In the final furlong of the school term, final exams are the primary focus of area students, determining for some whether they’ll see their name among those on the honor roll.
With the sun having gone down on the prep baseball and softball seasons in South Carolina, area standouts have fielded more than their share of awards and accomplishments, just reward for productive years on the field.
For an even more select group, however, one last honor may await.
The list of candidates for Toast of the Coast baseball and softball players of the year has been trimmed to 11 finalists — six for baseball, while softball is down to its top five.
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Still being considered for the baseball award are Myrtle Beach’s Luke Edwards, Christian Maggio of Carolina Forest, Georgetown’s Tyler McAlister, Jaret Montenery of Waccamaw and Aynor’s Walt Richardson.
As for the softball finalists, they are Taylor Charlton of Aynor, St. James’ Dominique Gross, Conway’s Neci Hemingway and teammate Taylor Richardson, as well as Myrtle Beach’s Cayce Roberts.
Each of the players will be among the publication’s Toast of the Coast selections, along with other of the area’s top performers and coaches for each sport.
Area high school baseball and softball fans can get in on the selection process by voting in the polls below. The fan vote will make up a percentage of the vote, with The Sun News prep sports team and area coaches making up the other share.
Voting is open till Monday, June 5 at 5 p.m. Full Toast of the Coast teams will be revealed soon after.
Here’s a look at how each of the finalists fared this past season:
▪ Luke Edwards, Myrtle Beach: The Seahawks shortstop batted .424 this past season, hitting eight home runs and 17 RBIs on the year. He also scored 28 runs, doing his part to help Myrtle Beach to the Region VII-4A championship.
▪ Christian Maggio, Carolina Forest: Hit .325 this past season, with three homes and 19 RBIs to his credit. The Charleston Southern signee was an All-State selection for the 2017 baseball campaign, along with being a member of the S.C. Select All-Star team.
▪ Tyler McAlister, Georgetown: Batted .365 this past season for the Bulldogs, with 27 runs scored and seven RBI on the season. He also had an on-base percentage of .478, striking out only twice during the 2017 baseball campaign. On the mound, he pitched better than 40 innings, earning a 2.08 ERA while striking out 51 opposing batters.
▪ Jaret Montenery, Waccamaw: An All-State 3A selection this past season, the Warriors ace finished with a 5-3 record and two saves, in the process racking up a 1.68 ERA. He was equally dangerous in the batter’s box, hitting .429 while scoring 21 runs and bringing in 17 more.
▪ Walt Richardson, Aynor: The Blue Jackets slugger batted .319 this past season, hitting 10 home runs while notching 32 RBIs. He was voted an All-Region VI-3A performer, in addition to being part of the All-State 3A team.
▪ Taylor Charlton, Aynor: The Blue Jacket standout batted .479 this past season, bringing in 26 runs while scoring 25 of her own. She struck out only once during the entire 2017 softball campaign. Primarily behind the plate, she has a fielding percentage of .986 with only two errors to her credit. For her work, she was named a member of the Class 3A All-State and North-South All-Star teams, in addition to being voted Region VI-3A Player of the Year.
▪ Dominique Gross, St. James: The St. James senior outfielder was named Region VII-4A Player of the Year, all-state and a North-South All-Star after batting. 472 this past season, which included 13 extra-base hits — including a home run — and 25 RBIs.
▪ Neci Hemingway, Conway: Conway’s most reliable arm in the circle, she finished with a 14-5 record, among that a pair of wins in 14 innings of work against Fort Dorchester in the Class 5A district final round. She was also an asset in the box, batting .422 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs en route to Region VI-5A Player of the Year and All-State 5A honors.
▪ Taylor Richardson, Conway: She batted .422 this past season, hitting four home runs and earning 16 RBIs for the Tigers en route to All-Region VI-5A and All-State 5A honors — and more importantly, the program’s first region softball title.
▪ Cayce Roberts, Myrtle Beach: The Seahawks utility player batted .487 this past season, earning 10 doubles and 29 runs. She also stole 18 bases, helping her earn All-Region VII-4A and All-State 4A honors.