A look back at spring sports: Baseball

High school sports roundup

EJ Carter makes a play at second base during a game against Pinecrest earlier this season. Carter will be one of a group of promising rising seniors for the Bucks next year. (David Sinclair)

Now that the spring high school seasons have wrapped up, we’re taking a look at how Hoke’s teams performed, as well as their respective outlooks going forward. Last week, we started with the Bucks’ softball team. This week, we look at baseball.

This year

The Bucks opened the season with 10 straight losses, all of them by five runs or more and six by double digits. They broke through with a non-conference win at Jack Britt and got another win over Fairmont three games later. They then closed the year the way they opened it, with nine straight losses, seven by five or more runs, four by double figures.

When the dust cleared, Hoke had posted a record of 2-21, its third straight two-win season and fifth year in a row with two or fewer victories. Hoke also went 0-12 in the Sandhills conference, extending its conference losing streak to 43 games, dating back to May 21, 2021. The Bucks have also lost 30 straight home games dating back to that same win, a 2-0 win over Richmond three years ago.

Top performers

While the Bucks didn’t see the results in the win-loss column, there were plenty of Bucks players that can be proud of their seasons. Reynell Capellan Reyes was the unquestioned team MVP. The senior middle infielder led the team in most offensive categories. Infielder Eric “EJ” Carter and catcher Connor Oldham were also key contributors at bat. On the mound, Hoke County turned to junior Owen Autry. Carson Hewitt and Caleb Slocumb were also valuable arms for the Bucks.

Saying goodbye

The team will need to find an offensive sparkplug to replace Reyes, who leaves big shoes to fill in the Hoke County lineup. Outfielder Zai Stephens-Mcintosh is the next most significant offensive loss, while Slocumb and Harvey Locklear were two workhorses on the mound whose innings the team will need to replace.

Building blocks

Oldham, Carter and Autry were all juniors this season. So the Bucks will have a strong core of senior leaders. Hewitt, a sophomore, should make strides as he becomes an upperclassman. Several freshmen got a taste of varsity play and will be able to contribute in an expanded role next season.