County baseball, soccer players named all-state

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — South Carolina all-state teams were announced for boys’ and girls’ soccer and baseball last week, and Pickens County was well represented, with nine players on the three teams.

The most impressive selection of the bunch was Easley High School senior Kasten Harvey. Harvey, who was named to the all-state team as a pitcher/shortstop, also earned Region I-4A Player of the Year honors and was named the South Carolina Class 4A Player of the Year.

The honors come for Harvey after a dominant year on the mound and in the batter’s box. On the season, Harvey is

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second on the team in batting average (.395) and RBIs (25), while leading the team in home runs (3) and stolen bases (20).

Just as impressively, Harvey has been a force on the mound for Easley after taking over a spot in the rotation midseason. In eight games, including five starts, Harvey has pitched 28 scoreless innings for the Green Wave, giving him a perfect ERA of 0.00. In that time, he’s picked up 47 strikeouts and three complete game shutouts, while opponents have hit just .122 against him.

Harvey isn’t the only dominant pitcher on the staff, as senior Josh Woody was also named to the all-state team for the Green Wave. Woody has served as the ace of the Easley rotation, and for good reason, sporting an 0.80 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, this season. Woody leads the Green Wave in strikeouts with 69 this season in 61.1 innings pitched and, like Harvey, has three complete-game shutouts.

The final Green Wave player named to the all-state team was senior catcher Ben Freeman. Freeman has proven to be among the toughest outs in the state this year, with a team-leading .451 batting average and he makes the most of those at-bats, also leading the Green Wave with 34 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits.

While Easley was the only dominant team in Pickens County on the diamond,  both Daniel soccer clubs proved to be ahead of the competition on the pitch, with three boys and three girls each being named to the Class 3A all-state teams.

Starting with the boys, senior Luis Lezama, junior Ezra White and senior Tipton Wright were all named to the all-state team for the Class 3A Upper State champions.

Lezama, Daniel’s second-leading goal scorer with 19 on the season, was a force for the Lions all year, but was especially dominant in the playoffs. Lezama had seven goals and two assists in the Lions’ run to the state championship match. Lezama also finished tied for third on the team in assists with 11.

White was the man who made the Daniel offense go all season with his own brand of stellar ball control and scoring. Daniel’s leading goal scorer with 20, White also finished the year with the team lead in assists with 21.

The last of the Lion boys’ all-state selections, Wright also earned a spot in the North-South All-Star Game after his spectacular season. Wright was fourth on the Lions in goals scored with 15 and second on the team in assists with 13.

On the girls’ side, junior Katie Hudson and seniors Reece Murphree and Lauren Watrous were named all-state from the Upper State champion Lions.

Although Hudson had just two goals and two assists on the season, those numbers don’t tell the story of how she was a quintessential part of the Lions’ identity on defense. Daniel, which only gave up 11 goals over the course of the season, was one of the most dominant defensive teams in the state due to the play of Hudson on the back end.

On the attack, there was no one more important to the Lions than Murphree. Murphree finished the season second on the team in goals scored with 24, but her greatest impact came from her passing. Murphree had a team-high 34 assists for Daniel on the year, more than 20 more than her next-highest teammate, showing deft touch whenever the Lions were on the break. Murphree was also named as a participant in the North-South All-Star Game.

Last but not least for the Lions was Watrous. The team leader in goals with 25, Watrous hit shot after shot for the Lions on the season, including two in the biggest moments of the year. Tied at 1-1 with Powdersville in the Upper State championship, Watrous drilled a shot off a pass from Murphree to send Daniel to the state title match. Then, in the state championship, she put up the equalizer off a Courtney Smith corner kick to get the Lions back in the game. Like Murphree, Watrous will also be a participant in the North South All-Star Game.

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