Foursome step to next level

Published 5:59 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

MERRY HILL – Four more stellar athletes at Lawrence Academy will continue playing after their collegiate career.

Seniors Chad Whitehead, Evan Holton, William Norrell and Cameron Peed will move on to play baseball at the collegiate level joining five other Warriors who have moved on to play after high school under Lawrence Academy Baseball Coach Robert Kravitz.

“This is one of the proudest moments in my coaching career here at Lawrence Academy,” Kravitz said. “Coaching in five state championship series and winning the last two do not compare to the satisfaction I get when I see young men, like these four, get the opportunity to further their education and get a chance to play baseball while doing it.

“They deserve all the accomplishments they have and will receive,” he added. “I hope and pray nothing but the best for all four young men.”

Chad Whitehead

Whitehead was moved up to the varsity baseball team during his eighth grade season and has been a regular contributor ever since. He has thrice been named All-Tarheel Independent Conference as well as All-State by the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association.

The 2009 TIC Player of the Year, Whitehead has chosen to move on to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

“I loved the campus and the school was really nice,” Whitehead said of the decision. “I liked the coaches and facilities as well.”

During his years at Lawrence, Whitehead has been used primarily as a pitcher and catcher and will likely do the same this season. He is set to be a pitcher when he plays for the Braves.

“Chad is one of the hardest working young men I know,” Kravitz said. “He has a very strong commitment to making himself the best he can be at everything he does. I personally believe he is one of the best catchers in the area and he is an outstanding pitcher.

“I brought Chad up in the eighth grade to catch for us and ever since then he has been not only our starting catcher, but the backbone of the team,” he added. “He is a great team leader for his teammates and a very coachable player. I believe he will be a successful player at the college level.”

During his four years playing baseball with the Warriors, Whitehead said he was most proud of the two straight state titles won by Lawrence.

“Winning back-to-back state championships has been more than I could ask for as a high school athlete,” he said. “It has been the result of how hard we all work all year and how much we all love the game.”

Whitehead also said he was thankful for Kravitz.

“Coach has taught me that hard work equals success,” Whitehead said. “Working harder than anybody else will get you on top and continuing to work even harder will keep you there.”

In addition to his other accolades, Whitehead was named Defensive Player of the Year at Lawrence in 2009 and named to the All-Tournament team at Louisburg’s Eastern Tournament in 2008. He is also a member of the Beta Club at Lawrence.

He also said he was looking forward to collegiate baseball.

“Playing college baseball has always been my dream and I’m just looking forward to moving up to that level and hopefully having success there,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead is the son of Charles and Neenie Whitehead of Windsor.

Evan Holton

Holton has been playing at Lawrence since his ninth grade season and has spent the last two years at the starting shortstop. He will be moving on to play at Mars Hill University next fall.

“The most important reason for me picking this school has to be the fact that it’s a school that not only did I want to go to, but it’s a school that wants me,” Holton said.

Kravitz said Holton is one of the most athletic players he has ever coached and that drew many college coaches to him.

“Evan is one of the most athletic players I have ever coached or seen at the high school level,” Kravitz said. “That athleticism is what attracted college coaches to him and because of it, he will have an opportunity to play multiple positions in college.

“He has been one our starting shortstop for the past two seasons and has become one of the best middle infielders around,” the coach added. “His speed allows him to get to balls that others may not be able to reach.”

Holton said he was also proud to be state champion.

“Winning the state championship not once, but twice in my high school career has been more than a dream come true,” he said. “It’s what all baseball players want to be able to experience and for me to have two rings on my hand is the best feeling in the world.”

He also said he had learned a lot from his coach.

“Coach Kravitz has taught me the mental part of this game,” he said. “There have been many games and many innings where everything seemed to be a wreck, but he has taught me that not one at-bat or inning determines the year and you never drop your head.”

Holton is also excited about his future.

“Having the chance to play collegiate baseball is what I’m looking forward to the most,” he said. “Being able to feel like all the years and hours we put in for one thing has finally paid off.”

Holton is the son of Phil and Linda Holton of Columbia.

William Norrell

Norrell has played third base and pitched for Lawrence Academy and will be taking his hard work and dedication to the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore.

“They have a great coaching staff and I felt very comfortable during my official visit,” Norrell said. “I also think it has a beautiful campus and I like the opportunity to play Division I baseball against schools such as Duke, Navy and William and Mary.”

Norrell transferred to Lawrence for his junior year and said the decision was one he was truly grateful for.

“The chance to come to Lawrence and help win another state championship was a moment I will never forget,” he said. “I have grown up playing with Daniel Oliver, Evan and Chad and I wanted the opportunity to play high school baseball with them and win a state championship together.”

His coach said Norrell was a hard worker.

“William is a very hard working individual,” Kravitz said. “He has spent countless hours to become the player he is today. William, like Chad, is a two-position player. He does a fantastic job for us at third base and is one of our top returning pitchers. His work ethic will make him successful at Eastern Shore.”

Norrell said playing at Eastern Shore allowed him to fulfill a dream.

“The change to play Division I baseball has always been a dream of mine and next year I will finally be able to achieve it,” he said. “Also, being able to pretty much work at baseball at a top level athletic facility such as UMES is very exciting.”

Norrell was named All-Tarheel Independent Conference last year as well as being in the honor society.

He is the son of William and Frances of Elizabeth City.

Cameron Peed

Peed is Lawrence’s center fielder and has also spent some time on the mound for the Warriors. He will be taking his glove to Methodist University next fall.

“Like Evan, Cameron is an outstanding athlete,” Kravitz said. “He has great speed and has tremendous range in the outfield. To go along with his speed, he also has a good arm.

“Cameron has all the attributes to be a college outfielder,” the coach added. “Playing center field, you must take control of the outfield and Cameron is exceptional in that aspect.”

Peed played baseball at Plymouth High School before moving to Lawrence a year ago. There he earned All-Conference honors as he did again last year in the TIC. He said his move to Lawrence paid off in a dream coming true.

“Winning a state championship is the best feeling in the world,” he said. “It’s something I’ll always remember and never forget. It was something I always dreamed of.”

He said he believes Methodist is a place he will enjoy.

“Methodist is a school that I enjoyed visiting,” Peed said. “The atmosphere was great and the baseball team wins its conference championship about every year and goes on to compete in the Division III World series. The campus was great and the coach knew a lot about baseball.”

Peed said he knew playing at Methodist would be a special experience.

“What I’m looking forward to next year in college is that I’ll be meeting my goal of laying college baseball,” he said. “It is what I wanted to do since I played tee-ball. I’m looking forward to moving up and play college baseball and hopefully succeeding at Methodist.”

He is the son of Tommy and Mary Peed of Plymouth.

The four players will become part of a tradition for Lawrence Academy when they move on to the next level.

“For me, it’s almost a necessity,” Kravitz said of sending his students on to play collegiate baseball. “That’s the satisfaction I get out of coaching. Seeing them reach their goals is more important than wins and losses.”