High School Sports

Baseball Player of the Year: Patrick Andrews

Among the long list of attributes he rattles off when describing star pitcher Patrick Andrews' importance to his team, Hilton Head Prep baseball coach Nathan Stevens comes to the fact that Andrews often was the first player on the field for practices and games and the last one to leave.

Stevens pauses to clarify that this isn't just a typical coach-speak cliche.

"That's true, literally," Stevens said. "He made it a point to be the guy, when I'm out there getting the field ready, he's the first guy there. That's just who he is."

And it's a big reason Andrews, who has signed to play at Clemson next season, developed into a dominant pitcher for the Dolphins, posting a 10-2 record, an 0.89 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 61 innings. He also hit .408 with three home runs and 16 stolen bases, adding to the resume that made him The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette's baseball player of the year.

After an up-and-down junior season in which Andrews went just 3-4 despite a 1.95 ERA -- in large part because of the miscues of a young team playing behind him -- the right-hander was a standout for the Charleston-based Diamond Devils travel team last summer, earning him a scholarship offer from Clemson.

With that scholarship in hand, he could have coasted through his senior season at Prep, but that was never a concern for Stevens, who has seen Andrews' work ethic on display since he joined Prep's varsity team as a freshman.

"It was my senior year, last season of high school sports," Andrews said. "I really wanted to do the best I could and make sure looking back on it I didn't think, 'I wish I would've done this or that.' I just wanted us to be the best we could."

Andrews certainly did his part to ensure that when he was on the mound -- he accounted for 10 of Prep's 15 victories -- but Stevens was more impressed with his leadership in other areas.

"Even more than his physical ability, it was kind of the tone that he set, the expectations that he has and the support he gives everybody else," Stevens said. "Everybody wants to play hard for him, and they know that he's going to bring it.

"I think he's kind of a legacy guy in that he's leaving a piece of himself with the people he played with," he added. "To me, that's the thing that meant the most."

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