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Three share Super 22 player of the year honors

Jeff Birchfield • May 22, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Never before have three players been chosen as the Johnson City Press/Kingsport Times-News Super 22 baseball player of the year. Never before in the history of the award have been the circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic.

It means the honor was chosen much like college sports with the Associated Press preseason All-American teams or the preseason all-conference teams, which are based on past accomplishments and projected performance.

Three players — Science Hill’s Caleb Marmo, Elizabethton’s Evan Carter and Daniel Boone’s Cade Elliott — all who have signed with Power 5 schools, share the 2020 Super 22 player of the year award.

Marmo, who is headed to Wake Forest, was a Super 22 and all-state selection last season. As a junior, he batted .312 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 45 runs scored.

Other offensive numbers include 36 walks and 30 stolen bases. But Marmo’s greatest talent may be on the defensive end, where the outfielder has both great speed and a strong arm.

His arm strength was highlighted in the Hilltoppers’ 7-5 win over David Crockett. As the Pioneers rallied with four runs over the final two innings, Marmo dashed their hopes with a throw from center field to Science Hill catcher Ben Edwards, who then tagged out Landon Quillen.

Crockett coach Spencer Street was impressed with Marmo coming through with the game on the line.

“Caleb is a heckuva player and that’s a big league throw,” Street said. “Maybe you hold him up, but we’re aggressive on the base pads and that’s a chance we take regularly. It takes a perfect throw and Caleb made a perfect throw, not much you can do about it.”

Carter, the 2019 Super 22 player of the year, has signed with Duke, but could end up being picked in the Major League draft and go the professional route.

As a junior pitcher, he lost his first two starts in 2019, but then reeled off 10 straight wins, leading the Cyclones to the state tournament.

He had 99 strikeouts and gave up only 17 walks in 72 2/3 innings. In addition, he had four home runs, 27 RBIs and 28 walks. His high school coach, Ryan Presnell, has no doubt that Carter will play in the pros at some point.

“He’s one of the guys that has helped put us on the map as far as elite programs in the state,” Presnell said. “I know when the (Duke) coaches first saw him that he is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent.”

Elliott, who has signed with Tennessee, was the No. 2 pitcher on the 2019 Super 22 team. He also was a force at the plate with a .494 batting average and 33 RBIs. The 6-foot-6, left-handed pitcher racked up 59 strikeouts over 40 innings and gave up just seven earned runs for the season with 1.04 ERA.

Rob Hoover, then Daniel Boone coach, talked about Elliott’s control after the lefty posted back-to-back shutout wins over Volunteer and Science Hill.

"When Cade commands his ball like he's been commanding it, he has the potential to shut down a lot of good offensive teams,” Hoover said. "He mixes that breaking ball and change-up just enough that it makes his fastball look that much better.”

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