© 2024. Randolph Hub. All Rights Reserved.


Korey Dunbar is entering his first season as both Asheboro Zookeepers coach and general manager.

Zookeepers preview

ASHEBORO — The Coastal Plain League is a long, grueling summer of high-level baseball and with the CPL beginning even before the end of the collegiate season, an awful lot is asked of each player.


Asheboro ZooKeepers coach and General Manager Korey Dunbar said he believes the local CPL team has put together a roster that is built for success, a roster loaded mainly with players who simply want to compete.


“I feel like a broken record,” Dunbar said while describing many of the players that make up the Asheboro roster. “They want to improve and they want to compete. I can say ‘this guy is really competitive’ about everyone on this team.”


The roster is a mix of players from JUCO, NAIA, Division III, Division II and Division I schools across the country. 


Schools represented include Clemson, Florida State, Charleston Southern, Bowling Green, Lenoir-Rhyne, Gardner-Webb, Morehead State, Coastal Carolina, Florida Southern, Barton College and many others.


“We wanted to get a good mix of everyone and I think we achieved that,” Dunbar said. “Obviously, we’re going to have guys trickling in here all the way into the second half. It’s a really good group of older guys with experience and younger guys who are really talented.”


The ZooKeepers are coming off a 20-24 season that saw them finish fourth overall in the West Division. But Asheboro was 12-11 in the second half, finishing second and just out of a playoff berth.


Randleman High School graduate Hunter Atkins, who is playing at UNCG, is one player Dunbar will be counting on. Atkins was off to a fast start as he was 5-for-6 through the first two games, which Asheboro split, defeating HP-Thomasville and falling to Boone.


“He goes about his business the right way,” Dunbar said. “When the lights turn on, he’s a different player. He works extremely hard and he’s very respectful.”


Other players expected to lead the team offensively include FSU first baseman James Hankerson, FSU outfielder Matthew Davis, Missouri outfielder RJ Jimerson, Lenoir-Rhyne returning player Owen Blackledge, Morehead State infielder Alex Kean and Barton College infielder Sal Laimo.


Of course, there will be plenty of others as well.


“I really think the homework we do, and the relationships we have and the people we trust, we try to get all players who want to take this thing seriously and who want to get better,” Dunbar said. 


“We’ve established good relationships with some good programs. It’s a trust thing. Knowing different coaches throughout the country really helps and having those relationships, they send guys to us they believe in.”


The pitching staff is deep and includes Franklin & Marshall College left-hander Pete Mullen, Clemson’s Noah Samol, David Johnson, who got the win in the opener with five innings of one-hit relief, UNCG’s Danny Thompson, Nick Schutte and L-R’s Spencer Floyd.


“Early on, we’re still waiting to see what they can do and what they need to improve on,” Dunbar said. 


This is the first season Dunbar is acting as head coach and General Manager.


“Taking the GM opportunity, you see both sides of the business,” said Dunbar, who played collegiately at the University of North Carolina. “I get a lot of information and I see a lot of things. The GM opportunity helps the coaching because you see the whole operation.”