It was an interesting season for the high school baseball teams in Bartow County as each team had extremely different seasons.
Cartersville overcame injuries to reach the 4A state championship series only to fall in a winner-take-all Game 3 to Jefferson.
Adairsville bounced back after missing the postseason in 2017 to finish as runner-up in Region 6-AAA. However, a tough first-round matchup saw the Tigers’ quickly eliminated from the 3A state playoffs.
Woodland would have traded anything for an early postseason exit after suffering a heartbreaking loss to East Paulding in a five-inning play-in game with the winner advancing to the 5A state tournament.
Meanwhile, Cass labored through a transitional year of sorts with many inexperienced players cutting their teeth on the varsity level.
All told, it led to a pretty straightforward all-county team selection process with team success mirroring number of honorees quite closely.
Player of the Year: Anthony Seigler, Cartersville senior
Was there ever any doubt? Seigler had an outstanding regular season that wound up seeming pretty pedestrian when compared to his postseason numbers. He’s piled up plenty of honors since the end of the season, including Georgia High School Player of the Year from both Perfect Game and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Most importantly, the New York Yankees drafted him in the first round (No. 23 overall) and signed him at slot value, beginning his professional career.
Hitter of the Year: Mason Barnett, Cartersville junior
Barnett finished second on the state runner-up with a .365 batting average and .461 on-base percentage. He had 11 doubles, 32 runs scored and 31 RBI. Not too shabby for a “pitcher.” Barnett’s bat needed to be in the lineup anyway possible. He would always hit for himself, DH for someone else or play second base to get his bat in the order. It’s worth mentioning his spectacular pitching stats — 8-2 record, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .187 BAA and 68 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Pitcher of the Year: Kyler Pelfrey, Adairsville senior
Nobody’s perfect, but during his final season with the Tigers, Pelfrey was pretty darn close. He finished 9-1 with a save in 12 appearances. The only defeat came in Adairsville’s state playoff loss to Pace Academy. Pelfrey, who is headed to Georgia College and State University, had an even 100 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. His ERA (0.89), WHIP (0.71) and BAA (.151) were all ridiculous. He also beat Cass ace Evan Hinton and Woodland star Kenny Jinks in head-to-head meetings.
Levi Ayers, Cartersville senior — Ayers started nine games and appeared out of the bullpen in 10 others, tossing right at 50 innings on the season. He pitched to a 6-1 record with a solid 1.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 46 strikeouts. The future Georgia Highlands Charger allowed just two runs in four appearances during the postseason. Through the middle portion of the season, he combined with Gage Morris and Cohen Wilbanks to form a dominant bullpen, and he came on in relief in two of the three state championship games.
Josh Davis, Cartersville sophomore — There are a couple of reasons Davis is the only sophomore on the all-county team. The most obvious is that he was one of the only 10th-graders to play significantly for any team in the county. But he took full advantage of his opportunity with the Canes, proving irreplaceable as one of only two Cartersville players to see action in every game. He hit to a lower batting average (.310) but matched Barnett with 32 runs scored and 31 driven in, showing his immense potential.
Jake Gooch, Cartersville senior — Gooch showed more toughness and heart than anyone in the county, playing every postseason game, including several at first base, despite injuring his elbow in the second round. The injury will require Gooch to rehab from Tommy John surgery during his year off before he joins Georgia Tech. He had a legitimate case for hitter of the year with his .351/.443/.623 slash line to go with seven home runs, 32 runs scored and a team-high 36 RBI. Yes, he drove in more runs than Seigler.
Hunter Hice, Adairsville senior — Hice became a rock at third base for the Tigers this season. He also helped hold down the middle of the batting order for Adairsville, earning himself a roster spot with Division-I USC Upstate. He hit to a line of .298/.406/.488 with 19 runs scored and 21 RBI for a team that finished second in the region. Hice finished second on the Tigers with eight doubles and tied for the team lead with two home runs. For a power hitter, he impressively picked up 15 walks compared to 21 strikeouts.
Halen Huskins, Adairsville senior — Huskins was an absolute game-changer for the Tigers when he became a mainstay in the lineup. He only featured in 23 of the team’s 30 games, but Huskins took advantage of his early opportunities to become a virtual must-start down the stretch. His impressive line of .328/.474/.492 tells the story, as does his 19 runs scored and 14 RBI. He had 20 hits and drew 11 walks in just 61 at bats. It’s a small sample size, but Huskins proved his value while playing in roughly four-fifths of his team’s games.
Kenny Jinks, Woodland senior — Jinks did everything he could to try to cap his Woodland career with a playoff appearance. He landed Region 7-AAAAA Pitcher of the Year honors for his exploits, which included a 5-3 record, 1.97 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over the entirety of the season. Jinks, who signed with Shorter University, also struck out 75 batters in 64 innings. The left-hander only got better as the season wore on, evolving into a full-blown ace and posting a 1.31 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over the final 11 games of the year.
Jordan Lee, Woodland senior — Lee, who will be joining Jinks at Shorter, earned plenty of admiration for fighting through a rib injury to have a standout senior season. His batting average was a solid, if unspectacular, .309, but his on-base percentage was a stellar .472, thanks in large part to having more walks than strikeouts. He drove in 11 runs and scored 14 times while holding down the fort at shortstop. He ended the season on fire with a .375 AVG and .531 OBP over the Wildcats' final 10 games.
Clay Means, Cass junior — The shortstop led the Colonels in batting average (.320), runs scored (17) and RBI (18). His overall slash line of .320/.442/.493 showed his ability to hit for average, draw walks and hit for power. Means did his best work during the non-region campaign, posting an outstanding .364/.523/.636 line over the season's first 12 games. He will be tasked with helping Cass take the next step in 2019, alongside some of the young players who got their feet wet this past season.
Garrett Mishoe, Adairsville senior — Mishoe’s bat was pure power this season, as 15 of his team-leading 33 hits went for extra bases. Over the second half of the season, Mishoe was undoubtedly the hottest hitter among the county schools. His bat was a big factor in allowing the Tigers to grab the No. 2 seed out of a rugged region. For the season, he boasted a healthy .367 batting average, .431 on-base percentage and .589 slugging percentage. He added 24 runs and the same number of RBI to cap his solid career.
Gage Morris, Cartersville junior — You would be hard-pressed to find a better out-and-out relief pitcher in Georgia this year than Morris. He came on to pitch in plenty of jams and always seemed to wiggle out of trouble when called upon. Morris appeared in two-thirds of the Canes’ games 42 games, including nine of 12 postseason games. He posted a 6-0 record and earned one save with unreal numbers across the board. With his sidearm delivery, Morris kept opponents off balance to the tune of a 0.92 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
Steven Spell, Cass senior — For the entirety of the season, Spell essentially reached base in every other at bat. He finished with a 1.060 OPS thanks to a .319/.495/.565 line. Spell hit four home runs, including two in his final high school game, scored 15 runs and drove in 17. Spell carried the Colonels during the Region 7-AAAAA portion of the season. His numbers went up across the board, as he slashed .341/.517/.682/1.198 with all four of his homers, 10 of his runs and 11 of his RBI coming during that stretch.
Dylan Webb, Woodland senior — Despite batting ninth, Webb proved to be Woodland's most consistent hitter in 2018. The right fielder posted a robust .365 batting average and a .465 on-base percentage. He was solid from start to finish, but the final 10 games of the season saw Webb absolutely rake. His OPS in the month of April, as the Wildcats fought and clawed for a postseason berth, was 1.048, due in large part to an insane .548 OBP. He also scored 13 runs and drove in 15 on the year.
Jordan Wilkie, Cartersville junior — Wilkie will be one of the players counted on to step up the most in 2019. His work during Cartersville’s run to the state championship series shows he’s up to the task. His overall triple-slash line of .300/.364/.400 doesn’t jump off the page, but his marks of .378/.439/.514 during the playoffs prove he can rise to the occasion. Wilkie held down third base this year, again, improving as the season went along. He could be tasked with replacing Devin Warner at shortstop next season.
Caden Gibbs, Adairsville senior; Marco Haro, Woodland junior; Evan Hinton, Cass senior; J.P. Martin, Cartersville junior; Corey Nation, Adairsville senior; B.J. Roper, Adairsville junior; Nathan Smith, Cass senior; Koby Stansel, Woodland senior; Devin Warner, Cartersville senior; Preston Welchel, Cartersville junior; Cohen Wilbanks, Cartersville junior.