All-Area Team: Nick Lewis and William Teal named player and coach of the year

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2016


The Charles Henderson Trojans came into the 2016 with a lot of questions. One of the few certainties was senior shortstop Nick Lewis, whose performance at the plate helped the Trojans finish with 27 wins.

The 2016 campaign saw Lewis lead the team with a .434 batting average, slugged five homeruns and compiled a total of 27 extra base hits. Lewis finished the season with 45 RBIs and stole 16 bases.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

For those reasons Lewis was named as the All-Area Player of the Year. Joining Lewis is the 2016 All-Area Coach of the Year, William Teal.

“(Nick) has a lot of ability and he is a talented guy,” said Charles Henderson head coach William Teal. “He was able to hit and he really helped us in the lineup. He is very productive as an RBI guy.”

After losing back-to-back state champion players like Austin Ingram and Chase Smartt, Lewis along with the other seniors were looked to carry the roster moving forward. All season long the Trojans were able to count on Lewis to play big when needed.

“He helped carry the team this year,” Teal said. “What stuck out to me was his ability to perform when we needed him to. He was a guy you could count on when you needed a hit. He always seemed to produce when we needed him the most.”

Lewis finished with a team leading 19 doubles and was third on the team in stolen bases with 16.

“He was good on the base paths,” Teal said. “He was aggressive and that is what we tried to do all year. He took the bull by the horn and did that for us.”

Lewis’s ability on the field did more than garner attention from Teal and the Trojan faithful. His play drew attention from opposing coaches and more importantly that of college coaches. Lewis signed a baseball scholarship in May to attend Wallace State Community College in Dothan.

“There is no doubt that he is a college caliber player,” Teal said. “He has the physical build for a college player. Coaches knew how well he could swing the bat and that he had good pitch selection and his ability to use all areas of the field. Coaches pick up on that.”

Lewis’s best attribute was his bat and Teal believes Lewis has the potential to only get better as he continues to grow.

“He will see better pitching more consistently,” Teal said. “I think he can handle that pitching the more and more that he sees it. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Lewis made up a top of the order that saw everybody feed off each other’s success. When one of the players was hitting well, he would set up the players around him. Lewis helped teammates such as Bryson Gandy and Jabronski Williams and vice versa.

“People were able to feed off him,” Teal said. “It also works in the other way. He was able to feed off their success before him. That’s what makes for a successful team. That’s what makes him such a great player. He can feed off other people doing things and take advantage.”

Teal took over for legendary coach Derek Irons not quite knowing what to expect, but at the end of his first season the Trojans were deep into a post-season run.

“It’s an honor,” Teal said of his Coach of the Year nomination. “It makes me feel good to have the honor of receiving this award. Year one was a good one. It had its ups and downs, which every year does.”

William Tealweb

The Trojans jumped out a 16-1 record that included winning the Terry Sikes Tournament championship by defeating 7A powerhouse Northridge.

“I had a great team and I stepped into a great situation,” Teal said. “I had a great group of seniors … You’re only as good as your team chemistry. Many people didn’t give us much of a chance to be good this year. We proved them wrong and I don’t think it was anything that I did. The head coach is only as good as his assistants.”

The Trojans finished the season in second place in their area behind Rehobeth. They advanced to round two of the state playoffs by defeating Tallassee. The season came to a close in round two against Rehobeth.

Other players to join Lewis on the All-Area team are infielders: Hunter Jones and Wood Jinright of Pike Liberal Arts and Cade Mobley of Zion Chapel and Jackson Murphy of Charles Henderson. The outfielders included Bryson Gandy and Jabronski Williams of Charles Henderson and Cory Peterson of Goshen. The pitchers included Chase Hartley of Charles Henderson, Taylor Napper of Zion Chapel and Landon Wilkes of Goshen. Hunter Williams was named as a designated hitter.