By Mike Duprez
The high school baseball and softball seasons are just around the corner, Here are five Randolph County players to watch in the 2022 seasons.
The Tigers’ senior left-hander threw a no-hitter in Game 3 of the 2-A state championship series last spring. That’s about as clutch as it gets.
And he’s back for one more season on another loaded Randleman team.
White was 6-0 with an 0.88 earned run average and 50 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings as one of the Tigers’ top two pitchers in terms of wins and innings pitched.
As the Tigers seek back-to-back 2-A state championships, White will play a huge part once again.
White has signed with Western Carolina.
Senior, Providence Grove
A superb three-sport athlete, Thomas is poised to be the ace of the Patriots staff since last year’s top two pitchers graduated. Thomas was 1-1 with an 0.55 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.
Blessed with a fastball clocked in the high 80s, Thomas has signed with UNC-Greensboro.
Thomas was the PAC-7 offensive player of the year in football as a quarterback and is also a starter on the basketball team.
Gore can play just about anywhere on the field — literally. He’s an outfielder, infielder, catcher and pitcher. Any team would covet that kind of versatility.
An all-conference selection as a junior, Gore has a mid-80s fastball.
Junior, SW Randolph
Cole can flat-out fly. Anyone who has seen him play baseball and football for the Cougars can attest to that.
As a sophomore, Cole hit .396 with 10 RBIs. He also led the team with 5 triples and 7 stolen bases.
Cole was an all-conference selection.
Brannon was one of the main cogs on the Tigers’ state championship team. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher hit .391 while smashing 9 home runs and driving in 26.
He also handled the Tigers’ stellar pitching staff.
The Tigers are are pursuing a second straight state championship and Brannon will help lead the way with his bat.
Brannon was on college recruiters’ radar long ago. He has signed with North Carolina.
Junior, Providence Grove
When it comes to fast-pitch softball, players are often good hitters or good pitchers. Mazzarone is both.
Mazzarone hit an eye-popping .538 while earning all-conference honors for the Patriots. She also had 2 home runs, 14 RBIs and 6 doubles.
Needless to say, she got it done in the circle. Mazzarone was 8-4 with a 1.03 earned run average. What really jumps out is the 135 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. Opposing hitters batted just .116 against her.
Junior, SW Randolph
Lowe hit .452 with 11 RBIs as a sophomore on a loaded Cougars team. That was enough to earn her all-conference honors.
Southwestern Randolph advanced to the third round of the 3-A state playoffs last season. This season they’re in 2-A and Lowe will help lead the way.
Junior, Eastern Randolph
Pugh was a top performer for the Wildcats last season, hitting .488 with 2 home runs and 17 RBIs. She also led the team with seven stolen bases.
That was enough to earn her all-conference recognition.
Perdue did it all for the Blue Comets. She hit .500 with 7 RBIs and a team-leading 10 stolen bases.
In the circle, Perdue was 3-3 with a 2.49 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings.
Perdue was an all-conference selection.
Turgeon made an impact as a freshman for the Warriors, hitting .435 and tying for the team lead with seven stolen bases.
She also limited action in the circle. Turgeon could see more time as a pitcher since the Warriors’ starter graduated.