Love Named USA Today All-State

Latta’s John Kever Love on the mound. (Photo by Betsy Barfield Bridgers.)

Latta’s John Kever Love was recently named as a first team selection on the USA Today all-state baseball team.

Love helped the Vikings to their first state baseball championship since 1966 and was a stand out player for the Vikings, earning Class A Player of the Year honors. He was also chosen for the North-South Carolina Select game.

The 6-foot-7, 250-lb. pitcher earned 12 wins on the mound for Latta with an ERA of 1.48, striking out 123 in 89.2 innings pitched. Love was also a leader at bat, getting 45 hits, including 10 doubles, for an average of .464 with 38 RBI. Love will play at the College of Charleston next season.

The USA Today Player of the Year honors went to pitcher Jake Crawford of Belton-Honea Path. Crawford went 10-0 on the mound and pitched a shutout in the first game of the state series. He had 24 RBI at bat and lead the Bears to a 28-4 record, including an undefeated 14-0 record in Region 1-3A, and the the Class 3A title.

Coach of the Year went to Chad Ellis of Ninety-Six. Ellis led his Wildcats to a 26-5 record and their second straight Class 2A title, defeating the Dillon Wildcats 8-2 and 6-3 in the state series.

The rest of the First Team includes Jacob Childress, Ninety Six; Noah LoCascio, Wando; Grant Cox, Greenville; Dupree Hart, Northwestern; Blake Holiday, Belton-Honea Path; Jake Mueller, Richland Northeast; Connor Grant, Blythewood; TJ Hopkins, Summerville; and Matthew Mulkey, Emerald.

The Second Team includes Hank Nichols, J.L. Mann; Dylan Thompson, Socastee; Graham Lawson, Woodruff; Dax Roper, Belton-Honea Path; Trent Autry, Chester; Donald Gillespie, A. C. Flora; Jeff Gottesman, Wando; Clay Hunt, Nation Ford; Kep Brown, Wando; Shane Faulk, Myrtle Beach; and Austin Riggins, Riverside.

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