NSA nets all-state honorsPublished 8:04pm Saturday, June 1, 2013
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy netted two representatives on the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II all-state first team for softball and baseball, with juniors Macy Mears and Jake Grady being named. Senior Tripp Kretz made the all-state second team.
For Mears, this was her third straight year to make the all-state first team and her fourth year to receive all-state recognition.
She said it was exciting to receive the honor and “humbling also to know that our work during practice and everything paid off in the end.”
Mears earned this spot, like her first team all-conference honor, with her season stats that added up to a .667 batting average, 20 hits, 13 RBIs, 16 runs scored, seven stolen bases, four doubles and four triples. Though offense was hard to come by for the Lady Saints at the state-level, she managed hits in both games.
NSA softball coach Kim Aston highlighted Mears’ consistency, saying, “She is always one that we can count on to get a base hit. I think she only struck out twice this year.”
Mears has been a key contributor to the Lady Saints since her eighth-grade year, and Aston attributes it to Mears’ having played baseball from the age of 5 through 13.
“She made the all-star team every year, and she either pitched or played shortstop on those boys’ baseball all-star teams,” Aston said. “So, when she came in to play softball, she really didn’t want to switch for a long time, and then once she switched over, her skills were just so further along, they were much more advanced than most of the girls her age at that point.”
“Most everything I’ve learned was from baseball, and then I carried it over to softball and made a few adjustments,” Mears added.
Jake Grady was receiving his first-ever all-state honor.
“It’s kind of the culmination of a good season almost,” he said. “It was like the last thing I had for a goal for the season, so it was exciting to finally reach it.
Grady’s stats included a .400 batting average overall, .600 slugging percentage overall, 24 hits, 18 RBIs, 21 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, a home run and nine doubles. In the Saints’ one state-level game, he went 3-for-6 with a grand slam and seven RBIs.
Saints baseball coach David Mitchell could rely upon Grady to help the team offensively, as he led the team in most statistical categories. However, he noted that Grady’s state-level game against Atlantic Shores Christian School was remarkable.
“Seven RBIs is something you don’t see a whole lot,” Mitchell said. “If a player has three or four RBIs, it’s been a great game. Seven is kind of something that doesn’t happen very often. When it does, the player’s had an outstanding game and come to the plate with the bases loaded and guys on, and then taken advantage of those opportunities.”
Grady said he was able to do it because of “all the work I put in before. Not just before the game, but even before the season started, and in the winter, that kind of stuff.”
While injury sidelined Tripp Kretz for his junior year, he returned and had what Mitchell described as a consistent year. But in the last five games, he took it to another level, with at least two hits in each game and registering double figures in RBIs. He ended up with a .386 batting average, .456 slugging percentage and 18 RBIs for the year.