Two named Player of the Year

Published 9:18 am Thursday, May 28, 2009

MERRY HILL – A pair of Lawrence Academy athletes were honored by the Tarheel Independent Conference.

Chad Whitehead and Jennifer White were named Player of the Year for the league in baseball and softball respectively at the end of the league season.

“It really means a lot to me,” White said of the honor. “I feel like I have worked hard for this. Even though the beginning of the season started out a little bit rocky for me, I improved greatly.

“I definitely couldn’t have received this award without my great backup, especially my catcher (Kendra Spruill) who called all of my pitches,” she added. “This is a great honor to me and I am very proud that I have received this award.”

Whitehead looked at the award in similar terms.

“It means a lot to me because I worked hard all year and tried to play the game the right way,” he said. “I don’t believe this would be possible without the great bunch of teammates I had around me this year.”

Whitehead’s club captured the TIC regular-season and tournament championships and also repeated as NCISAA champions. During his season, Whitehead hit .467 with 37 RBIs and seven homeruns. On the mound, he was 5-1 and had a 3.26 ERA.

Fifth-year Lawrence Academy baseball coach Robert Kravitz said Whitehead deserved the award because of his hard work.

“He’s very well deserving of being named Player of the Year,” Kravitz said. “He’s probably the hardest worker on the team and the team is full of hard workers.

“I’m grateful to have him returning next year,” he added. “We have a class of juniors that I expect to help keep us at the same level we’ve been at for the past several years.”

Whitehead said he was proud to win the award during his junior year.

“It is hard to win it as a junior than as a senior,” he said. “Plus, there is always a chance to repeat the award.”

As he looks forward to next season, Whitehead said he believes his team will be taking another shot at the state title.

“I am looking forward to trying to three-peat,” he said.

White led her team to second place in the Tarheel Independent Conference from the mound. The Lady Warriors won the TIC tournament and then went on to finish second in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association (NCISAA) 1-A tournament.

During her junior campaign, she picked up 13 victories on the mound while striking out 198 batters with a 1.98 ERA. She also batted .289 for the season.

“I think she had a great season,” Lawrence softball coach Kristin Nobles said. “She struggled early, but then she came on strong. She became a tougher and more mature pitcher this season.

“I think she took her pitching to a new level mentally,” she added.

She said winning the award as a junior was special.

“It definitely means more to me winning this award as a junior,” she said. “It means that I was chosen for an award over people who are older and more experienced than I am.

“It was a shock to me to win it as a junior,” she added. “I did not expect it.”

White said she was looking forward to next year when most of her team will be seniors.

“Next year, almost the whole Warriors’ softball team will be seniors,” White said. “I feel this will push us to try harder, knowing that its our last year.

“I hope to make it to the championship game in states and hopefully, to a state championship,” she added.