Three members of the 2014 Spring Garden baseball team have been named to the All-Cherokee County team and two others joined the trio on the All-Area team for Class 1A, Area 13.
Seniors Grant Benefield, Will Ivey and Will Westbrook earned all-county honors for the Panthers. Westbrook, Ivey, Benefield, senior Leevi Maddox and junior Andrew McLarty received all-area recognition. Each of the five played in all 27 games the Panthers played in the season just ended.
Maddox was recognized not for his work at the plate but for the job he did for the Panthers behind it. His defense at catcher was a key part of Spring Garden’s success in the field.
Ivey led Spring Garden in batting with a .440 average, 33 hits in 75 at-bats. His 42 runs and three triples were also team bests. He was also hit by pitches 13 times.
Benefield hit .391. His 34 hits led all Spring Garden batters and his 32 runs trailed only Ivey. Benefield and Westbrook tied for the team lead in RBIs with 22 apiece.
Westbrook batted .324. Five of his 23 hits were doubles. He scored 22 runs and was hit by pitches 12 times.
McLarty finished his junior season with a .360 batting average. Ten of McLarty’s 27 hits were for extra bases. He had a team-best eight doubles, tripled once and belted Spring Garden’s only home run of the season. McLarty drove in 14 runs.
With Westbrook and McLarty recovering from arm issues, Benefield and Ivey were Spring Garden’s workhorses on the mound. Benefield led the pitching staff in appearances with 13, starts with 11, complete games with six and shutouts with three. In 68 and two-thirds innings pitched, he struck out 89 and walked 19. He was 8-5 with a 1.73 earned run average. Ivey was 4-3 in 11 appearances, including six starts. He struck out 31 in 29 and two-thirds innings.
Benefield and Devante Dixon of Cedar Bluff shared the role of Area 13 most valuable player. Others named to the all-area team were Cedar Bluff’s Dalton Cosby, Josh Decker, Keaton Kilgro and Jake Mintz; Coosa Christian’s Dawson Ashley, Caleb Garrett, Jackson Justus and Andy Lawson; and Gaylesville’s Gable Lawson and Cole Murphy.