06/11/17 — PREP BASEBALL: Quintet of county players honored by NCBCA

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PREP BASEBALL: Quintet of county players honored by NCBCA

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 11, 2017 1:47 AM

Five players who helped lead their respective teams to the postseason earned all-state recognition for their efforts by the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association on Friday afternoon.

The quintet selected were Rosewood's trio of Derek Neal, Kolby Harris and Jonathan Peacock; Spring Creek's Christian Yarbrough and Charles B. Aycock's Cody Whaley.

Neal, Harris, Peacock and Yarbrough were each selected to the 1-A squad. Whaley drew a nod on the 3-A team.

Rosewood (23-6 overall) won its fourth Carolina 1-A Conference crown under the direction of head coach Jason King. The hard-nosed, blue-collar squad advanced to the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern 1-A regional title series for the third time during King's tenure in the dugout.

Whiteville ended the Eagles' run.

Neal batted a crisp .440 at the plate with a 37 hits, 29 RBI and four home runs.

Harris and Peacock each commanded the cliff and combined for 15 wins. Harris filed a 2.30 earned run average (ERA) and punched out 55 opposing hitters in 482/3 innings. He delivered a .337 average at the dish with 33 hits (13 extra-base knocks) and drove in 19 runs.

Considered the ace who threw with ice water flowing through his veins, Peacock logged an 8-1 worksheet with a 1.31 ERA. He notched two saves in 12 appearances and retired 63 opposing batters on strikeouts in 641/3 innings.

"I'm very happy for Derek, JP and Kolby for this well-deserved accomplishment," King said. "We were very fortunate this year at Rosewood to have several players on our team who have been selected all-state. Each of these young men played a very important role for our team and its success this season."

Yarbrough broke out of his shell during the Deacon Jones Invitational in late April. The soft-spoken junior made the all-tournament team, and carried his offensive momentum into the final month of regular-season play.

He batted .534 with 39 hits, 23 RBI, and posted an on-base percentage of .611. Yarbrough was 22 of 24 on stolen-base attempts. He hurled 391/3 innings in 12 appearances (eight starts) on the mound.

"Christian had a huge year for us and was a great asset to our program on and off the field," SC head coach Heath Whitfield said. "He shattered many of our offensive records here at Spring Creek and is very deserving of this award."

Whaley drew the toughest assignments in one of the state's most competitive leagues -- the split-classification Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference. The right-hander was 7-2 in 11 starts and fashioned a 1.01 ERA in 622/3 innings of work.

Opposing teams hit .195 against Whaley, who filed 74 strikeouts.

"Very proud (of him) and very deserving," said CBA head coach Charles Davis, whose team finished 19-7 overall and 8-4 in league play during his final campaign as head coach.

"(He) threw well for us all year...competes on the mound and put in the work during the offense. Cody was able to throw all three pitches for strikes."