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What’s up with Lebanon?


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4 hours ago, Smitty said:

What’s going on with Pioneer baseball. Losing to Abingdon wasn’t a huge surprise, but losing to Richlands? Really? What’s up with that? 

Well they start 6 sophomores so some drop off was probably to be expected. 
 

Richlands will challenge Va High in the SW-their ace is pretty good…not much pitching after that though.

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I just don’t think Lebanon can hit against good pitching. In the hogo where the arms aren’t as quick they shouldn’t have a problem but once they see someone throwing 80+ they’ll run into some issues. With that being said if va high throws the berry kid when they play them they will have probably have seen the 4 best pitchers in swva

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Lebanon graduated 6 guys off that state championship team. Looking at the stats from the Richlands game I looks like Richlands hit Buchanan well which shouldn't surprise anyone Richlands has always been able to swing the bat. 12 Ks killed them at the plate though putting the ball in play is the best way to beat Richlands. As for the Hogo Holston has one good arm but he is wild everyone else is eh. Northwood has a good team by their standards but they dont have an ace. Chilhowie has the best pitcher in the district out side of Buchanan but Marion and Grayson had great days against him. I dont know much about PH or RR but Lebanon should be fine Doc will whip them into shape when it matters the most come may.

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I think its safe to say Lebanon Is going to be fine. Most people in Lebanon expected a semi rough start playing teams like Abingdon, Richlands, and VA High a couple times each. They are now I think 4-3 on the season coming off dominate wins against Richlands, Northwood, and VA High. The only surprise loss was against Richlands, other than that they've lost twice against Abingdon. Both Abingdon games were closer than the final scores. To me the scary part is they are doing this with one of the youngest teams around. They will only get better as the season goes on. They are going to be a definite contender in the region and possibly 1A. 

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I feel like if they played abingdon later in the season that they would have a stronger chance of beating them. As long as lebanons 1-5 hole hit like they’ve been hitting the past week I don’t see them losing from here on out through the regular season. Lebanons pitching is just too good for anyone else in 1d. Sure some teams have a pitcher that is pretty solid but I feel like they’re main three pitchers could go to almost any 1d team and be their ace.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know much at all about High School Baseball in the coverage area, other than knowing the teams that have been historically tough programs, for example, VA High.

But, I do know this, and it applies all over the country for SMALL enrollments/lower classifications of baseball at single A and 2A levels. It also applies to upper classifications, but is more pronounced at lower levels and that is Pitching. You can have 8 guys that are equal in talent to the other team, or even slightly less talented, but if you have 1 elite pitcher (a D1 guy) and 1 dominant very, very good pitcher (a D2-D3 guy) you can win state titles or at least compete for them. 

When you get a program that is dominant and nationally acclaimed, for example, Whiteville High, NC, they seem to always or nearly always have the pitchers, but the other 8 guys are not average, they call all play as well. When you get this combo, you get a Whiteville, NC, or Cherryville, NC, where they have been elite for 50 years.

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Whiteville High School has always fascinated me. The place is pretty remote, half the size of Galax, produces MLB talent left and right, and has since the 1930's. They currently have 6 players drafted by MLB teams on active rosters, either in the minors or the big leagues. Two in the Padres organization, one each in the Red Sox, Royals, Rockies, and Giants organizations.

MacKenzie Gore was the #3 overall draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2017. He made his big league debut last Friday against the Braves.  https://www.mlb.com/video/mackenzie-gore-s-solid-mlb-debut

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Sixcat, MacKenzie's mom was a pharmacy technician at one time, and I met her and 2 pharmacists (all from Whiteville) at a conference in Wilmington, NC, back in 2014 or 15. I watched Whiteville come to Wilmington and clean house against large 4A schools.  They taught me all about Whiteville, the town, it's baseball history.  Whiteville had a Sports Illustrated article years ago on the towns baseball culture. There is a sign when entering the town that says, "Welcome to the Baseball Capitol of the United States." 

They have a men's softball league that has anywhere from 12 to 16 teams, and the local farmers literally rent out portions of their farms due to the space needed for the games because there are so many teams. They start em out there very early, and the culture is just completely saturated with baseball to where it is almost a cult-like in following.  I dont think I have ever seen anything quite like it. The town has been so in love with baseball for so long that it is now in the DNA. Not uncommon for them any given year to have one going to Coastal, one to ECU, one to Clemson, etc. Just stupid talent on the field for 9 kids for a small school like this.

Whiteville is 1 hour straight West of Wilmington on 74, and on the Eastern side of I-95, and 1 hour from Cherry Grove District of North Myrtle Beach.

 

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My brother and I watched Gore pitch in a travel ball game in Charlotte around 2016. The opposing pitcher was Cole Maye, who won a National Championship with Florida in 2017 as a freshman. Cole's brother is current UNC QB Drake Maye. Another brother is former UNC basketball player Luke Maye. Their father is former UNC QB Mark Maye. 

Gore was a 6'-4" lefthander with a devastating change-up, nasty curve ball, and a 4-seam fastball that topped out in the mid 90's. He had uncanny polish and command for a kid in high school.

Maye was a 6'-7" lefthander with a big arm but lacked the command and polished repertoire of Gore. 

Great game, fun to watch. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
 
 

Sixcat, speaking of Whiteville, they just won tonight in the state semi's in game one, and are 1 more win away (first team to win 2 games) from playing for another state title.  They have two D1 players on the team this year in UNCW pictching commit Ty Lawson (pictcher-UNCW commit) and Bud Baldwin, Centerfielder, who has narrowed it down to ECU, UNCW, and Coastal Carolina. Bud Balwin is the younger brother of former Whiteville player and graduate- Brooks Baldwin, a former Clemson commit, then decommit and commit to UNCW who was just named the CAA player of the year today for UNCW.  He's another one that will play minor league ball and likely have a potential run at the Majors.  It's absolutely silly how this little town does this and just reloads every year with seemingly 1 major D1 player on the roster every year, and often 2, and another 2 or so will play small college.  The Baldwin brothers father, Chuck, played at Clemson, was ACC POY in 1986 and an All-American, and made it to Cleveland Indians triple A, and never made it to the majors, but played 3 years with the Indians Triple A team before calling it quits.  

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