Easley seniors ink with colleges

Kerry Gilstrap/Courier
Seven Easley High School seniors signed last week to continue their athletic careers on the collegiate level. Pictured, from left, are Austin Morgan, Mason Stewart, Trevor Weisner, Chase Stephens, Logan Chapman, Whitney McCollum and Sydney Patterson.

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Highlighted by five members of the Green Wave baseball squad, seven Easley High School athletes signed to continue their athletic careers in college during a special signing day ceremony last Wednesday at the school.

Logan Chapman, Austin Morgan, Chase Stephens, Mason Stewart and Trevor Weisner all signed to play baseball at the next level, while Whitney McCollum signed to play volleyball in college and Sydney Patterson inked to play softball in college.

“This is an exciting day at Easley High School,” EHS athletic director Gill Payne said. “It’s very fortunate when we have the opportunity to send some of our athletes to the next level. It’s awesome to be a part of this with them.”

McCollum signs with Newberry College

McCollum was the first senior to put ink to paper at the celebration, signing to continue her volleyball career at Newberry College.

Green Wave volleyball coach Laura Ellenburg beamed with pride as she talked about McCollum.

“I’m going to try not to cry,” Ellenburg said. “We’re going to really miss Whitney next year.”

She said McCollum is “a powerhouse” on the court and in the classroom.

“She has a 3.96 GPA,” Ellenburg said. “She made All-Region this year.

“She led the region in aces this year, with 64 aces. She was third in the region with digs, with just under 500. She was captain two years on varsity.

Ellenberg said McCollum is a “very knowledgeable and smart player.”

“She was one of our go-to players,” she said. “Get the ball to Whitney.”

“We’re going to miss you,” Ellenburg told McCollum as they hugged.

Patterson also headed to Newberry College

Patterson will also take her talents to Newberry College.

Easley softball coach Andrew Appenheimer said Patterson is “a great young lady.”

“She’s constantly playing the sport with joy and leading the other girls to do the same,” he said.

Appenheimer asked someone who’s known and coached Patterson for a number of years to speak.

Coach Jessica Crumpton said Patterson came to start for her team “when she was little-bitty seventh grader.”

“She probably looked more like she was the size of my 9-year-old than a seventh grader,” Patterson said.

She shared one of her favorite memories of Patterson, playing in Dutch Fork in the playoffs.

“It’s an intense game,” Crumpton said. “The coaches are rough. The umpires have been really rough. The fans are yelling. And you’ve got this little-bitty seventh grader, every time she gets up, she’s fouling off like 50 balls, it feels like. Everybody’s mouthing.”

Crumpton told her, “You’ve got to just tune it all out.”

“We talked about where the defense is moving and what she can do,” she said.

Toward the end of the game, the team was losing, Crumpton recalled.

“She gets up,” Crumpton said. “We’ve got runners on. This little-bitty seventh grader tunes out everybody out there and everything they’re saying. They charge her in and she hits this dinker over — starts our rally.”

The team went on to win the game.

“She earned her stripes,” Crumpton said.

Patterson is very much a team player, Crumpton said.

“When we’d ask her to move positions and ask her, ‘What’s your main position you want to play, you want to work out?’ it was, ‘Coach, it’s wherever you need me — that’s what position I want,’” Crumpton said. “‘It’s whatever’s best for my team.”

That’s Patterson’s attitude “on the field and off,” she said.

Crumpton said Newberry “will be very lucky to have her.”

“It’s been fun to watch her grow as a person,” Crumpton said. “She’s become like a daughter to me.”

Chapman signs to play for Gamecocks

Chapman signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of South Carolina.

“Logan is a special, special kid,” Easley coach Josh Warner said.

Chapman pitched 58 innings last year and had 88 strikeouts, Warner said.

“The highlight of his season, and I think he would attest to this, was the no-hitter he threw up at Hanna last year,” he said.

Chapman also helped on offense with 20 RBIs and a home run.

“Logan has been a fearless leader and competitor, day in and day out,” Warner said. “He’s going to South Carolina. The coaching staff there is getting a tremendous player. On top of that, they’re getting a great student athlete.”

He carries a 3.5 GPA.

Chapman is a pre-season All-American.

“He was All-State, All-Region,” Warner said. “The future’s bright for him.”

“I’m just really tickled for you,” Warner told Chapman. “I’m really proud of you. Congratulations, buddy.”

Morgan, stewart sign to play at USC Upstate

Morgan and Stewart both signed with the University of South Carolina Upstate.

“Austin has just been a tremendous asset to this high school,” Warner said. “He’s a two-sport star here. He’s a starting defensive end on the football team and he’s also a catcher on the baseball team.”

In many ways, Morgan is just starting to scratch the surface regarding his talents, according to Warner.

“He’s a five-tool player,” Warner said. “He’s got pretty good speed, he can run, he can hit, he can throw, he’s got power. He’s got everything that you ask.”

He has started for the team for two years and had a tremendous year last season, his coach said.

“He led the team in home runs last year,” Warner said. “He had four home runs, 30 RBIs.

“But the biggest thing he’s done for us was behind the plate for us. He was our stabilizer. We knew we could throw him in the dirt.”

Morgan also threw a no-hitter his sophomore year.

He carries a 3.4 GPA.

“Austin’s landed in a great spot,” Warner said.

Warner said Stewart is “a heck of a ballplayer,” but his studies come first.

“His parents have done a tremendous job of making sure he gets those done first,” Warner said.

He carries a 3.8 GPA.

“His studies have always been very important to him,” Warner said. “Tireless work in the classroom and on the field.”

Warner said he can always hear Mason’s family in the stands.

“Mason has been a tremendous player in this program for three years now, going on a fourth,” Warner said. “Had a huge home run his freshman year. Sophomore year came out, had a tremendous year. Made All-Region as an outfielder.”

Last year, Warner said the Green Wave made a transition, bringing Stewart from the outfield to the infield.

“Not only did he accept it, he thrived in it,” Warner said. “He was a tremendous stability over there for us.”

He said not many people realize the extent of the injuries Stewart was dealing with last year.

“There were days Mason couldn’t swing a bat,” Warner said. “But he always found a way to get some work in.”

The work paid off.

“He was probably our clutch player,” Warner said. “When we needed a hit, Mason was the guy. He had a huge, huge hit for us against Blythewood that really propelled us in the playoffs.”

Warner said he could see Stewart playing early as a freshman for USC Upstate.

“Mason, I’m proud of you and I love you, son,” Warner told Stewart. “Good luck in the future.”

Stephens, Weisner ink with Anderson University

Stephens and Weisner will remain teammates next year as they play ball for Anderson University.

Warner praised Stephens’ dedication to his sport and his team.

“All of our players and coaches will attest to this — he puts more time in than anybody I’ve ever coached,” he said. “When I go home in the evenings, and I look over my right shoulder going past J.B. Owens, he’s in the cages hitting.”

Stephens was an All-Region selection last season.

“We’re expecting big things out of him again this year,” Warner said.

Warner said Stephens “carries himself great in the classroom.”

“He’s a member of our National Honor Society,” he said.

Stephens carries a 3.7 GPA.

Warner said Chase has a bright future at Anderson University.

“You’ve been great for me in my three years that I’ve been here,” Warner told Stephens. “I thank you for everything that you’ve done.”

Warner called Anderson University a great fit for Weisner.

“Trevor’s a kid, you know, you wish you had 30 of them,” Warner said. “You don’t ever have to tell Trevor anything two times. You tell him something one time, he gets it. If he don’t get it, he’s going to find a way to get it done. Trevor’s a grinder.’

He said Weisner’s “never taken a day off.

“I know there’s been days when he doesn’t want to come in and work out,” Warner said. “He always gave me 100 percent.”

Weisner has been a two-year starter for the team.

“He’s moved around in different positions,” Warner said. “Last year, he was third base.”

He carries a 3.9 GPA.

“He’s involved in a lot of other school activities,” he said. “He’s just a great, great individual. Whenever baseball’s finished one day — and I hope it never finishes for him — he’s going to be great in whatever he decides to do.

“Trevor, I’m just tickled to death for you as a coach. I’m looking forward to you growing as a human being and also as a ballplayer.”