Official League Website
Southern Collegiate League top 10 prospects (list)
Perfect Game Summer Collegiate top prospect coverage
any name, the Ballantyne Smokies are the longest continuous-operating
franchise in the Southern Collegiate League. But prior to 2012, the
Smokies had never won a league title.
all changed this summer as the Smokies, who were formed in 1999 as
the Carolina Sox, later became the Carolina Thunder and were known in
2011 as the Carolina Stingers before being sold to a group that
includes Washington Nationals infielder Chad Tracy and subsequently
relocated to suburban Charlotte, won the SCBL championship. The
Smokies left little doubt that they were the best team in the league
in 2012 as they posted the best regular-season record at 25-16 and
swept to the league title by beating the Carolina Chaos 12-2 in the
deciding game of the best-of-3 championship series.
players with local ties, outfielder Brandon Harris (Montreat, N.C.)
and catcher Brian Holberton (North Carolina), were instrumental in
the team’s success. Harris shattered the league record for homers
in a season (15), while Holberton hit .402-6-31 and finished in the
top three in batting average, homers and RBIs. Holberton then earned
MVP honors in the playoffs by going 11-for-18 with eight runs scored
and eight RBIs. In the process, he was selected the league’s top
prospect and five of the 10 spots on the accompanying list are
occupied by Ballantyne players.
League Established: 1999.
Represented in League: North
Carolina, South Carolina.
of Teams in League: 7 (8 in 2011).
Smokies (25-16); North—Morganton
Champion: Ballantyne Smokies.
PG CrossChecker Summer 50/Final Ranking:
1 Prospect, 2011: David Lee, of,
Lake Norman Copperheads (Bethune-Cookman; played in Florida
Collegiate Summer League in 2012).
2011 Player Selected, 2012 Draft:
Tyler Tewell, of, Pineville Pioneers (Appalachian State; Braves/14th
Average: Jonathan Wandling, of/rhp,
Carolina Chaos (.405).
Percentage: Brandon Harris, of,
Ballantyne Smokies (.847).
Average: Jace Whitley, 3b,
Statesville Owls; Brian Holberton, c, Ballantyne Smokies (.504).
Runs: Brandon Harris, of, Ballantyne
Brandon Harris, of, Ballantyne Smokies (36).
Bases: Cody Reid, of, Asheville
Ryan Woodring, rhp, Asheville Redbirds; Olen Little, rhp, Ballantyne
Olen Little, rhp, Ballentyne Smokies (2.23).
Alex Posey, rhp, Carolina Chaos; Grant Fisher, rhp, Ballantyne
Ryan Woodring, rhp, Asheville
Athlete: Tyler Poole, rhp, Lake
Hitter: Brian Holberton, c,
Power: Brandon Harris, of,
Base Runner: James Fowlkes, of,
Defensive Player: Ryan Hodge, ss,
Lake Norman Copperheads
Velocity: Tyler Poole, rhp, Lake
Breaking Ball: Patrick Corbett, rhp,
Lake Norman Copperheads
Command: Jeff Springs, lhp,
BRIAN HOLBERTON, c, Ballantyne Smokies (North Carolina/JR in 2013)
PROFILE: Signed by North Carolina as
a catcher out of a Charlotte high school, Holberton has yet to catch
a single game for the Tar Heels in his first two collegiate seasons.
Yet he took over the catching duties this summer for the Smokies and
acted like he had never been away from the position as he displayed
solid receiving and blocking actions behind the plate, along with
consistent sub-2.0 pop times. Holberton has superior athletic ability
for a catcher and is so versatile that he conceivably could play any
position on the field. He has earned most of his playing time in the
field at UNC at second base and in the outfield, and earned
second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a sophomore in a
DH role after hitting .297-1-15 and starting 29 games overall. In
regular duty this summer for the Smokies, Holberton showed solid
gap-to-gap pop and was second in the SCBL in batting (.402) and home
runs (6), and third in RBIs (31). He also shared the league lead in
on-base average (.504) while drawing 20 walks and striking out just
14 times. Holberton played an instrumental role in leading his team
to a league championship by going 11-for-18 in four playoff games; in
the deciding game, he had three hits, including a homer, and drove in
five runs. With the departure of UNC four-year starting catcher Jacob
Stallings, Holberton’s strong summer performance should put him
squarely in the mix to take over catching duties in 2013 for the Tar
Heels, though there are indications that he is equally likely to
spend time in the outfield.
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