By: Evan Rogers
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — With the Coastal Plain League All-Star game at Ting Stadium coming up on Sunday, the league recently announced its All-Star roster. On July 2, five Salamanders were selected to represent the East Division in this year’s game.
Let’s meet Holly Springs’ All-Star selections.
Robert Brooks, Catcher
Brooks stands as the lone All-Star starter for Holly Springs. This season, the senior from Columbus State’s leadership has been present both at the plate and in the dugout.
The catcher’s .333 batting average stands as a team-best, and his patience and connectivity with the Salamanders’ pitching staff helped Brooks earn the starting nod. However, Brooks’ abilities at the plate stretch far beyond his consistent barrel, as he’s launched three home runs this season and recorded 19 RBIs.
Michael Foltz Jr., Left-Handed Pitcher
Foltz Jr. serves as Holly Springs’ most polarizing closer. The left-handed pitcher has seen 17.1 innings on the bump and has surrendered one earned run this season — good for a 0.51 ERA.
The senior who recently transferred from Duke also holds one of the top strikeout-to-walk ratios on the team, tallying 23 strikeouts to just five walks. Moreover, Foltz’s tempo and flare on the mound has had opposing batters guessing all summer long.
Will Stewart, Designated Hitter
If one word could be used to describe Stewart, it’d be power. This season, the Liberty Flame has seared a team-best eight home runs, including a multi-homer game against the South Wake Shakes on June 5.
Yet, it’s more than Stewart’s forceful barrel that earned the sophomore designated hitter a spot on this year’s All-Star team. His 25 RBIs stands atop the Salamanders’ lineup and Stewart’s array of fielding skills has allowed him play a multitude of positions, including both right fielder and catcher.
Brett Callahan, Outfielder
Callahan represents the lead-off spot for Holly Springs on most nights. Unlike a typical lead-off batter, Callahan likes to attack early in outings — especially on fastballs — and has no shortage of power to crack balls out of the park.
Before a mid-season slump struck the sophomore from Saint Joseph’s, Callahan was batting over at .400 clip. Still, he serves as one of the more consistent barrels on Holly Springs’ roster, turning roughly one third of his at-bats into hits while also skying five bombs through 26 games.
Connor Coolahan, Second Baseman
Don’t look too much into the numbers for Coolahan, because his impact stretches past what is recorded in a box score. The Elon product this year has been serviceable at the plate — clocking in a .255 batting average — but it’s his defensive abilities that shine on a nightly basis.
Although Coolahan was selected as a second baseman for the All-Star squad, he’s seen time at shortstop and third base this season. No matter where he’s positioned, Coolahan’s glove and reaction time always deliver.