After dominant senior seasons, North Lenoir’s Quinton Pittman and South Lenoir’s Camden Noble have been named the 2018 Kinston Free Press All-Area baseball Co-Pitchers of the Year.

When the lights were brightest, these two shined the most. Including two matchups where they combined to give up 1 earned run in 25 innings against each other. It was fuel to the fire in a rivalry.

“It’s great competing with Quinton for pitcher of the year the whole time,” Noble said. “I knew I had to keep my stats up to be named with him. It’s been amazing competing with him, because you want to do better than the next person.”

Pittman and Noble played on teams together for years before high school, but once they got to high school, they became rivals. Their numbers so close, it’s hard to tell them apart. Both pitched 55 2/3 innings, Pittman had the lower ERA at 0.88 while Noble had 2 more strikeouts at 77.

Noble was South Lenoir’s best weapon. When Noble pitched, the Blue Devils were 7-4 and when Noble pitched at least 3 innings his team was 7-2, the only 2 losses to Pittman.

“You knew when he was lined up to throw, you’re going to have a good shot,” South Lenoir coach David Combs said. “When he went out there, we knew we had a good shot. He was dominating presence, teams hated facing him.”

Noble only began pitching his junior year. In those two years he became a dominant pitcher, and one that coaches around the conference said that he could win games on his own. Noble is just happy to be honored and didn’t know this was possible when he started pitching.

“When they show up to the ballpark, and you’re on the mound and they’re like, ‘ah, crap, we got to face him again,’ that feels amazing, because you know you’re pretty good,” Noble said. “It was a big change, I went from not pitching at all to being a starting pitcher for my team, and I knew I had to do it for them. When I first started pitching, I never thought I would be this good.”

Pittman, though, was put in a tough spot this year. His junior year he was the No. 2 starter, but with Reed Parris graduating, Pittman stepped up and the playoff run was one his coach said he had never seen before.

“He knew he would have to replace Reed’s role on the team, he knew he would pitch in the big games, he knew that he was going to be the number one,” North Lenoir head coach Jackson Massey said. “Last year the games he pitched in, minus the playoffs, they didn’t have as much riding on them that he threw in this year. He took that and rolled with it. He was really really good all year long. I don’t know if I’ve seen a playoff performance like he did in 3 games that was pretty incredible.”

Pittman was a dominant big game pitcher. Starting from his March 22 start against South Lenoir, Pittman pitched 39 2/3 innings allowing 2 earned runs with 52 strikeouts and his team won all 7 games. His last 3 starts in that span was in the playoffs and he pitched 2 shutouts and gave up one run to one of the best offenses in the state in West Craven. Pittman said Massey challenged him before the season, and it paid off for him.

“Last year, before the season even started, me and coach Massey, we had a talk in his office and he was telling me about what I could be and that I needed to work harder, because last year I didn’t do that much before the season, and it really got to me last season,” Pittman said. “This year I knew I had to work a lot harder, and it worked out.”

Now that the season is over the two pitchers rivalry has ended and they will now face the challenge of college baseball. Pittman at Belmont Abbey, and Noble at Brunswick Community College.

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.