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Abingdon's Cade Hungate, Ridgeview's Nikole Counts SW Va. players of the year

KEVIN MAYS, kmays@timesnews.net • Jun 11, 2018 at 1:09 AM

The Kingsport Times News baseball and softball players of the year for Southwest Virginia both had a knack for “pitching” in.

Abingdon hurler Cade Hungate and Ridgeview pitcher Nikole Counts had a solid year both on the mound and at the plate, and both led their teams in strong postseason runs.


Hungate, a senior, is the Southwest Virginia baseball player of the year after finishing with a perfect record on the mound. The Florida State signee closed the season with a 10-0 record and a 1.21 ERA.

At the plate, Hungate finished with a .550 batting average, recording five home runs and 37 RBIs.

He’s one of four Abingdon players on the All-Southwest Virginia team, among them Radford signee Tanner Barrs. Barrs finished with a 7-0 pitching record and a .467 batting average with four home runs and 34 RBIs.

East Carolina signee Thomas Francisco and East Tennessee State signee Kevin Christy of Abingdon are the utility players.

Abingdon’s Mark Francisco, who led the Falcons to a 23-3 record and to a berth in the state championship game for the first time since 1984, is the coach of the year.

The 18-member All-Southwest Virginia team features 12 players from the Mountain 7 District and six from the Cumberland District.


Player of the Year 

Cade Hungate, Abingdon

Coach of the Year

Mark Francisco, Abingdon

All-Southwest Virginia Team

P — Cade Hungate, Abingdon

P — Noah Rasnick, Eastside

P — Tanner Barrs, Abingdon

P — Adam Cox, Union

P — Justin Reed, Twin Springs

1B — Cole Harness, Eastside

2B — Landon Turner, Gate City

3B — Tyler Muncy, Wise Central

SS — Andrew Cavins, J.I. Burton

C — Jon Compton, Gate City

OF — Zach James, Wise Central

OF — Jonah Hilton, Lee High

OF — Jacob Dishner, Rye Cove

DH — Drew Richards, Eastside

Utility — Thomas Francisco, Abingdon

Utility — J.P. Stallard, Wise Central

Utility — Kevin Christy, Abingdon

Utility — Derrick Allen, J.I. Burton



Led by Counts, 10 players out of the Mountain 7 District and eight from the Cumberland District make up the Times News All-Southwest Virginia softball team.

Counts, the Times News Southwest Virginia softball player of the year, finished with a 14-6 record. She compiled 141 strikeouts, gave up only 15 walks and registered a 1.88 ERA.

At the plate, she posted a .547 batting average.

Counts’ coach, Kent Grant, is the Southwest Virginia softball coach of the year. Grant, whose team was picked to finish sixth in preseason voting, guided the Wolfpack to a second-place finish in the Mountain 7.

Under Grant, Ridgeview advanced to the Region 2D semifinals before seeing its season end in a heartbreaking loss to Lebanon.


Player of the Year

Nikole Counts, Ridgeview

Coach of the Year

Kent Grant, Ridgeview

All-Southwest Virginia Team

P — Nikole Counts, Ridgeview

P — Sydney Bailey, John Battle

P — Marleigh Duncan, Union

P — Aubrey Powers, Twin Springs

P — Kate Pendleton, Gate City

1B — Emily Moore, Eastside

2B — Hunter Grant, Ridgeview

3B — Hannah Buchanan, Eastside

SS— Hailey Byington, Rye Cove

C — Arielle Tritt, Lee High

OF — Abby Vicars, Rye Cove

OF — Emili Brooks, Union

OF — Lexie King, Eastside

DP — Ashley Smith, Rye Cove

Utility — Autumn Sexton, John Battle

Utility — Jenna Wade, Union

Utility — Brook Porter, Wise Central

Utility — Carrie Boyd, Eastside



Here are the Times News Southwest Virginia honorees for soccer, track and field and tennis:


Female Player of the Year — Callie McMurray, Gate City

Male Player of the Year — Juan Onate, Wise Central

Coach of the Year — Hunter Meade, Virginia High

Track and Field

Female Athlete of the Year — Lydia  Blair-James, J.I. Burton

Male Athlete of the Year — Avery Jenkins, Union

Coach of the Year — James Hamilton III, Union


Female Player of the Year — Riley Mullins, Ridgeview

Male Player of the Year — Reed Crabtree, John Battle

Coach of the Year — Delonda Spivey, Gate City

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