2019 Baseball Players of the Year: Kyle Smith and Blake Walston
With the spring high school sports season complete, it’s time to reveal the All-Coastal Preps teams. Over the next week, you will get to know more about the players of the year while also seeing who made first and second team in boys golf, boys tennis, boys and girls track & field, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, softball and baseball
The Coastal Preps Baseball Hitter of the Year is senior Kyle Smith of New Hanover and the Pitcher of the Year is senior Blake Walston of New Hanover.
Smith was instrumental in leading the Wildcats to a second straight 3A state title, finishing his senior season with a .451 average. He had six doubles, two triples, four home runs, 34 RBI, 31 runs, 23 walks and only nine strikeouts.
In his final high school at-bat, Smith belted a two-run home run to help New Hanover win Game 2 of the state championship series and sweep Marvin Ridge.
Smith had 11 multi-hit games and had a season-best five RBI in a second round playoff victory over Gray’s Creek. He was selected in the 36th round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but will fulfill his commitment to UNC.
Food: Cheeseburger and fries
Dessert: Chocolate chip ice cream
Movie: 21 Jump Street
TV Show: Friends
Sport to watch on TV: Football
Professional team(s): Boston Red Sox
Professional athlete(s): Buster Posey
Type of music: Rap/Country
Subject in school: Science
Memory from the season: Walk-off win in Game 3 of the East Regional final against D.H. Conley and playing in a third straight state championship.
Saying from your coach: Eat, sleep, hydrate to win
Walston will go down as one of the greatest athletes in the history of New Hanover. He capped his amazing career with a second straight 3A baseball state title to go along with his 2017 3A football state championship.
He was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the No. 26 pick in the MLB Draft on June 3.
As a senior, the southpaw went 13-0 with a 0.46 ERA, 137 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 75 1/3 innings. Walston was a part of three no-hitters, including one against D.H. Conley in Game 1 of the East Regional final in his final start at Buck Hardee Field.
Walston finished with 10 or more strikeouts in seven of his 13 starts, including a season-high 17 against South Brunswick on March 19.
At the plate, Walston hit .370 with six doubles, one triple, 20 RBI and 26 runs.