A dual threat
Impressive pitching combined with potent offense earned South Caldwell's Taylor Purus the honor of Caldwell County's Player of the Year.
"It feels really good to be Player of the Year," said Purus. "I'm so thankful for the all the support from people in the county. I really appreciate all the opportunities Coach (Jeff) Parham gave me.
"The way he coaches, when he gives you an opportunity, you want to fulfill it for him and for the team. He's pushed me since freshman year, especially in the fall this year with me and Phillip (Page) being the two returning starters. We had to take the reigns from last year's group."
Purus played a substantial role in the Spartans' success this season. He posted a 10-2 record on the mound, including a win over rival Hibriten and an impressive performance in a no-decision against Ardrey Kell in the third round of the 4A state playoffs. South Caldwell lost that game in extra innings to then No.1 in the state Ardrey Kell. However, the southpaw yielded just one earned run in the effort.
When not playing the role as the starting pitcher, Purus played first base. At the plate, Purus batted .320 with 18 RBIs as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup. He was also named to the All-Conference team.
South Caldwell finished the season with an overall record of 20-6, including a Northwestern 3A-4A Conference championship and a trip to the third round of the state playoffs.
"A lot of our success comes from Coach Parham pushing us from day one," Purus said. "Every guy on the team just wanted to win so badly. After we lost to Draughn, everything just kind of clicked and we went all out."
Purus recalled the second-round victory over TC Roberson as his favorite moment of the season.
"I have to say the win over TC Roberson was my favorite moment because it was just an all around team win," He said. "Everyone had to scratch and claw for us to get a win that night."
Purus recently graduated from South Caldwell and plans to attend Catawba Valley Community College where he will continue his baseball career.
2014 All-County Baseball Team
Jackson Cook, West Caldwell
Michael Davis, Hibriten
Jay Denny, West Caldwell
Rian Haire, South Caldwell
Dylan Hamel, Hibriten
Tre Harper, West Caldwell
Colton Henthorne, Hibriten
Brock Johnson, South Caldwell
Brett Macchia, South Caldwell
Carson Poarch, Hibriten
Taylor Purus, South Caldwell
Justin Reece, West Caldwell