The 2011 Heathwood Hall Highlanders look to continue on the winning road that has taken shape after a fourth straight season of 14 or more wins (15-11). In 2010 the Highlanders shook off a very meager start to end the year winning eight of their last nine regular season games and garnering a runner up finish in SCISA Region I-AAA for the second straight year. The Highlanders rode this wave of momentum to exact a measure of revenge beating the Robert E. Lee Cavaliers (who ended the Highlanders’ 2009 campaign) in the first round of the state playoffs. The Highlanders would eventually succumb, however, to Northwood Academy in the quarterfinals.
The 2011 Highlanders look poised and ready to make a charge this spring behind a strong cast of seniors. In their careers, Chris Barton, Thorn Cathcart, Whit Hensley, Derek Kaczmarski, Jonathan Marchant, Sam Stormer and Monty Todd have all had enormous impact on the revitalization of Heathwood baseball. This group makes up six of the eight starters that return to the Highlander diamond in the spring of ’11. Barton and Hensley lead the way for this cast of elder statesmen as both were named All-Region and All-Area in 2010. Add to the mix a few young prospects such as All-Region and All-State honoree Gabe Brandner and the Highlanders should be in the conversation of teams favored to go deep into 2011.
Barton will more than likely make the move from centerfield to catcher, taking over behind the plate for Highlander multi-sport stalwart and 2010 graduate, Walker Sojourner. While Sojourner will be sorely missed, Barton is surely up to the task of filling those shoes. Chris set numerous offensive records in 2010 for the Highlanders as he hit .442 with 2 homeruns and 17 RBI. Barton also showed flash on the base paths, going 28-30 in the stolen base category. For his efforts, Barton was named All-Region, All-Area and All-State and was also selected to play in the North/South All Star game as a junior. Chris should be one of the odds on favorites to take home the Region I-AAA Player of the Year award and will be a name to watch out for in 2011.
Hensley (4-3, 2.83 ERA) looks to lead the deep Highlander pitching rotation. A two-time All-Region selection, Hensley will be Heathwood’s undisputed ace on the mound. Hensley sports a low 80’s fastball with plus control of two off-speed pitches and the ability to throw from multiple arm slots. He should be one of the better overall pitchers in SCISA ranks in 2011. When not on the mound, Hensley will man the hot corner and will also look to contribute heavily with the bat this year, providing some pop in the middle of the order.
Thorn Cathcart (.269, 2RBI) has done nothing but work since the 2010 season ended. Cathcart is better in every phase of the game and looks to improve upon the breakout season that he had during his junior campaign. He will once again be a mainstay in left field for the Highlanders and will hit in the front part of the batting order to create a spark for the Heathwood offense.
Derek Kaczmarski (3-4, 3 Saves) will make the move from third to his more natural position at second base. Derek is a fundamentally solid player who will contribute in every aspect of the game. He will be called on for middle relief and spot starts and will be relied upon to solidify the middle of the field defensively. Kaczmarski looks to improve on his 2010 offensive output and create some production at the lower end of the Highlander lineup.
Sam Stormer (3-1, .30 ERA) was one of the Highlanders’ most improved players in 2010. Unfortunately Sam had his season cut short due to injury, but he looks to rebound nicely and continue his progress on the mound for the Highlanders. Stormer has added strength and a few more MPH in the off season. That coupled with his big frame and fluid arm motion could mean big problems for opposing hitters. When not on the mound, Sam will man first base for the Highlanders and look to continue to surprise teams at the plate as he had a breakout season offensively in 2010.
Monty Todd (.289, 10 RBI) had a successful 2010 season, but really looks to have a breakout year in 2011. Todd hit .375 over the last 12 games of 2010 to rebound from a shaky beginning and if he can put it all together early in 2011, he should be one of the most productive bats in the region. A solid defender, Todd will lead the Highlander defense from short and log some innings on the mound as well.
The emergence of a cast of young Highlanders, most notably Gabe Brandner, Evan Carter and Will Detwiler made a huge impact on the 2010 season and bodes well for the 2011 squad. Brandner (.373, 3HR, 17RBI) has people talking with his mountain of potential. At 6’5” 220lbs, Brander projects very well for the next level and his desire to learn and get better are only aiding in that quest. After being pulled up half way through the 2010 season, he hit 3 homeruns in his first 30 varsity at bats and went on to solidify the middle of the Highlander order with a power bat. The better projection, however, is probably on the mound as Brandner sports a power fastball and plus curve. He is also working on a second off speed option that could turn out to be his best pitch. Look for big things out of this young man in 2011.
Evan Carter is another sophomore that was pulled up mid way through the 2010 season. Carter is a versatile athlete that will see time behind the plate, at the hot corner and probably at second as well. Carter’s bat could be a big asset to the Highlander offense and he may very well play a pivotal role in the outcome of the season.
Will Detwiler , a freshman pitcher and outfielder, could be a pleasant surprise for the 2011 Highlanders. With added size and strength he looks to make an immediate impact on the varsity level. Detwiler was pulled up late last year for defensive purposes, but has worked considerably in the offseason on his fundamental game and now looks to make a splash on offense and on the mound as well. As the only southpaw in the Highlander pen, Detwiler also looks to push for considerable innings on the mound in 2011.
The Highlanders will have a number of other players that look to make an impact during the 2011 season. Jonathan Marchant, Carter Kilmann, Jackson Sisson, Doug Lumpkin, Andrew Cloyd, John Louis Orlandini and Reed Spires will all push for considerable time.