Head coach Dylan Deal knew that these were three special players from the start of their freshman years.
Seniors Howard Joe, Jake Maziar and Skye Bolt recently signed to play baseball next year in college. Howard will attend Mercer University. Jake signed with Wake Forest University. Skye will play for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“All three work tirelessly. They are all enthusiastic and passionate about the sport,” Deal said.
Howard hits right-handed and plays third base. He loves the competition and difficulty that baseball presents. Next year at Mercer, Howard is looking forward to playing against a higher level of competition as well as having a new and different experience.
“I decided that I wanted to play college baseball when I first started to play [on a traveling baseball team]. I knew I wanted to play for as long as I could,” Howard said. Deal says Howard has been very steady in practice this year and has been the most consistent player.
Jake, a left-handed hitter and catcher, is eager to meet new people and play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. “I like Wake’s campus,” Jake said. “It’s an amazing area and a really great academic school that will definitely challenge me.”
Deal believes that Jake’s ability to play catcher will appeal to coaches and help him in the future.
Skye, a switch-hitter, plays centerfield. “My favorite aspect of the program has been the relaxed practice environment and the mutual respect among all the guys for one another’s talents and knowledge of the game,” Skye said.
“His freshman year … I knew he was going to be a special kind of player,” Deal said.
Senior Shannon O’Hanlon was a key player for last year’s HIES Lady Bears’ soccer team, which advanced to the Elite 8 under Coach Stephani Kohl.
Arden Birdwell, a senior, was the leading scorer last year for the girls’ lacrosse team that finished second in State.
Connor Thompson went 16-0 as a freshman last year at #1 singles for the Golden Bears’ tennis team, which advanced to State.