In a group of players that includes one recently drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and two others are headed for college to play baseball, Sam Zayieck stood out at Lake Norman High School.
Zayicek, who graduated last weekend, played eight positions for the Wildcats, was the leadoff batter, amassing a .387 batting average and providing a solid performance on the mound with a 2.63 ERA. Zayicek will also be on the field next year for a college team – High Point University.
Zayicek is the Record & Landmark’s All-County Baseball Player of the Year.
His teammates, Jonathan Perez and Justin Jarvis also put together solid senior years and careers at Lake Norman. Jarvis was recently drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and is set to play at UNC-Wilmington while Perez is planning to play at UNC-Asheville. Anthony Palma will attend Macalester College in Minnesota and play baseball.
His statistics aren’t the only measure of his success, said his coach Ty Wigginton.
Wigginton said Zayicek was a great leader for the team and a stabilizing influence throughout the year.
Zayicek showed a talent for the game earlier on, a talent that he’s nurtured through the years to the point he was a dominant force for the Wildcats. During his senior year, he made 10 appearances on the mound, racking up 25 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched and saving five games for the Wildcats. He also was a power at the plate, knocking in 20 runs with four doubles, one triple and two home runs. His on base percentage was .500 and he swiped 11 bases for the Wildcats this year.
A record of double digit steals is not surprising for Zayicek since he considers speed one of the strong points of his game.
Zayicek is quick to point out that his teammates and coach were vital to his success on the field. “I’m blessed to be surrounded by these people,” he said.
Zayicek has been a part of a Wildcat squad that reached the state playoffs the past two years, going to the west regionals last year and losing in the second round to Ardrey Kell. Ardrey Kell lost in the state championship game.
He said the entire season was special, but a highlight was playing in an Easter tournament in Florida. The Wildcats played four games, winning three against teams from Ohio, California and Kentucky.
That experience, along with the Wildcats’ success season, made for a great senior year, Zayicek said, and although he’s thrilled with the prospect of playing college ball, and maybe one day in the Major Leagues, he said he’s proud of the career he built and the team he played with at Lake Norman.
Before he heads to college, to hone his skills, Zayicek is spending his summer playing baseball for the Race City Bootleggers.
Wigginton said Zayicek will be a force to be reckoned with as he continues his baseball career. “I don’t think he’s come close to tapping his potential,” he asid.
Pitchers: Justin Jarvis, Lake Norman; Jonathan Perez, Lake Norman; Carter Sheppard, Lake Norman
Catcher: Brett Burchett, Mooresville
First base: Cameron Clonch, Mooresville
Second base: Harrison Livingston, Lake Norman
Shortstop: Anthony Palma, Lake Norman
Third base: Jermie Greene, South Iredell
Outfielders: Vance Anderson, Lake Norman; Scotty Diekman, Lake Norman; Quin Ferguson, Mooresville
Utility: Sam Zayicek, Lake Norman
Honorable mention: Blake Burchett, Mooresville;Josh Frye, Statesville Christian;Brandon Gregory, West Iredell; Tafton Hensley, South Iredell;David Highman, North Iredell;Charlie Jacobs, Statesville Christian; Tyler Laws, Statesville Christian;John Payne, West Iredell;Gage Smith, Lake Norman; Mason Staz, North Iredell; Nick Ward, West Iredell; Ryan Zirkle, South Iredell