For the Rome Wolves and Model Blue Devils, with their respective ace pitchers on the mound, each team knew it had a fighter’s chance at walking away with the win.
At the plate, they were equally lethal, with a unique ability to make contact and push the ball into open space.
For Rome’s Bo Tucker and Model’s Brody Wofford, both had stellar seasons on the mound and at the plate, which is why they are named Rome News-Tribune Co-Players of the Year.
They were integral pieces for teams that made solid state playoff appearances after strong individual seasons.
In Game 1 of a doubleheader against Bremen, Wofford blasted a two-run home run, had a single and three RBIs to keep the Blue Devils close. While that wasn’t enough to earn the win in the first game, Wofford threw seven innings in Game 2, allowing just three runs to take the win. In the decisive Game 3, he went 5-for-5 from the plate and pushed Model to the second round.
In a first-round state playoff tilt with Sequoyah, it was Tucker’s arm that kept Rome alive throughout the pitcher’s duel.
The strong-armed hurler allowed just two hits through the first six innings and struck out six in the 3-0 loss.
It’s those performances that show just how hungry these two young ballplayers are. When the bar is raised, they follow suit.
Tucker was drafted Saturday by the Cincinnati Reds. Tucker was honored but will continue with his plans to pitch with UGA.
“I’m still going to go to Georgia to play, but it’s a dream come true,” Tucker said. “It’s an honor to say you were drafted. I’m not going to go, but it’s a pretty good feeling.”
For the season, Wofford threw 46 innings, with five wins. He struck out 54 batters and had a 3.15 ERA. Wofford’s appearance on the mound was threatening, but his ability to connect at the plate helped the Blue Devils to key wins throughout the year.
Wofford hit .511 from the plate with a .560 on-base percentage. He had seven doubles, four triples and one home run throughout the season. He drove in 27 runs and hit .640 with runners in scoring position. It was the norm to see a near-perfect outing from Wofford at the plate.
“Brody is a blue-collar type of ball player. He works hard and puts in countless hours working on his game,” said Model coach Brett White. “Brody is one of those players that has the ability to succeed, but his work ethic off of the field is what really makes him one of the top players in Northwest Georgia”.
Just a junior, Wofford has verbally committed to Jacksonville State. Tucker was also a stout offensive and defensive prospect this season, notching an All-State selection, as well as First Team All-Region 5-5A.
From the plate, Tucker batted .378 with 31 hits, five doubles, two triples, one home run and 23 RBIs.
As a pitcher, he won six games, earned one save and had a 1.74 ERA. Tucker pitched 56 innings and allowed just 14 earned runs for the year. He struck out 92 batters and opponents averaged .193 batting against him.
“It was an honor for me to coach Bo the last four years,” said Rome head coach Michael Dougherty.
“He had the best work ethic of any player I have ever coached, and by far the most competitive kid I have ever been around. He made people around him better, and that to me is the most important trait anyone can have. He is well deserving of this honor and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Tucker’s efforts helped lead the Wolves to a Region 5-5A runner-up finish and a first-round home playoff game in the Class 5A State Playoffs.
ALL-AREA BASEBALL TEAMS
Matt Gordon, Model — The catcher hit .465 from the plate with 12 doubles and 28 RBIs.
Ryan Whittemore, Model — Whittemore had 15 RBIs and hit .444 from the plate.
Burton Dulaney, Darlington — As a shortstop, Dulaney had 38 hits, batting .446 with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run and 16 RBIs.
Seth Little, Darlington — As a junior infielder, Little had 24 hits, batting .418 with five doubles.
Jay Shadday, Darlington — Just a sophomore, Shadday had eight wins over 60 innings. He had a 2.86 ERA with 73 strikeouts. He also hit .409 at the plate with six doubles, one triple, 20 RBIs and five home runs.
Fernando Espinal, Armuchee — A solid pitcher and hitter, Espinal had two wins, throwing 12 strikeouts and holding a 3.94 ERA. He also had 33 hits, batting .418 from the plate with five doubles.
Peyton Moore, Coosa — Moore earned five wins over 56 innings pitcher, striking out 50 batters for a 1.62 ERA. He also had three complete-game shutouts.
Hunter Storey, Coosa — Part of a one-two duo of pitcher, Storey threw 76 innings for five wins and two saves. He had a 1.66 ERA with 65 strikeouts and four complete games. He also threw a no-hitter.
Evan Mather, Rome — Mather earned seven wins in just 38 innings pitched. He had two saves, a 1.83 ERA and 48 strikeouts. From the plate, he had 25 hits, with four doubles and 11 RBIs.
Daylon Gates, Cedartown — Over a blistering 89 innings, Gates earned two wins with a .111 ERA. He struck out a whopping 136 batters. He hit .325 from the plate with three doubles and two triples.
Brett Peek, Calhoun — Peek connected on 40 hits, with a .421 batting average and six doubles. He also had one home run and 23 RBIs with a .486 on-base percentage.
Spencer Cross, Calhoun — The pitcher had a .60 ERA with 37 strikeouts, three wins and two complete games. Cross also had 32 hits, batting .416 with five doubles and two triples. He had 21 RBIs and a .473 on-base percentage.
Drake Frix, Darlington
Bo Davis, Coosa
Matthew Grubb, Model
Jacob Harrell, Rome
Logan Rice, Darlington
Mike Sands, Darlington
Quinton Kay, Pepperell
Casey Newsome, Cedartown
Weston McArthur, Calhoun
Brandon Cheatwood, Cedartown
John Alan Kendrick, Calhoun
Jon Register, Calhoun
Dawson Sanders, Rockmart
Hunter Chastain, Coosa
Jacob Farmer, Armuchee
Zach Cook, Rome
Trey Leonard, Model
Alex Nix, Armuchee
Zach Oneal, Pepperell
Evan Ashley, Pepperell
Will Deems, Rockmart
Harrison Barnett, Cedartown
Logan Walraven Calhoun
Josh Perkins, Rome