The Southern Piedmont Conference baseball coaches have announced the 2011-2012 All-Conference team and, not surprisingly, two members of the 22-win East Lincoln Mustangs anchor the team.
Junior pitcher, infielder and slugger Addison Parrish was named Player of the Year alongside head coach Chris Matile, who took the Coach of the Year award.
East Lincoln led the conference with five players on the All-Conference team. The second-place West Lincoln Rebels added four players, the North Lincoln Knights selected three players and Lincolnton earned on addition.
Matile won Coach of the Year in 2009, and was quick to recognize the athletes and coaches around him.
“It feels good to be recognized,” he said. “Being the Coach of the Year comes from the product you put on the field, and those kids we had and the assistant coaches were a big part of it.”
The Mustangs graduate nine seniors from a team that tied for the second-most season wins in school history, and was the first team since 1976 to go undefeated in conference play. East Lincoln also broke the school records with a team ERA of 1.83 and a fielding percentage of .956.
Senior pitcher David Keener, an All-Conference selection, broke the season ERA record with a 1.83 ERA in 53 innings pitched. Clay Hodges, a junior All-Conference selection, holds the career base hit record for the school with 106 hits.
Matile said he was thrilled to get Parrish back for another year. Parrish finished the 2011-2012 season with a .424 batting average, which led the Mustangs, and had 29 RBIs, second only to Danny Sullivan’s 31 RBIs.
Parrish was also a stalwart of the Mustangs’ pitching staff with a 4-0 record, two saves, an 30 strikeouts.
“He had great field presence,” Matile said. “He commanded the field differently than a lot of kids do, whether he’s on the mound or at first base or at the plate. There’s a level of maturity that he’s reached from last year to this year that’s different. That’s not to say that he didn’t have a great year last year, but definitely the presence he brought this year was much more demanding upon himself and the rest of his teammates. I’m, obviously, very excited to get him back. You finish a great year and you’re always looking to the future, so it’s good to know that we have a player of his caliber coming back. We don’t want to have to rebuild, we want to reload, and he’s going to be a big part of that.”
Matile said he expected the Southern Piedmont Conference to have another exciting year next year, and that he’s already looking ahead to fill spots that will be vacated after losing nine seniors, four of whom were starters, from this year’s team.
“The conference was very competitive,” he said. “There were a lot of tight ballgames up and down the board, and the conference is going to be tough next year. We’re rolling right along. We’ve got our junior legion team going. They kick off this weekend and I’ll be on top of the hill watching them.”
The All-Conference team included West Lincoln’s Brett Huff, Chandler Jenkins, Cameron High and Dalton Towery, North Lincoln’s Joey Royko, Jake Cochran and Justin Norton and Lincolnton’s Jacob Hoover.