Corey Stone used this week’s S.C. Baseball Coaches All-Star games not only as a way to wrap up his high school career but to get acquainted with some of his future teammates.
The Mid-Carolina senior was one six South Carolina signees playing in Thursday’s North-South Select game at Lexington High School. The North won the game, 5-4, on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth.
“We think this class has a ton of talent, and from everyone coming, we think we have a chance to make a big impact,” said Stone, the Class 3A Player of the Year.
Stone started for the North squad and pitched two innings. J.L. Mann’s Jack Stamler pitched in relief for the North but left the game with soreness. Easley’s Logan Chapman, the Class 5A Player of the Year, was selected but didn’t play.
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Ashley Ridge’s Josh Church, Hilton Head’s Carmen Mlodzinski (Class 4A Player of the Year) and Sumter’s Jordan Holladay played for the South team. Church struck out four in his two innings.
“It made me ready for next year. I knew some of them, but I am just ready to go,” Church said.
Stone and Church said the future USC players talked about a variety of things the past couple days, including the Gamecocks’ season. USC had a losing record in the SEC this year and is in danger of missing the postseason for the second time in the past three years.
USC stayed alive in the SEC Tournament with a win over Missouri on Thursday. The Gamecock signees have confidence in coach Chad Holbrook and the future of the program.
“We all believe in coach Holbrook and what he could do,” Stone said. “It just makes us more hungry and determined to bring it back where the tradition was at and bring things back on the right track.”
“They haven’t done so hot this year, but the greats can’t be perfect all the time,” Holladay said. “Hopefully, it is just a divot, and that isn’t that bad. I feel confident with the talent out here today and others coming in that we will be OK.”
Holladay is one of the top power hitters of this year’s class. He hit eight homers this season and finished with 20 for his career.
The Sumter standout also qualified for the high school portion of the South Atlantic League Home Run Derby by hitting eight homers Sunday at Spirit Communications Park. Holladay and four other high school players will compete in the derby June 19, along with eight South Atlantic League players.
S.C. All-Star Game results
North-South Select: North 5, South 4
MVPs: Ward Hacklen (Dutch Fork), Austin Morgan (Easley)
Class A/2A/5A: South 10, North 0
MVPs: Todd Mattox (Blythewood), Kobe McKinnon (Fort Mill)
Class 3A/4A: South 14, North 11
MVPs: Beau Thompson (Daniel), Michael Thigpen (Colleton County)