Campbell leads All-County baseball


East Davidson's Nathan Campbell runs the bases during a recent 2-A state playoff game. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)


With a head coach like Dan Tricarico, East Davidson's baseball team isn't exactly hurting for leadership.

But Nathan Campbell is just one of those guys.

Whether it was his production with the bat, his speed on the bases, his defense behind the plate, or his vocal presence on the field, Campbell literally did it all for the Golden Eagles this spring, helping lead his team to the 2-A state semifinals. For his efforts, Campbell is the 2014 Dispatch All-Davidson County Player of the Year.

An all-state linebacker in football and a point guard in basketball, Campbell was an obvious choice to lead the Eagles this season on the diamond. “It's definitely something Coach T and I talked about,” he said. “In the offseason, losing all the seniors that we had, I felt like somebody needed to step up.”

Did he ever. The catcher was a great backstop, and his arm limited opposing base runners' ability to steal bases. He really stood out on offense, where he hit .397 with 10 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 28 RBIs. And, the rare catcher who ran the bases for himself, he stole 10 bases in 10 attempts.

With such a special season personally, and helping lead a team that finished one round short of the state championship, it was like a dream come true. “It's everything,” he said. “It's probably the last time I'll end up touching a baseball.

“My senior year was great. We did great in football, and to be honest, in baseball I didn't know how far we'd make it. It was definitely something, to do that with all my buddies one last time.”

Here is a look at the rest of the All-County team:

Chandler Simerson, senior, infielder/pitcher, West Davidson: The Central Carolina Conference Player of the Year was stellar on the mound for the Green Dragons. He posted a 6-3 record, with a 0.92 ERA, and opponents hit just .170 against him. He struck out 91 batters in 61 innings. At the plate, Simerson hit .300 and drove in 12 runs.

Justin Freeman, junior, infielder/pitcher, West Davidson: “Lefty” completed an outstanding 1-2 punch on the mound for the Dragons. He finished with a 6-3 record, 0.72 ERA and opponents hit just .149 against him. He struck out 81 batters in 58 innings of work. When he wasn't pitching, Freeman did plenty of damage with the bat, hitting .294 with 10 RBIs.

Nick Williams, senior, infielder/pitcher, East Davidson: Williams was a huge part of the Eagles' run to the state semifinals, on the mound, at shortstop, and at the plate. He was 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA and 60 strikeouts. He hit .372 with six doubles and three triples, and stole 10 bases.

Jordan Lakey, senior, catcher, Central Davidson: Lakey was a huge part of the Spartans' offense, hitting .283 with three homers and a .443 OBP. He made almost as big an impact behind the plate, where he limited opposing base runners tremendously with a cannon arm and lightning quick release.

Michael Horrell, junior, infielder/pitcher, Ledford: Horrell was thrown into the rotation early for the Panthers, and he responded immediately. He finished with a 6-4 record, 2.67 ERA and developed into Chris Adams' bulldog late in the season. He helped himself at the plate, with a .373 average and 13 RBIs.

Ryan McIntire, junior, infielder/pitcher, East Davidson: The big right-hander was an absolute stud for the Eagles. He was 7-4 with a 1.60 ERA on the mound, with 63 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .352 with three homers and 25 RBIs.

E.P. Reese, sophomore, outfielder, North Davidson: Reese committed to N.C. State last summer, and proved he was worthy all spring. He hit .347 with five doubles, a homer and eight stolen bases as the Black Knights' leadoff man. He also covered a tremendous amount of ground in center field.

Austin Beck, freshman, outfielder, North Davidson: Whatever ground Reese couldn't cover, Beck certainly could. Lightning fast on his feet, Beck could also hit for average and power. He hit .366 with four doubles and four home runs.

Honorable mention: Tyler Rhodes and Kelvin Pena, East Davidson; Tyler Sellers, Union Grove; Jackson Meadows, Josh Roberson and Preston Blake, North Davidson; Will Lancaster, Jalain Charles, Chaz Hill and Luke Bess, Lexington;



Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220, or jason.queen@the-dispatch.com. Follow Jason on Twitter: @LexDispatch_jq