.397) were second on the team. Defensively, Tucker committed just one error for a .993 fielding mark.
Lugoff-Elgin, which finished third in Region 4-4A, had Zac Bowers, Russ Radcliff and Blake Serpas selected to the all-conference team by a vote of the head coaches.
Bowers, a right-handed pitcher who signed with Erskine College, had a 3-5 mound mark with a save while being on the short end of three decisions in which the Demons scored two or fewer runs. His 1.90 earned run average proved that his 3-5 mark was more than just a bit misleading.
In 70 innings of work, Bowers struck out 82 batters while allowing 48 hits. He allowed only 19 earned runs.
Radcliff, a junior shortstop, missed more than two weeks of the season with a knee injury before returning to the team for the state playoffs. The third-year starter led the Demons with a .437 batting average. Radcliff legged out six doubles and 15 singles while driving in 17 runs.
Serpas, who was brought up to the varsity at the end of his sophomore season, continued his fine play from 2013 by locking down the third base job this year and hitting for a .435 average. Of his 27 hits, he had 18 singles, eight doubles and a home run while plating 23 runners.
Serpas was hardly a one-dimensional player as evidenced by his .966 fielding mark at the hot corner for Randy Stokes’ squad.

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