CHARLOTTE — For the second year in a row, multiple high school baseball players representing Surry County schools have been chosen to the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association’s All-State Team.
Named to the 2A NCBCA All-State team were North Surry’s Kendal Tucker, who earned the honor for a second year in a row, and Surry Central’s Tyler Myers, a senior who made the team for the first time. Earning a nod on the 1A squad for the first time was East Surry sophomore AJ Wilson.
Tucker had a monster senior year, following up his 2016 All-State performance with a year in which he hit .600, one of the 20 best performances by a North Carolina high school player ever. Prior to the start of the season, he signed to play for Division I Winthrop University next season. He ended up getting a late start on baseball season when the Greyhounds’ basketball team — for which he was also a standout and could have signed for that sport had he wished — reached the 2A state championship game.
In addition to his average, Tucker had nine doubles, three triples, four home runs and drove in 26 runs in just 19 games, with 20 runs scored.
Tucker, who stands 5’10” and weighs 165 pounds, played primarily on the left side of the infield, at third base and shortstop. He was a preseason Honorable Mention Rawlings All-American, but the end-of-year team has yet to be announced.
Myers, a 6’4”, 185-pound senior who pitched and played first base for the Eagles, was already a candidate before he made his final pitching appearance of the 2017 season, but what he did on the night of May 9 may have clinched his spot on the All-State Team.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Golden Eagles hosted Maiden, and the Blue Devils sent their ace pitcher Caden O’Brien to the mound. O’Brien came into the game 8-0 with an 0.70 ERA, with 94 strikeouts in 50.1 innings of work, and the senior had already signed a scholarship to play for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He went home 8-1, as Central rallied for a 3-2 victory, and Myers earned the victory by outpitching his heralded foe, with seven strikeouts over six innings of work. He also drove in the winning run during the Eagles’ sixth-inning rally.
For the season, Myers had a 10-1 record on the mound, along with three saves. He allowed just 36 hits in 52 innings of work, and struck out 82 men against just 24 walks. In addition to his victory over O’Brien, he also tossed an April 28 complete-game win over Forbush, earning the only regular-season win by another 2A school against the Falcons. His season ERA was 1.73. At the plate, he hit .303 for the season and drove in 18 runs.
Wilson had a breakout season for the Cardinals, starting in 11 of the team’s 25 games and helping the Cardinals to share the Northwest 1A Conference regular-season title, then win the conference tournament and take the No. 1 overall seed for the 1A state playoffs. He posted a 9-1 record with an 0.76 ERA for the season, while striking out 117 men in 64 1/3 innings of work. His only defeat of the season came off an unearned run in 1-0 loss to Pine Lake Prep in the state playoffs.
He was also East Surry’s No. 3 hitter for most of the season, and in that role, batted .359 with seven doubles, six home runs, and 24 RBI.
“This is an amazing accomplishment for AJ and the entire East Surry program is proud of him,” said East Surry head coach Chad Freeman. “Over the past year, AJ put in a tremendous amount of work to continue his improvement as a baseball player. It’s great to see all of his hard work rewarded with a selection to the All-State team, recognizing AJ as one of the best players in the state this past year.”
The North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association (NCBCA) works to promote baseball throughout North Carolina on all levels, and is responsible for choosing the All-State teams each season. The NCBCA is the voice of high school baseball coaches to the NCHSAA in regards to rule changes and other baseball related issues.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.