By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
For the third straight year, the Times-Tribune Tri-County Baseball Player of the Year hails from North Laurel High School. In 2011, former Jaguar and now University of Kentucky player Zach Storm shared the honors with Corbin’s Trace Vorbeck, and in 2012 he won the award again. Now in 2013, Marcus Carson becomes the latest Jaguar to earn the Tri-County’s top honor.
Carson joins a list of solid former winners — Corbin’s Jake Mahan (2005), South Laurel’s Josh Riley (‘06), Corbin’s Brandon Hedrick (‘07), Knox Central’s Jacob Scalf (‘08), South Laurel’s Chris Adams (‘09), Corbin’s Trace Vorbeck (‘10), Storm and Vorbeck (‘11) and Storm again in 2012.
Carson was a no-brainer for the award, turning in a .538 batting average while collecting five home runs, 25 RBIs, 26 steals, 62 hits and 57 runs scored while only striking out three times the entire season. He also led the Jaguars with seven saves on the mound while striking out 40 batters in only 25 innings pitched. He finished the season with a 2.80 ERA and also played a big role in helping the Jaguars go 24-12-1 on the season while capturing the 49th District and 13th Region Tournament championship.
“We’re going to miss him a lot — for a lot of reasons,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said. “Marcus built a great friendship with all of these players. He’s just an extremely special player and person. To bat .538 going into the state tournament and only strike out three times the entire season, that’s how good he is. I’ll tell you this, he’s the best hitter to come out of North Laurel.”
Joining Carson on the All Tri-County Baseball Team are 16 players who turned in an impressive season of play.
Taylor Combs, Corbin — Combs turned in a stellar season for the Redhounds, batting .373 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. He also had a 5-1 record on the mound along with a .90 ERA.
Derek Terry, Corbin — Terry had 37 hits on the season and provided solid defense for the Redhounds. He also batted .308 with 19 runs and 13 RBIs.
Hunter McRight, Knox Central — McRight is only a freshman, but turned in a solid season, batting .319 with 36 hits and 22 doubles.
Jake Nelson, Knox Central — Nelson was solid at the plate for the Panthers. He finished the season batting .349, two home runs, 18 RBIs and 30 hits.
Drew Mills, Knox Central — Mills posted a 4-2 record on the mound along with a 2.05 ERA and 36 strikeouts.
Ethan Maxey, North Laurel — Maxey is one of, if not the best catcher, in the 13th Region, and he’s also pretty darn good at the plate, too. He batted .412 on the season with two home runs, three triples and 24 RBIs.
Weston Griebel, North Laurel — Griebel is only an 8th grader, but he sure didn’t play like one. He batted .333 on the season with 31 hits, 11 doubles, three triples and 25 runs scored. He also led the North with 31 RBIs. Griebel turned in a perfect 3-0 on the mound with a 2.33 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
Zack Hurley, North Laurel — Hurley posted a 6-2 record on the mound while finishing with a 1.45 ERA and a save. He also finished with 53 strikeouts while allowing only 15 hits in 53 innings worked. At the plate, he batted .330 with two home runs, 20 RBIs, 35 hits, 33 runs scored, 10 doubles and five triples.
Logan Mallory, North Laurel — Mallory led the Jaguars with a 7-1 record on the mound and 63 strikeouts in 50 innings of work. He also turned in a 2.38 ERA. He batted .283 this season with one home run, 30 hits, 21 RBIs, and 25 runs scored.
Alex Sears, South Laurel (no stats provided) — Sears helped guide the Cardinals to one of the best records in the 13th Region this season thanks to his batting and pitching skills.
Trey Martin, South Laurel (no stats provided) — Martin was another key player in South Laurel’s success this season.
Daniel Neal, South Laurel (no stats provided) — Neal continues to shine for the Cardinals.
Steven Watson, Whitley County — Watson batted .304 with two home runs and 23 RBIs.
Alex Rose, Whitley County (no stats provided) — Rose turned in solid efforts at both the plate and the mound for the Colonels.
Tilmon Jackson, Whitley County (no stats provided) — Jackson was another solid threat at the plate for the Colonels.
Jonathan Teague, Williamsburg (no stats provided) — Teague hit .383 on the season while going 5-3 on the mound for the Yellow Jackets.