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Asheboro's Jacob Dienes pitches against the Holly Springs Salamanders at McCrary Park. Dienes was one of three Zookeepers to be selected as an All-Star.   Eric Abernathy/Randolph Hub

Three Zookeepers are all-stars

ASHEBORO — When Asheboro ZooKeepers Manager Kory Dunbar talks about infielder Tyler McPeak and pitchers Win Scott and Jacob Dienes, he uses words and terms like consistent, competitive, talented, players who stay within themselves and players who are a joy to be around.


Because of those traits, the trio was not around Asheboro early this week as they were in Lexington, S.C., representing the Asheboro ZooKeepers in the annual Coastal Plain League All-Star Game.


The three were members of the West All-Stars, which was scheduled to meet the East All-Stars Wednesday night (July 19) in Lexington, S.C., the home of the Lexington County Blowfish.


“We’re extremely lucky to have those guys and they have had good years and have earned the title of being a Coastal Plain League All-Star,” Dunbar said. “We’re super thrilled to have them.”


The players were voted upon within their division by CPL head coaches, assistant coaches, broadcasters and local media representatives from each market. 


“It’s one thing to have your coach tell you good things because he’s around you all the time, but for other coaches to notice it in such a short period of time speaks volumes,” Dunbar said.


McPeak was hitting .326 through his first 23 appearances. He had 16 runs scored, eight doubles, four home runs and 21 RBIs. He has been one of the Zookeepers’ most consistent offensive threats all summer.


“It’s pretty rewarding to be selected,” said McPeak, who attends Lenoir-Rhyne. “It really wasn’t my goal coming here, but it’s nice to be recognized. I’m just having fun with it every day.”


McPeak missed some games last week because of a minor injury, but should be ready as the ZooKeepers make a run for the second-half title.


“He’s an all-around consistent ballplayer,” Dunbar said of McPeak. “We have moved him back from three to the four hole and he’s done a real good job for us. Consistency is the big thing. He’s consistent and situational.”


McPeak said this summer has been a challenge.


“It’s some of the best competition I play against,” he said. “Every team seems to have a loaded pitching staff and you can’t take one at-bat off.”


Dienes, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander from N.C. State, has been a workhorse for the ZooKeepers. Dienes has started a team-high five games and thrown a team-high 23 and two-thirds innings. He has allowed 22 hits and fanned 25.


“He started Game 1 against the Hi-Toms and never looked back,” Dumbar said. “We know what we are going to get out of him when he is out there on a daily basis.”


Entering action late last week, Scott had three starts and five appearances, hurling 23 total innings. He has given up 16 hits, six earned runs while walking 12 and fanning 14. He had a very impressive 2.34 ERA.


“I played with the Hi-Toms last year and had a rough start and finished strong, so this year I was trying to get off on a good foot,” Scott said. “Making the All-Star Game is huge. Your college coaches can’t get to all your summer games and making the All-Star Game is the easiest way to show you are working and the effort you are putting in is paying off. It helps your coaches see that you are excelling in your summer league.”

The strategy for being successful in the CPL is an easy one, Scott said, but one that isn’t always easy to execute.  


“With wood bats, there is a little bit of ego, you try to break bats,” Scott said. “You have to challenge guys with fastballs in. If I’m going to miss, miss inside and not over the plate. You have to have confidence with your fastball and try to stay out of the heart of the plate.”


The trio have given the ZooKeepers solid play as the second half continues.


“All three bring such consistency,” Dunbar said. “It’s a long season and it can build you up and tear you down. They have stayed pretty consistent.”