Published: Aug 04, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Aug 05, 2012 10:49 AM
If Orange baseball fans learned anything about their favorite team this summer, it’s that the Panthers should head into next year with a full cupboard.
Orange went farther in summer league baseball than any other area team, and three Panthers received post-season honors as the league wrapped up its playoffs.
Panther pitcher-infielders Andrew Toney and Jon Evans, and outfielder Nick Debo all were named to the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League All-Star game roster, which features members of the high school class of 2013.
Chapel Hill players Zach Jansen and Kevin Elefante were the only other local player named to the all-star lineup, announced in late July. East Chapel Hill infielder Jack Hankins earned a spot in the CCSSL Futures game, a showcase for players in the high school class of 2014.
Orange finished its summer with a 15-4 record after losing 3-2 to Midway in last weekend’s CCSSL Final Four at Lee County High School in Sanford. Raider Troy Spell provided the winning runs by hitting an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh and then scoring off an error one pitch later.
Midway’s ended up splitting the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League championship with West Johnston after a lightning delay and a threat of rain left the truncated title game tied at 1-1.
Orange won its last 10 games of the summer schedule to become the only team from this county to qualify for the CCSSL tournament. That in itself was no small feat; Orange swept NCHSAA state finalist Voyager and Mid-Piedmont 3A champion Northwest Guilford to reach the playoffs.
All 16 teams in the CCSSL tournament had reached the NCHSAA postseason last spring.
Once in the CCSSL playoffs, Orange edged Wake Forest 1-0 in the first round and then won 8-2 at Fuquay-Varina. Orange scored seven runs in the top of the sixth inning of the quarterfinals to eliminate the Bengals, the defending Summer League champions.
Fuquay-Varina ended its summer with a 13-3 record, despite not having all of its returning starters on hand.
“If we had advanced to (the semifinals), we would’ve been without another five players who would’ve been playing at East Carolina,” Coach Milton Senter said. “So even those who weren’t here were playing somewhere.”
And that’s the point of Summer League baseball: to give as many players as many at-bats as they can get.