Midtown: Sports

Chad Smothers named as Knightdale athletics director

Chad Smothers, whose Leesville Road football teams have averaged more than 10 wins a season during his three years as coach, resigned to become athletics director at Knightdale High.

Smothers has ties to eastern Wake County. He came from Rockingham to be the baseball coach at East Wake in 2001-03. He resigned to become an assistant football and baseball coach at Havelock High. Smothers took the Leesville Road baseball job in 2005 and became the Pride’s defensive coordinator.

He added head football coaching duties in 2011 and gave up coaching baseball this spring. His three football teams posted 12-1, 12-1 and 8-4 records.

Smothers is following Guy Blough at Knightdale. Blough is retiring on June 30 and Smothers will begin July 1.

Leesville recruits: In addition to versatile back Braxton Berrios, who signed with Miami, Leesville Road has had five players from its 8-4 football team sign with colleges. Three others are expected to be walk-on candidates in college next year.

Defensive back Malcolm Hitchcock and offensive lineman Brien Henriquez signed with Louisburg, and offensive lineman Chris Pendergraft is headed to Randolph Macon. Linemen Jacy Judson and wide receiver Nate Duel signed with Methodist.

Offensive lineman Alex Butler (UNC Pembroke), long snapper Zane Weekman (Campbell) and defensive end Taylan Johnson (Greensboro College) are expected to walk on.

Bunn hitter: Sophomore first baseman Spencer Brickhouse hit close to .600 as a freshman and is closing in on .700 this season for the 14-3 Wildcats.

A 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-handed hitter has only three strikeouts this season, five home runs and 10 doubles.

“He is phenomenal,” said Bunn coach Christopher Cullen. “He really swings the bat well and he is smart at the plate. A lot of kids, if they’ve got two strikes, will wail away, but he’ll make adjustments and hit one up the middle or find a hole somewhere.”

Cullen said Brickhouse seems to play his best against good competition. He hit home runs in games against 4A Wake Forest and 4A Heritage this year.

Sophomore Nick Sanders, who struck out 13 in four innings in a loss to Roanoke Rapids, is hitting about .500. Senior pitcher Christian Sledge has signed with Chowan.

“We’ve got a lot of good players, but those three have been outstanding,” Cullen said.

Hitting .706: East Chapel Hill sophomore Mykaela Watt is hitting .706 for the softball team. She has 24 hits in 34 plate appearances.

A left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Watt plays center field or second base. She has good speed and has stolen 16 bases in 17 attempts.

“She can hit for power and she can slap it,” coach Joe Simmons said.

Watt has two triples, a home run and nine RBIs.

Canes like Herring: Millbrook sophomore quarterback Reid Herring picked up a football scholarship offer from Miami this week. Herring passed for 2,147 yards and 24 touchdowns during a 10-4 season in 2013.

The Hurricanes also have offered Millbrook junior defensive end Kengera Daniel.

Wildcats running back Marcus Marshall holds an offer from Furman and wide receiver Jonte Leaston has been offered by James Madison and Elon.

Miami came into the area last year and signed Leesville Road’s Berrios. He graduated early, enrolled at Miami and had planned to participate in spring drills. He was injured during an all-star game and was recuperating this spring.

Home run record: Meredith Burroughs led Pikeville Aycock to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A softball championship in 2013 with her 18th and 19th home runs of the season in a 7-2 win over Newton Foard in the title game.

The N.C. State recruit became the NCHSAA career home run leader last week with her 41st. She did it in dramatic fashion, blasting a grand slam in the sixth inning of a 10-2 win over Greenville Conley.

Stolen bases: Granville Central senior shortstop Omar Rincon is following a 48-for-51 mark in stolen bases in 2013 with a 30-for-30 performance so far this season.

“He has an uncanny ability to read pitchers,” said Granville Central coach Barry Moore. “He can pick up the smallest things and know when to break. Plus, he’s really quick.”

Rincon, 5-10, 172 pounds, is hitting .523 from his lead-off position for the 8-6 Panthers.

The state record is 51 by Cape Hatteras’ T. Midgette in 2001, but Rincon tied the mark for a few minutes last year. He stole three bases in the first few innings of a game against Durham School for the Arts, but the game was stopped by forfeit, according to Moore. None of the stats counted.

Rincon has 88 steals in his career. The state mark is 109 by Make Cavisinni of North Mecklenburg in 2002-05.

J. Mike Blake contributed to this story