Atkins, four other ZooKeepers picked for CPL All-Star Game

Nic Schutte fires a pitch for the Asheboro ZooKeepers during last week’s victory against High Point-Thomasville. (PJ Ward-Brown / Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Third baseman Hunter Atkins of the Asheboro ZooKeepers is one of the team’s five selections for the upcoming Coastal Plain League All-Star Game.

Atkins, a third baseman from Randleman, will join second baseman Sal Laimo and pitchers Mason Maniquez, Noah Samol and Dylan Dickert on the West team.

The CPL All-Star activities will be held Sunday and Monday in Forest City.

Atkins began this week with a team-best .306 batting average in 23 games. He had knocked in 20 runs and drawn 15 walks.

Atkins redshirted the 2024 with UNC Greensboro and entered the transfer portal following the season.

Laimo, who plays for Barton, is from Philadelphia.

Maniquez, who plays for South Florida, is from Wellington, Fla. Samol is from Mason, Ohio, spending a season in programs at both Georgia Tech and Clemson. Dickert, from Knoxville, Tenn., has played for Middle Georgia State.

All the Asheboro players selected have been designated as reserves for the All-Star Game. A Home Run Derby and other contests are slated for Sunday with the All-Star Game on Monday.

** Chase Heath and Samol were picked from the Asheboro team to participate on the Coastal Plain League select team in an exhibition last weekend against USA Baseball’s collegiate touring team. The game was at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The USA Baseball entry won 5-2.

Heath, a catcher who’s from Central Missouri, drew a walk as a pinch hitter. Samol, who plays for Clemson, threw a hitless inning in relief with one walk and one strikeout.

Recent results …

The Zookeepers had a strong finishing stretch last weekend to build momentum, but they lost 4-3 on Monday night to the host High Point-Thomasville HiToms.

Heath and Yariel Diaz both drove in three runs in Friday night’s 15-5 road victory against the Martinsville Mustangs in a game that ended after seven innings because of the mercy rule. Owen Blackledge added two runs batted in and Heath scored four runs.

Peter Mullen was the winning pitcher in relief.

The ZooKeepers kept the offense going Saturday night, topping visiting High Point-Thomasville 8-1 at McCrary Park. Davis Germann drove in two runs and Hunter Atkins scored two runs.

Nic Schutte threw six innings for the victory, giving up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts with a walk. It ended up as a combined two-hitter after Caleb Cockerham logged two innings and Spencer Floyd pitched the ninth. Asheboro pitchers had 12 total strikeouts.

Earlier last week, Asheboro won 14-13 at Martinsville with Heath, Diaz and Nick Capozzi all homering, Atkins belting two triples and Ryan Kennel, Heath and Atkins all scoring three runs.

The ZooKeepers’ 13-10 home victory against the Forest City Owls came with Devin Parks smacking a home run, Laimo supplying four hits and Germann scoring four runs.

There also was a 6-1 home loss to the HiToms with the only run for Asheboro coming on Heath’s home run.

By Bob Sutton