One thing I've found to be true in creating these All-Area teams is that the Newton/Rockdale area has a lot of impressive ball players. There is a lot of talent at this level and plenty that have the talent to play at the next level. With that said below you'll find the first and second All-Area teams for the 2014-2015 school year. Because there's so much talent some players were left out, but that doesn't take away from each player's individual ability. There are some positions loaded with talent whereas others there are only a few players to consider and as far as pitching goes some guys pitch and play other positions. It just so happens that some of those players are better at that position than they are at pitching or they're equally good at both. There is only so much room. Each All-Area team has 11 players with the usual nine positions, a backup utility player (someone who can play multiple positions) and/or DH and an extra pitcher. Here we go.
NewRock All-Area First Team
Pitcher - Kevin Barham (Salem, sophomore): Just a young sophomore, Barham helped lift Salem to the playoffs with an impressive 7-2 record. In 58 innings pitched, Barham has thrown 76 strikeouts with an ERA of .76.
First base - CJ Clark (Rockdale, freshman): Clark is the lone freshman on the NewRock All-Area First Team, but it's for good reason. Clark batted a stellar .421 on the season and held down the fort at first with just two errors on 152 chances.
Second base - Jeff Sweat (Rockdale, junior): Sweat, who pitched when he wasn't playing second and led the team in innings at 62.2 innings pitched with a 1.62 ERA, hit .333 on the year. Sweat made just one error all year on 30 chances.
Third base - Nick Womack (Eastside, junior): Nick Womack was one of the main pieces of Eastside's strong offensive attack and he's pretty good defensively, too. Womack's splits at the plate were .380/.440/.437.
Shortstop - Austin Holloway (Eastside, sophomore): In 99 plate appearances, Holloway posted splits of .463/.541/.524. He totaled 36 hits, 33 runs and 21 RBI.
Catcher - Alex Johnson (Newton, junior): Johnson is equally strong behind the plate as he is on the mound. As a pitcher, Johnson went 3-2 with an 3.14 ERA and 68 K's. Johnson was more than solid at the plate batting . 317 with two homeruns and six doubles.
OF - Auliver Astin (Newton, junior): Astin finished the season strong and concluded with a .354 batting average, nine doubles and one homerun plus a .950 fielding percentage.
OF - Mason Calloway (Newton, Junior): If there was an MVP for the All-Area Team, Calloway would be it. Mason put up astronomical numbers in his junior season. On defense, Calloway was great with a 1.000 fielding percentage, but his real prowess comes on offense. At the plate Calloway batted .549, scored 29 runs and had 55 stolen bases which ranks fifth in the nation and No. 1 in the state. Oh, and he pitches too. Mason went 4-1 on the mound with a 3.93 ERA.
OF - Jared Jones (Eastside, senior): Jones isn't just one of the best hitters on his team, he's one of the best hitters in the area, not to mention a pretty good outfielder. Jones posted a stellar split of .449/.515/.494 to go along with 30 runs scored.
Utility - Marc Beddington (Alcovy, junior): Alcovy baseball didn't have many bright spots this season, but Beddington was one of them. Beddington was a guy you can plug all over the field on defense and on offense he was just as useful. Beddington hit .350 with one homerun and 15 RBI.
Bullpen - Matt Studdard (Heritage, junior): Studdard solidified a depleted pitching staff and pitched 66 innings with 70 K's, eight earned runs, five walks, a .85ERA and a .76 WHIP with a 5-4 record and one save. He's an ace on any team.
NewRock All-Area Second Team
Pitcher - Gray Ritchie (Eastside, junior): Ritchie was injured for a significant amount of the year, but that didn't stop Eastside's No. 1 starter from putting up some good numbers when he did play. Ritchie finished the season with a 2-2 record while boasting an ERA of 1.515 as he struck out 43 batters in 32 innings.
First base - Chase Raines (Eastside, junior): In 70 at-bats Raines totaled 29 hits for a .414 batting average with 20 RBI and 20 runs scored.
Second base - Drew Terrell (Heritage, junior): Terrell is a bit of utility man himself. He can play catcher as well as some other infield positions. He boasted a .950 fielding percentage this season so we'll slot him at second base. As a hitter, Terrell had 21 hits, 11 RBI, 10 runs and a .318 batting average.
Third base - Cary Campbell (Salem, junior): Campbell would have made the First Team had it not been for Womack's impeccable season. Nonetheless, Campbell is a special player. He hit .345 with an on-base percentage of .420, totaled 30 hits, 14 RBI and stole 22 bases.
Shortstop - Victor "Macho" Medina (Newton, junior): Medina is as strong a shortstop as you can get. He's one heck of a two-way player with his .912 fielding percentage and his .403 batting average which includes one homerun.
Catcher - Hunter Ballard (Eastside, senior): Ballard is another guy that can play multiple positions, including pitcher. One the mound Ballard went 5-1 with a 1.178 ERA. At the plate Ballard hit a respectable .273 scoring 19 runs with 11 RBI.
OF - Justin Jackson (Heritage, senior): Jackson was Heritage's best offensive player this season. He accumulated 22 hits, 15 runs, 13 RBI and one long ball with a .314 batting average.
OF - Jelani Clarington (Rockdale, senior): Clarington is headed to Chipola College on a scholarship after batting .337 this season and striking out 40 batters in 20 innings as a pithcer.
OF - Josh Sims (Eastside, sophomore): Sims speed helped him flourish out in center field for the Eagles, and his bat took him from seventh in the lineup to batting second. Sims hit .312, scored 23 runs and batted in 18.
Utility - Jason Howell (Salem, senior): Howell was easily Salem's best hitter this past season. He carries a .356 batting average, a .424 on-base percentage with 31 hits, 18 RBI and 16 stolen bases on the season. If the two other first basemen weren't hitting over .400, Howell would be a First Teamer.
Bullpen - Charlie Greenich (Eastside, junior): Greenich rounds out the final spot as he was Eastside's most reliable starter. He finished the season with a record of 5-4 and a 2.752 ERA while throwing 53 K's in 48 innings.
Honorable mentions: Jake Stowers, Yoiler Guevara, Mark Mostek, Braxton Hogan, Jordan Johnson, Augustus Murray, Jake Jones.