North Lenoir’s Colby McLawhorn is the 2018 Kinston Free Press All-Area Baseball Player Of The Year.

The senior won the honor for the second consecutive year. As the player of the year last year, the senior handled the target on his back well with a .405 averaging, 4 home runs, and 23 RBIs, stats that led the NCHSAA Eastern Regional runner-up Hawks.

“Any success that a guy has is hard to repeat twice, but keeping the same mindset, trying to stay within yourself and not trying to do too much is very key in anybody’s success story in sports,” McLawhorn said. “That’s all I tried to do this year was be me, and not try to go outside of my standards, and what I can do. Sometimes you just have to accept that role and be thankful for it.”

As the catcher, McLawhorn handled a lot of defensive responsibilities along with being asked to carry the offense out of the 3-hole.

“Seems like every clutch moment we had this year, he was up at the plate, or he was making a play behind the plate,” all-area Co-Pitcher of the Year Quinton Pittman said. “It was great because you knew he was going to get it done, and not many guys can do what he did this year, hitting and defensive wise. It was awesome having him on the team.” 

Coach Jackson Massey said McLawhorn’s character and makeup contributed to his ability to be consistent enough to put together two players of the year award campaigns.

“Colby was player of the year last year as a junior, and it’s hard to win it once, but it’s even harder to win it two times in a row, because everybody knows who he is,” Massey said. “He took that pressure, put it on his shoulders, and just played a little bit. When you have kids who have that mindsets that they have of I am going to get it done no matter what it takes, I think that is really huge. I think the other kids fed off of it.”

The former state champion at Arendell Parrott Academy said that the Hawks run to the Eastern Regional Final will be one he never forgets.

“Ultimately, we wanted to win the state championship, but the ride we took, it was great,” McLawhorn said. “I’ll cherish it forever. The bus rides, eating out, and going to practice, and just everything from A to Z was fun, and I enjoyed every bit of it.”

The biggest moment in the senior’s campaign came on a Friday night in April with his team struggling to hit off of all-area co-Pitcher of the Year Camden Noble. After a man got on, one out, McLawhorn came up to bat 0-3 on the day, trailing 2 to 1. McLawhorn took the third pitch and put it out to right field.

“As a kid, you live for little things like that,” McLawhorn said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to be in that position. It’s hard to do that sometimes. I’m not one to be on personal stats and stuff like that, but that probably stands out to me the most. It means a lot to me. I know a lot of guys there at South Lenoir, and it makes it that much better.”

McLawhorn will now take his talents to the University of Mount Olive that will give him a good chance to develop as a player.

“The last game of the season, I was like, ‘at least I got 4 more years,’” McLawhorn said. “I kind of felt for some of those that have played baseball for all up to these years and they’re not going to be able to play it anymore. I’[m just beyond thankful that I get to play it again, and i’ll go from there.”

Kai Jones can be contacted via email @ kjones@kinston.com or by calling 252-559-1078. You can follow him on twitter @MMJKaiJones as well. You can also add him on Facebook at Kai Jones.