Lexington had a strange baseball season in 2009, finishing with a tepid 17-14 record, but there were plenty of highlights nonetheless.
“We had an up and down year but came on strong at the end, winning Region 5 and District 5 before losing out in the Lower State finals,” said Wildcats coach Tommy Mishoe.
Indeed, Lexington won a series of pressure games late in the year to nail down the Region 5-4A pennant (with an 11-3 record) and secure a district playoff title to advance to the Elite Eight. The Wildcats won its final three region outings over playoff qualifiers Dutch Fork, North Augusta and White Knoll to end up in a first-place tie with North Augusta and secure the region’s No. 1 district playoff seed. In the districts, the Wildcats came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Hartsville in a doubleheader to gain a spot in the Lower State championship tournament.
Chris Harper, Alex Brooks and Charlton Herpst earned all-region recognition. Harper led the team in hitting with a .400 batting average, hits (40), total bases (57) and doubles (12), tied for first with 20 runs scored, and was third in RBIs with 18. Brooks hit .277 with 12 runs and 16 RBIs and was 6-4 with a 2.05 ERA withj 79 strikeouts in 65 innings on the hill. Herpst batted .354 20 runs and 15 RBI.
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Harper, Herpst, Kyle Turner (.269, 16 RBIs), Robert Hendrix (2-3, 2.72 ERA), Derrick Smith (4-2, 1.85 ERA, 57 Ks in 45.1 innings, .338 batting average), Tommy Frazier (.340, 18 runs) and Matthew Van Laan (.309, 19 runs, 22 RBIs, 5 HR) are the departing senior starters.
“We will be young and rebuilding in a lot of key areas such as pitching and middle infield,” said Mishoe.
Returning starters Brooks, Jack Blackwell and John McInnis are the top returning starters expected to become the building blocks of the 2010 team. Blackwell hit .338 with 16 runs, 15 RBIs and 4 home runs in 2009. McInnis batted .302 with 21 RBIs and two homers.
Harper was named the team MVP, catcher Blackwell received the defensive award and Frazier was voted the most improved player.