07/27/08 — Wayne County South: Young, underclassmen-led squad amasses 16 wins

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Wayne County South: Young, underclassmen-led squad amasses 16 wins

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 27, 2008 11:10 AM

DUDLEY -- A youth-laden roster -- four rising ninth-graders mixed with high school underclassmen -- kept Wayne County South baseball coach Trae McKee on his toes.

Thus, it was a summer of learning.

"I feel like the kids learned a lot about the game, and why we do some different things depending on the situation," said McKee. "I had a group of older guys who were willing to be leaders, and a group of young kids that were eager to learn."

Wayne South compiled a 16-7 record advanced to the second round of the Junior American Legion state qualifying tournament in Cary.

"Obviously you want to be playing your best at the end of the year, but we just didn't get the big hits in the tournament that we needed," said McKee. "I thought our pitching was good enough to take us farther, but we didn't hit enough."

McKee made note of Matt Neal's leadership abilities, and the example Scott Holloman set between the white lines as two keys to the team's success.

"I feel like we really missed Matt's tenacity and toughness when he was injured during the season," said McKee. "As for Scott, he did his mentoring on the field. There was a stretch of about two weeks where I don't remember him making an out ... you could have hung laundry on some of the ropes he was hitting."

McKee said the season gave him an opportunity to evaluate young talent. Most of the players will be in Southern Wayne uniforms next spring.

"Keenan Winn, Kevin Wise, Dwayne Gurganus and Cody Davis are all coming into the high school scene next year and I felt like they all handled themselves pretty well," said McKee. "Keenan and Kevin really handled the bat well, and as a high school coach to have guys like that coming in is exciting."

As far as training and working on fundamentals, McKee stuck to the plan that has made him a successful manager during the high school season.

"We didn't do anything different during the summer, with the exception being that we didn't practice everyday between games," said McKee. "I want to teach the guys to play the game the right way, and to help themselves get better."