Alexander coach Zach Romain could sense his team had a little more confidence each time that Nathan Mapstone took the mound.
The senior pitcher was a big reason the Cougars won back-to-back Region 5-AAAAAA championships and advanced deep into the playoffs.
“When we got to crunch time, he always performed at his best,” Romain said.
It is the second straight season that Mapstone has been selected the Douglas County Sentinel Pitcher of the Year. He is also a two-time region pitcher of the year, as selected by the region coaches.
“There was some competition in this region,” Mapstone said. “I was pleased at how I did this year. It was just two bad outings for me. I thought I was able to contribute to the team and help in our success.”
A Chattahoochee Valley Community College signee, Mapstone compiled an 8-2 record in 58.67 innings of work. He had a 0.84 ERA with 102 strikeouts and only 16 walks.
“That’s about two strikeouts per inning,” Romain said. “We always felt when he was on the mound that we had an added advantage. He definitely made my job a lot easier by the way he did his job.”
In Romain’s first year as head coach, the Cougars went 23-11 overall and 14-2 in the region. Alexander reached the second round of the state playoff before losing to Alpharetta.
As a junior, Mapstone pitched in 67 innings and compiled an 8-1 record with a save and a 1.04 ERA. He also had 86 strikeouts as the team advanced to the quarterfinals.
“Coming into the season, I knew what I had to do to help us become successful,” Mapstone said. “I worked really had in the offseason to improve.”
He also benefited from having longtime friend Zack Smith as his primary catcher. They have played together the last 10 years.
“We really know each other and that helped,” said Smith, who is headed to Morehead State. “We were able to have a lot of success together.”