Toast of the Coast

Toast of the Coast: Myrtle Beach’s Thorsen proves big-game hurler

Praise Thorsen could feel coach Tim Christy leaning on him.

Throughout this spring, the Myrtle Beach senior pitcher knew that if the Seahawks were playing in a big game, chances are, he was going to be on the mound. Thorsen took that knowledge and made the most of it.

The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Baseball Player of the Year was the key piece on a Myrtle Beach team that won a Region VII-AAA championship and a district playoff title.

“I feel like he needed me to go in and throw a lot of innings and throw a lot of games,” Thorsen said. “It gave me confidence whenever I threw that he was confident in me.”

Thorsen pitched a number of the team’s regular-season games. But some of his best outings came in a hectic postseason in which the Seahawks lost their district opener, only to rebound to win four straight to earn the district title.

In Lower States, after a pair of trips to Gilbert for one game split up by a weather delay, Thorsen was then asked to pitch against Hartsville in the Lower’s Bracket. The Red Foxes eliminated Myrtle Beach, but both runs that scored in that game were unearned.

Like most of the season, Thorsen had done his job.

“His consistency was just unbelievable,” Christy said. “It’s been a long time since I had a guy you knew was going to give you a chance to win. He was that guy.”

The 6-foot-1 right-hander finished the year with a 7-3 record and a minuscule 0.57 ERA. During the regular season, he allowed only two earned runs in 44 innings of work.

In the process, he struck out 83 batters.

The production helped earn him Class AAA All-State honors and a scholarship offer from NCAA Division II Lander. None of that changed the quiet hurler who simply did what he was asked.

“We give him a hard time over it. We tease him about not talking,” Christy said. “He certainly isn’t a rah-rah guy. You rarely know what he’s thinking. But you give him the ball and [send him to the mound].”

The results rarely changed, either.

Thorsen’s only loss of the regular season came in 1-0 games against St. James in the next-to-last week of the region slate. That run was also unearned, and it left the Seahawks believing they’d be a No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

However, the next week, Myrtle Beach got some help and closed things out accordingly. The drama continued in the postseason, first with the playoff-opening loss that eliminated home-field advantage, two wins to get to the district finals and then two more on the road at Aiken in one day to advance to the Lower State bracket.

It wasn’t just a different feel for Thorsen, who two years ago was out with an arm injury. It was different for everyone on the Seahawks roster.

“My freshman year, we didn’t make the playoffs,” Thorsen said. “This year was a lot different – just going into practice knowing we’re good and we’ll make it far in the playoffs and we could win games.”

The team

Player of the Year

Praise Thorsen

School | Myrtle Beach

Class | Senior

Position | Pitcher

Notable | North-South All-Star selection, Region VII-AAA Player of the Year and Lander University signee finished the season 7-3 with a 0.57 ERA and 83 strikeouts while helping the Seahawks to their first region title in six years and an appearance in the Lower State tournament.

Levi Almond

School | Waccamaw

Class | Junior

Position | Catcher

Notable | All-State selection helped Warriors to Class AA Lower State tournament by batting .338 with two doubles and 16 RBIs. Also drew 11 walks and was hit by pitch six times.

Drayton Arnold

School | Myrtle Beach

Class | Junior

Position | Third base

Notable | Led Seahawks to Region VII-AAA championship and district playoff finals by hitting .365 with 10 doubles, a home run and 17 RBIs.

Liam Bloom

School | St. James

Class | Junior

Position | Outfield

Notable | Hit .338 with 16 RBIs and 13 runs scored while also stealing 10 bases for the Sharks, who finished as the runner-up in Region VII-AAA.

Andrew Brong

School | Carolina Forest

Class | Junior

Position | Pitcher

Notable | Class AAAA All-State selection allowed three earned runs en route to a 5-1 record with a 0.39 ERA and 69 strikeouts; two victories came during Panthers’ run to Lower State finals.

Kolin Causey

School | Loris

Class | Senior

Position | Second/third/shortstop/pitcher

Notable | Southeastern Community College signee batted .382 with 22 RBIs and 15 runs while also putting up a 1.21 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 5-2 record from the mound.

Connor Eckard

School | Waccamaw

Class | Junior

Position | Outfield

Notable | All-Region VIII-AA selection played every one of Warriors’ 201 innings this year, batting .317 with four doubles and 16 walks while going 16-of-18 in stolen bases.

Will Golden

School | Waccamaw

Class | Senior

Position | Third/shortstop/outfield

Notable | North-South All-Star selection hit .316 with six doubles, five triples and 17 RBIs and helped Warriors to Class AA Lower State tournament.

Matthew McGhee

School | North Myrtle Beach

Class | Junior

Position | Outfield

▪ Notable | Tied for area lead with a .382 batting average while also leading the Grand Strand with 35 stolen bases. Scored 22 runs for playoff-qualifying Chiefs.

Tucker Perry

▪ School | Waccamaw

▪ Class | Junior

▪ Position | Pitcher

▪ Notable | Warriors’ ace was 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings. Class AA All-State pick threw two no-hitters and added four shutouts for district playoff champions.

Dylan Thompson

▪ School | Socastee

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Pitcher/shortstop

▪ Notable | Seattle Mariners’ fourth-round draft pick, Class AAAA All-State selection and N.C.-S.C. Select team honoree was 5-1 with a 1.28 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings pitched.

Jackson Woodle

▪ School | Aynor

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Outfield

▪ Notable | Two-time All-Region VIII-AA selection helped Aynor to Lower State tournament by hitting .365 with 19 runs and 14 RBIs. Also had a .971 fielding percentage.

Coach of the Year

Jack Jolly

▪ School | Carolina Forest

▪ Notable | Steered Panthers to Region VI-AAAA runner-up finish and then to a district championship and Lower State tournament, where team finished as the runner-up. Other highlights include school’s first wins over region rival Sumter and picking up his 400th career coaching victory.