White Knoll failed to defend its 2007 Region 4-4A baseball championship, but the Timberwolves made up for it in the playoffs after letting the flag move across town at Lexington.
Jonny Thompson’s team made another fine run in the Class 4A state playoffs, winning a district championship for the second year in a row and advancing to the Upper State tournament. The Timberwolves finished the campaign with an 18-11 record.
“We had a successful season and we competed to the end,” said Thompson. “Seniors Kyle Lawson, Adam Matthews and Corey Warner stepped up along with a group of underclassmen to put together a nice (playoff) run. We hope a good foundation has been laid to compete next year in a very tough team region.”
White Knoll and four other members from the 4-4A cast this season will be moving to the Lower State next spring, joining Dutch Fork, Richland Northeast and Orangeburg-Wilkinson in a new-look Region 5-4A.
Replacing Matthews, who is headed to South Carolina, Lawson and Warner will not be easy. Matthews hit .433 with 40 runs scored, 20 RBIs, five triples, seven home runs and 19 steals out of the leadoff spot in the batting order and was 6-2 with a 3.52 ERA on the hill. Lawson was the WK pitching staff ace, posting a 7-2 record with one save and a 2.45 ERA. Matthews and Lawson combined for 111.2 innings of work this spring. Warner hit .296 with 14 runs and 16 RBIs, while making only six errors on 97 total chances at second base for a .942 fielding percentage.
Defense was a calling card for the Timberwolves this spring. The clun made just 35 errors in 29 games and finished with a team fielding average of .958. At the top of the list was first baseman Corey Holmes, who had just one error on 92 chances for a team-high .989 fielding percentage. Holmes also hit .397 with a 1.180 OPS, 27 runs, 25 RBI and eight steals.
The other top players expected to return in 2009 include Todd Joyner (.230, 13 RBIs), Josh Staley (.275, 2 HR, 12 RBIs), catcher Austin Dunn (.275), Chris Harrison (.278, 20 runs, 14 RBIs) and Zack Smith (.325, 17 runs, 2 HR, 20 RBIs).
Hunter Counts (4-0, 2.33 ERA), Joyner, Harrison and Taylor Britain are the veteran pitchers that will have to be foundation of the pitching staff next season.