Richland Northeast enjoyed another successful baseball season in 2008. The Cavaliers posted a 17-7 record, went 5-3 and finished in a four-way tie foe first place in Region 5-4A and qualified for the state playoffs.
“I thought we had a very good season considering our lack of depth,” said coach Thane Maness. “I was extremely proud of this senior class and how they battled their final two seasons to post a 35-14 record and a 10-6 record in the region. They won four tournaments in their final two seasons, as well. I am looking forward to the development of next season’s senior class with Ryan Mercer and Kenny Upshaw leading the way.”
Mercer was the RNE pitching ace this season with a 9-3 record and a 1.40 ERA. The left-hander had 79 strikeouts, issued just 16 walks and served up only 50 hits in 70 innings on the mound. He also was a key man on offense with a .403 batting average, 20 runs scored and 19 RBIs.
Upshaw hit .394 with 23 runs, 15 RBIs and 15 steals, and went 2-2 with one save and 23 strikeouts in 15 innings of work on the hill.
The Cavaliers bid farewell to four seniors, including starters David Greene, Will McArthur and Kevin Conlon. Greene had a big senior season – hitting .466 with 39 runs scored, 30 RBIs, 10 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 13 steals. McArthur batted .356 with 17 runs, 22 RBIs, 10 steals and three triples and went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA on the hill. Conlon batted .250 with 19 runs and 15 RBIs.
Domineke Albert, Brett Fulmer, Jason Mohn and Trey Thompson are the other regulars expected to return and form the veteran core of the 2009 squad. Albert, a freshman and a two-year starter, hit .364 with 25 runs, 20 RBIs and 17 steals. Fulmer drove in 16 runs.
The Cavs will remain in Region 5-4A next year, but the conference will have a radical new look. In fact, RNE and Dutch Fork are the lone holdovers from the five-team group of the past two seasons. The newcomers are Lexington, White Knoll, Irmo, North Augusta, Aiken and Orangeburg-Wilkinson.