SHEPHERDSTOWN – Junior pitcher Andy Disque was the big winner during the Jefferson High School baseball program awards banquet held late last month at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown.
Disque, who finished 6-2 with a 2.48 earned run average this season for the Cougars, won the varsity pitching award, while also taking home the program’s academic award and prestigious “Triple Cougar Award” for performance on the field as well as displaying good traits in the classroom and through citizenship and sportsmanship.
Disque was honored along with varsity teammates Brody Price and Will Oliver for achieving a grade point average of 3.5 or better.
Disque earned the pitching award due to his team-best six victories on the mound.
The Cougars finished the season 25-7 and won the inaugural Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference regular-season title with a 9-1 league record.
But despite winning 20 or more games for the 38th consecutive year and finishing the regular season tied for No. 2 in the final Charleston Daily Mail sports writers poll, Jefferson lost consecutive postseason games to rivals Washington and Musselman and was ousted from the sectional tournament.
“We had a good season,” said Jefferson head coach John Lowery. “We had some disappointments at the end, but that’s the way life is. Winning the first conference championship, we’re extremely pleased with that because our area’s really competitive baseball-wise.”
Cross-county rival Washington reached the Class AAA state semifinals this season. Fellow EPAC member Hedgesville won the large-school state championship in 2013.
Jefferson has won 10 Class AAA state championships, with the most recent in 2011.
Daniel Carte, the 2002 West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year and Hurricane High School graduate who played five seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization after being selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2005, was the keynote speaker for the June 17 event.
As a junior at Hurricane, Carte played against Jefferson in the 2001 state title game. The Cougars won 11-1.
Carte, now a volunteer coach at West Virginia University who returned to Winthrop University after his playing days ended and graduated with a degree in sports management in 2012, spoke about baseball’s impact on his life. He also urged the high school players to try to improve every day and to make the most of their opportunities.
“You gotta learn from your mistakes,” Carte said.
Lowery, his assistant coaches and the program’s boosters used the evening to honor several players, both at the varsity and junior varsity levels.
Second-team all-state sophomore shortstop Paul Witt won the varsity hitting award, after leading Jefferson with a .443 batting average.
Sophomore pitcher and outfielder Charlie Barnholt collected the “Unsung Hero” award, while sophomore catcher Joe Mills received the “Sportsmanship” award.
Several players were also recognized for leading the varsity team in various statistical categories.
Second-team all-state junior second baseman Andrew King won the category for “quality at-bats,” while Witt took home honors for both “on-base percentage” and “hit by pitch.”
Senior catcher Garrett Everton earned award recognition for “stolen bases” and “runs scored.”
King and Witt shared honors for “runs produced.”
In pitching categories, Disque won the “WHIP,” while freshman Austin Cross collected honors for “ERA,” and freshman Austin Bulman won for “strike percentage.”
Lowery said after the banquet he is optimistic about the future, also noting the success this season at the junior varsity level. The JV team finished the season 27-3.
“Nothing’s guaranteed in this game,” Lowery said. “We only lose two seniors. We’ve got a great group of kids back. We’ll just go out and see what happens.”