War Eagle baseball features three D-1 commits

Published 2:31 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

With three future Division-I pitchers on its roster, East Forsyth’s baseball team looks like the prohibitive favorite in the Central Piedmont Conference. Reagan and West Forsyth are always good.

Last year East and Reagan tied for first place with 12-2 records. West was right behind them at 11-3. Davie (13-12 overall) was a distant fourth at 8-6, the second straight fourth for the local nine.

Davie may be a year away from seriously contending for the league title, but don’t sleep on the War Eagles in 2023. There’s a lot to like about Joey Anderson’s squad.

The tip of the spear is Coy James, who exploded onto the scene in 2022 and became the first freshman ever to hit .400. He is one of three War Eagles to commit to Division-I programs. James said yes to Ole Miss. Last year the shortstop/leadoff man hit .409 with 12 doubles, three homers, 33 runs, 16 walks and 10 steals.

“Does he put too much pressure on himself this year?” Anderson, the second-year head coach, said. “Does he try to do too much? We always hope they’re going to play the game (and not pitch around him), but obviously the other guys are going to have to protect him. If they put him on, he’ll be able to run.”

Davin Whitaker, who last year hit .315 with 23 RBIs, 18 walks, 17 steals, three homers and 23 RBIs, is headed to East Carolina. He will man center field as a senior.

While James and Whitaker are known commodities, Davie has a freakishly talented freshman for the second year in a row in Brady Marshall, who has already committed to high-profile Tennessee. He is slated for the hot corner.

“He had two hits (in a scrimmage against Mt. Pleasant), but I like him in the seven hole,” Anderson said. “I put him down there so he could get adjusted to the (varsity) game. I know he’s played in big situations in travel ball, so I feel like he’s somewhat seen it, but it is still an adjustment.”

Davie has a gifted catcher in Drew Krause, who hit .255 in 47 at-bats as a freshman.

“He was thrown in the fire last year, so he knows what to expect back there,” Anderson said. “I need him to basically control the whole field. He has one of the best arms I’ve seen.”

Senior first baseman Parker Aderhold (.319, 20 RBIs, 20 walks, 11 steals, 22 runs), junior left fielder Ty Miller (.274, 17 walks) and senior second baseman Parker Simmons (.322) figure to be a major part of the equation.

“Aderhold will probably be in the middle of the lineup,” he said. “He’s not going to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but he’s going to put balls in play and put good at-bats together. I wish he was 6-5, but his glove gives me a secure first baseman.”

Anderson has so many capable outfielders that “it’s hard to pick” three starters. Jackson Sink is the leading candidate to start in right. Ty Goodson (.306 in 26 ABs) is a promising sophomore. Junior Cooper Bliss is a utility player who could see time at a number of different spots.

“Since Brady does pitch, I can always move Davin to third and put Ty in center,” Anderson said. “Ty is probably going to be my DH. He’s swinging the bat real well. Cooper can pretty much play anywhere. His arm strength has increased tremendously. There’s a chance he could throw some innings and he can possibly play infield. He could get in the outfield.

“If they’re hitting, I’m going to try to find a place for them to play because defensively they’re all strong. I have a lot of options.”

After watching Bayden Hazlip (8-3 record, 2.06 ERA) star on the mound in 2022, Davie’s new ace could be senior Jaydon Holder, who went 3-3 with a 3.68 ERA as a junior.

“Jaydon has been there,” Anderson said. “He’s got the experience.”

A mound emergence from juniors Braeden Rodgers (2-1 record in 23 innings) and Cole Whitaker (12 innings) would go a long way to helping Davie compete for a top-three finish in the CPC. Rodgers looks like the No. 2 man heading into the season.

“Cole is going to have to step up because we have three-game weeks,” he said.

Anderson said Marshall, Connor Byrd, James and Bliss could see time on the hill. “Coy might see some innings in relief,” he said. “I have quite a few other guys that could give me some innings.”


• Dane Porter and Lawrence Hancock are at catcher and second base, respectively.

• Anderson has added a pitching coach in Joey Cress, who pitched four years in college (two years at Wofford, two at Brevard) before playing professionally for a few years in independent leagues. “I have a pitching coach, which is the first time in a long time. That’s been huge,” Anderson said. “Joey’s worked real hard with them. Before it was: ‘This is what you’ve got to throw because this is what I couldn’t hit.’ But as far as fixing mechanics and understanding what they needed to do, it was hard for me to do that, plus coach the rest of the team.”

• Ross Hoffner is back as a varsity assistant. Sam Wyrick guided the JV in 2022, but Davie has a new JV coach in Brandon Thalasinos, who is known as “Coach T.”

• Davie has 24 on the JV team. “There’s a few guys – like Hunter Daywalt – that could very easily be brought up,” Anderson said. “The reason we have 24 is they’re all pretty much the same. You look for the guy who’s going to work real hard and stand out. You don’t know what a freshman is going to do (three years down the road). He might turn out to be your next superstar.”