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The awards continue to pile up for accomplished junior baseball players Chad Bean of Fike High and Tyson Bass of Hunt.
And Thursday, Bean’s teammate Hunter Stokely, also a junior, joined their circle of honor.
Each member of the trio was named to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association’s 3-A All-State team. Bean, the ace of the Golden Demons pitching staff, is a repeater.
Bean and Stokely triggered Fike to a dazzling 22-2 record in 2019, to the 3-A Big East Conference championship and into the fourth round or Eastern semifinals of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.
Bean was proclaimed the conference’s pitcher of the year and joined Stokely in the all-conference lineup.
“They are definitely deserving with the stats they had and the year we had,” said Fike head coach Buck Edmundson. “And they will both be back, and that’s always a plus.”
PRIDE OF BIG EAST
Bass not only earned All-Big East acclaim but was honored as the conference’s player of the year. Bass was No. 1 on the pitching staff and the third baseman for a Warriors squad that posted an 18-6 record, finished in a tie for second in the conference and reached the third round of the 3-A playoffs.
“Well deserved,” Hunt head coach Jon Smith reacted to Bass’ recognition. “He put in a ton of work and had a good year. I am really proud of him.”
Smith expressed pride in the all-state representation that Bass, Bean and Stokely provide for the Big East Conference and assures their return to respective programs should contribute to championship-quality baseball in the league in 2020.
“All three had really good years,” Smith said.
BASS IN 2019
On the mound, Bass, a right-hander, posted a 7-3 record with one save and a 2.14 earned run average. He hurled one shutout and one complete game. In 55 2/3 innings, Bass struck out 59 and walked just 18.
Bass excelled at third base and, at the plate, batted .390 with 20 runs scored, 13 runs batted in, six doubles and a home run.
Although appreciative, Bass indicated he’s not much on awards and learned of the all-state accolade earlier Thursday.
“I like to win ball games,” he declared. “I didn’t know about the award until today. But it feels pretty good and is a good honor to have.”
Of deserving the attention, Bass responded: “I made it by playing to the best of my ability and making my team better. That turned out to be pretty good.”
BEAN IN 2019
Bean won nine of his 10 decisions and posted a 3.05 earned run average and one save. In working 59 1/3 innings, he issued only eight walks and 20 earned runs while striking out 66. Bean yielded just 33 hits.
In contrast to his sophomore season, Bean played in the field and batted .375 with 12 RBIs and a .412 on-base percentage.
Bean noted he learned of his all-state repeat approximately an hour before being interviewed. Earlier, he was unaware he had been named Big East Pitcher of the Year until being contacted by The Wilson Times sports department.
“Going into the year, my goals were to be pitcher of the year again and make all-state,” Bean commented. “I was happy to get both of them. I expected to get it again but I didn’t know if I would because my (pitching) numbers were not as good this year.
“I think my hitting helped me get it — that helped my case.”
“Repeating is hard to do,” Edmundson assured. “There are a lot of great players. But Chad is a fabulous player.”
STOKELY IN 2019
Stokely spent the most time at third base, but filled in at the middle infield positions and functioned as the Golden Demons’ closer.
In conference play, Stokely batted a sizzling .583 with a .615 on-base percentage. He slugged five doubles and a triple. Against non-conference foes, Stokely slammed two homers. In a relief role, the right-hander went 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Stokely, who has verbally committed to the University of North Carolina, figured missing four games cost him any chance of being chosen league player of the year, but reasoned: “It didn’t bother me. I just wanted us to win.”
He learned of his all-state recognition from a teammate Thursday morning in Surprise, Arizona, at the spring training facility for the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals while playing for the EvoShield Canes of Virginia in a national showcase tournament. Stokely plays first base and pitches.
“It feels good to make it,” Stokely assured. “ I really wanted the team to win the state championship, but it’s a good accomplishment to have. I like it because I worked hard to get back to the place I was before.”
Edmundson hailed Stokely as an exceptional high school hitter and voiced excitement about the goals he and Stokely have discussed for Stokely’s senior season.
“There is nothing not to like about him,” Edmundson remarked. “He is a presence in the left-handed batters’ box. He has great plate coverage and a great eye for the ball. He’s got room to grow and get better. The sky is the ceiling.”
While Stokely is playing at the national level this summer, Bass and Bean are members of the Dirtbags travel team.