ZEBULON — Seven East Wake Academy athletes earned North Central Athletic Conference honors for their performance in the spring sports season.
Among those was sophomore Brooke Sanderson, who was also named the league’s player of the year in softball. It marked the first time an East Wake Academy athlete has ever earned that title.
Sanderson earned her MVP status as a top player in several categories. She led the conference with three home runs, was second in slugging at .840 and was third with a .500 average at the plate.
She was also fourth in on-base percentage (.551) and steals (12), sixth in RBI (17) and runs scored (18), and seventh in the league in fielding percentage (.915). Sanderson was dubbed the school’s Female Athlete of the Year at the school’s spring sports banquet.
Joining Sanderson on the all-conference list were baseball players Justin Lape and Rex Johnson; girls soccer players Isabella Hertzig and Emily Stacy; and softball players Lexi Hargesheimer and Rachel Thompson.
Lape, a senior pitcher and first baseman for the Eagles, finished in the top-10 in the league in earned run average, strikeouts and wins. He was also 11th in the NCAC with a .310 average at the plate and 19th with a .412 on-base percentage.
“We’re really going to miss Lape next year,” said baseball coach Rex Johnson Sr. “He was a guy who was willing to play anywhere and do anything to help make us successful. I didn’t even have to ask – I’d just point and he was on it, whether it was practice or a game.”
Lape’s teammate Rex Johnson, a junior, fueled the team on offense. He was fifth in the conference with a .436 batting average and tied for first with three home runs on the season. Johnson also finished second with an .820 slugging percentage, 10th with a .476 OBP and ninth in strikeouts.
“RJ really helped us with his bat this year,” coach Johnson said of his son. “He really helped out with some of the younger guys, and was extension of a coach out there.”
Coaches say Hertzig, a junior center back, was best known for her explosive play on the girls soccer team. At the same time, the coaches say the 20-game starter had a contagious patience that helped the Eagles set more than 100 offside calls in the spring. Every year has been a lettering year for Hertzig, a 4.1 GPA student who also cheers and plays volleyball at East Wake Academy.
Stacy, a junior midfielder and soccer team captain, was seventh in the NCAC with nine assists and 15th with eight goals. She kept up a 4.14 GPA while helping the team to its first appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A state playoffs. Stacy, who also plays basketball and volleyball, also served as occasional goalie for the Eagles.
“Both these girls were so instrumental to our success this year,” said girls soccer coach Michael Sloop. “They’re everything you hope to get in a student-athlete – good players, outstanding athletes and even better people.”
Hargesheimer, a sophomore second baseman on the softball team, had two big swings that left her at No. 2 in the league in home runs. She was also 11th in slugging and runs at .500 and 15, respectively, 14th with a .396 OBP and sixth in the NCAC with 10 steals.
Thompson led the NCAC with 21 steals her freshman season, placing fourth among all 1A players in the state in that category. She was also in the top 10 in the league in batting average (.421), fielding (.902), home runs (1), on-base percentage (.585), runs (23), slugging (.578) and strikeouts (43).
“These three girls were fantastic this year,” coach Rich Thompson said of his softball players. “It was an honor coaching them and all of the girls on the team. It was pretty cool getting those honors our first year in the league.”