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King, Conway led on offense and on the mound

June 13, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

The top two prep baseball players for 2009 come with interchangeable parts.

Whether the ball was being pitched or hit, Martinsburg's Brandon King and Smithsburg's Josh Conway gave their teams the best of both worlds.

King hit .454 and drove in 55 runs with his 43 hits, which included 15 homers and 12 doubles. He also scored 53 runs and walked 18 times in 37 games. On the mound, King went 8-2 with a 1.53 earned run average and struck out 72 in 55 innings.

Conway hit .500 with seven doubles and five homers among his 27 hits. He also stole 16 bases and scored 29 runs in 17 games. Conway went hurled 35 innings and went 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and struck out 52.

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Interchangeable.

King is The Herald-Mail 2009 All-Area Hitter of the Year and Conway is The Herald-Mail 2009 All-Area Pitcher of the Year.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound King helped guide Martinsburg to the West Virginia Class AAA state championship. In the semifinals, he threw a one-hitter in an 8-1 win over Logan.

"Personally, the championship hasn't hit me yet," said King. "As a senior, it's the best way to go out leaving four years behind you."

King, drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 27th round of the Major League Baseball draft, is seeking a home on the college level -- if he doesn't sign with the Nationals -- following a mutual release from the University of Tennessee.

He worked through physical pain after surgery for three sports hernias last year. Earlier this year, he had a sore shoulder, rested and then came back stronger down the stretch with his 90- to 94-mph fastball.

"After the surgery, the doctor told me I was OK to do what I wanted," said King. "So, the muscles healed in the shoulder and it was off to the gym."

His coach, John Lowery Jr., was impressed.

"Brandon didn't have to play when he had the hernias, but he still hit nine homers and won six games and we still went to the state semis," said Lowery. "And he didn't let the shoulder problem bother his hitting. He stayed focused."

While King is a one-sport star, Conway not only displayed his abilities on the diamond, but also on the football field. He was named The Herald-Mail All-Area Offensive Player of the Year last fall.

Conway recently traveled to Atlanta for a workout with the Braves, who drafted him in the 42nd round. He has a scholarship with Coastal Carolina, where he expects to continue in his dual role of outfielder-pitcher.

"It's been a lot of fun," Conway said of his senior season and of the added attention he received from professional scouts.

"All throughout high school it was about dedication, to do things right, and I think I've done the best that I could," said Conway.

The 6-1, 170-pounder topped out at 91 mph on the radar gun this year and can throw the ball from his position in center field on a line to home plate.

Seeing the game from different parts of the field, Conway offered different perspectives on his preference.

"When I'm pitching I know the game is in my hands," he said. "You can throw the batter off. As a hitter, it's just the opposite. You can mess up the pitcher, knock off his timing."

Conway, who is also the Washington County Player of the Year, is spending the summer playing with the Maryland Redbirds in the Cal Ripken Sr. College Baseball League.

The 2009 Herald-Mail All-Area Baseball First Team:

Bret Moreland, Jefferson, Sr., C

Moreland did amazing things for Jefferson as a power-hitting catcher. He hit .467 (50-for-107), scored 57 runs with 10 doubles, three triples, three homers and 33 RBIs. He also walked 19 times and stole 21 bases and had an on-base percentage of .558.

Zach Stolipher, Martinsburg, Soph.; 1B

One of Martinsburg's sophomore brigade for the future. Hit .356 (36-for-101) with strong power numbers -- nine homers and 13 doubles. Drove in 41 runs and walked 29 times.

Mark Clatterbuck, Musselman, Sr., 2B

Clatterbuck hit .432 (38-for-88) and had a team-high 12 doubles and 32 runs scored.

Brandon Glazer, Clear Spring, Jr., SS

Glazer was among the top Washington County hitters all season, hitting .483 (29-for-60). He had 23 RBIs, 15 walks and 14 stolen bases.

Jamison Walck, Waynesboro, Sr., 3B

Walck batted .431 (25-for-58) for the Indians and led the team with 23 runs scored, six home runs and 23 RBIs. Also walked 12 times and stole eight bases.

Jordan Thurber, Clear Spring, Sr., OF

Thurber hit .437 (21-for-48) for the Blazers with four homers and 22 RBIs. Scored 17 runs and walked an amazing 28 times in 18 games, many intentional.

Alex Izer, Greencastle, Sr., OF

Izer led Greencastle's rise this year with a .500 average (30-for-60). He scored 24 runs, drove in 25 runs, walked 14 times and pilfered 13 bases.

Tylor McCain, Hedgesville, Sr., OF

The lone player making the first team two straight years. The Shepherd University recruit hit .353 (30-for-83), scored 29 runs, drove in 16 runs from the top part of the batting order, walked 20 times and stole 22 bases.

Michael Twigg, Berkeley Springs, Sr., P

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