One of the debates in baseball that has been around for a long time questions whether pitching or hitting is more vital for successful baseball teams.
Good pitching is important, especially late in the season and during the playoffs. It is often said that decent hitting wins games but good pitching wins championships.
Solid hitting is exciting, gives teams a chance for comeback victories, and wins are impossible unless a team scores runs.
So this season, picking the 2018 Colorado Community Media South Metro Pitcher and Player of the Year was easy, since Mountain Vista junior Sam Ireland was selected as the winner of both awards.
Ireland, who also played third base, was outstanding as a hitter and reliable on the mound in helping the Golden Eagles win the Class 5A state championship.
“Hitter, pitcher, he's both,” said Vista coach Ron Quintana. “He is one of the best players in the state. He did it at the plate for us, he did it on the mound for us.”
Ireland had a .400 batting average. He led the Continental League and was second in the state among 5A hitters with 11 homers. He was first in the league and state with 43 runs batted in and had a respectable .900 slugging percentage.
When he toed the rubber, Ireland was the state leader with two no-hitters this season while compiling a 2.72 earned run average with 77 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched.
He and teammate Jack Liffrig tied for the league and state lead with 11 victories.
Ireland has announced he is committed to attend and play baseball at the University of Minnesota
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