By STEVEN MARSH
SALEM – For the second year in a row, Franklin County prep standout Cameron Mullins has been selected as a finalist for the Ray Bellamy Award, given annually by the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame.
The award will be presented at Salem Memorial Baseball Field prior to the start of Wednesday’s Salem Red Sox’s Class A Carolina League game.
The Hall of Fame’s board of directors has chosen seven finalists for this year’s award, which recognizes the high school Player of the Year from a seven-county region.
The Hall of Fame has given the award since 1992 and four former Franklin County prep stars, all of whom played college baseball at the NCAA Division I level and two of whom played professionally, are recipients: Chad Foutz, Gray Holdges, Larry Bowles and Bobby Basham.
Mullins, a pitcher/infielder, is a finalist along with pitcher/outfielder Brae Farrell of Lord Botetourt; catcher Nick Funk of Staunton River; pitcher/shortstop Brady Kirtner of Christiansburg; third baseman Hunter Meador of William Byrd; shortstop/pitcher Carter Plunkett of Patrick Henry; and outfielder Parker Stallard of Salem.
Mullins, a three-year varsity performer for the Eagles who has spent the summer competiting for Rocky Mount Post 6’s American Legion Baseball Seniors team, helped lead FCHS to a 14-7 record in a campaign that ended with a loss to Class 6 state semifinalist James River-Midlothian in the quarterfinals of the Region B playoffs.
Mullins, who has given a non-binding verbal commitment to continue his baseball career at Emory & Henry College of the NCAA Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), was voted Region B’s Player of the Year and co-Player of the Year in the multi-classification Piedmont District. He was a first-team honoree in both the region and the district and a second-team performer as an infielder (first base) in the region.
As a pitcher, Mullins, a right-hander, appeared in 12 games, 10 of which were starts and was 6-1 with a 1.67 earned-run-average (ERA).
In 50 1/3 innings, Mullins surrendered 44 hits, 10 walks and a hit batsman, while striking out 50.
Mullins batted .394 with five doubles, one triple, three home runs and 35 RBIs.
Mullins finished his high-school career with six home runs.
Funk was the Region 3D Player of the Year and earned second team Class 3 accolades. He hit .549 with 39 hits, including 12 doubles and three home runs. He drove in 28 runs.
Funk committed no errors and threw out 10 of 17 runners attempting to steal.
Meador garnered first team Region 3D laurels. He batted .466 with 13 doubles, three triples and one home run. He drove in 21 runs and stole seven bases in nine tries.
Plunkett, who has made a non-binding verbal commitment to NCAA Division III Roanoke College, was 3-2 with two saves, 48 strikeouts abd a 3.62 ERA in 38 2/3 innings.
A first team Region 5D performer, Plunkett batted .570 with seven home runs, 11 doubles, two triples and 38 RBIs. He was 11 of 15 at the plate in postseason play.
Stallard batted .484 with four doubles, four home runs and four triples. He drove in 24 runs, scored 33 and stole 19 bases.
A junior, Stallard has made a non-binding verbal commitment to Virginia Tech.
Kirtner was 8-1 with 91 strikeouts and a 1.56 ERA. He averaged 11 strikeouts a game and opponents batted.152 against him.
Kirtner has signed with Virginia Tech.
Stallard and Kirtner are the only juniors among the finalists.
Keith Reed of Class 1 state champion Auburn is the Posey Oyler Scholarship winner.
A first-team All-State player, Reed belted 10 doubles, stole 20 bases scored 39 runs and drove in 28 runs.