Trio of Crusaders named to All-State team

May 23—Grace Christian's second state baseball title in three years earned three members of the team the highest individual recognition offered by the NCISAA.

The Crusaders, who won the 2024 state 3A baseball title with a sweep of Hickory Grove Christian in the championship series on Friday and Saturday, claimed three of the 14 spots on the All-State team for the 3A classification.

The teams were announced Wednesday, and in addition to the 3A All-State honors accorded to Boaz Harper, Matt Murchison, and Camron Seagraves of Grace Christian, the Sanford area gained a fourth honoree, as Lee Christian School's Kaydan Brower was named to the 1A All-State team.

Brower's recognition is a landmark for a Lee Christian program that was effectively rebooted two years ago and which fielded just 11 players for the 2024 season. The sophomore, who plays infield and pitches for the Falcons, hit .556 this season with 12 extra-base hits, including four home runs, this season. He drove in 21 runs in 16 games and had an OPS of 1.811 this spring. He also pitched 31 innings and was the winning pitcher in two of the three games won by the Falcons this season.

Brower is the first Lee Christian player named All-State in baseball since Caleb Reynolds won the honor following the 2018-19 season.

As for the Crusaders, Harper, Murchison and Seagraves were all named to the NCISAA All-State team for the first time this spring, although it is not the only time Murchison has been an All-State player. He was named to the NC Baseball Coaches Association All-State team a year ago while playing for Chatham Central in the NCHSAA 1A ranks. Seagraves only joined the Crusaders from Richmond County this season, while Harper arrived from the Wake County Warriors a year ago but was only able to play two games for Grace in 2023.

Nevertheless, all three had tremendous performances for the Crusaders this season.

Seagraves was the No. 1 starter on the team and also took a spot in the lineup even when wasn't pitching. The Campbell University signee took all of the tough pitching assignments and posted an 8-2 record with a 1.71 ERA for the season, striking out 127 batters in 65.1 innings. Opposing batters hit just .116 against him. At the plate, he hit .333 with 23 runs scored and 13 RBI in 27 games, getting on base at a .449 clip.

Murchison, who wrecked the Crusaders a year before while playing for Chatham Central in an upset win, joined them this season and hit .393 (33-for-84, with seven doubles and four home runs). He played in all 27 games and drove in 28 runs while scoring 31, and drew 19 walks on his way to a 1.143 OPS for the season. He is a junior and will return to Grace next season when the Crusaders aim for a third title in four seasons.

Harper was arguably even more destructive to enemy pitchers. The UNC-Chapel Hill recruit led the team with nine home runs. He also played in all 27 contests and drove in 25 runs while scoring 31 to tie Murchison for the team lead. He hit .387 (29-for-75) on the season and had an OPS of 1.294.