Newberry’s Justen Crews went out on top.
Crews, who starred in football and baseball for the Panthers, helped lead Newberry (25-1) to the Class 1A state baseball title in May. It was the Panthers’ first-ever state baseball championship.
Crews earned Co-Class 1A Player of the Year honors with teammate Luke Ridley after an outstanding personal season. He had 15 straight multi-hit games to begin the season and never had a game this year without at least one hit. He also never struck out—in 109 plate appearances.
The senior outfielder, who signed to play at Tallahassee Community College with teammate Makai Johnson, earned All Area recognition after batting a team-best .584 with 52 hits, 11 doubles, six home runs, 46 runs scored and 29 RBI.
“His numbers don’t lie,” Spina said. “Zero strike outs all season says a lot.”
And those numbers came from the very top of the order.
“He, in my opinion, is the most dangerous lead-off hitter I’ve seen,” said Newberry baseball coach Mike Spina.
He had a .661 on base percentage this past spring. He also finished with 26 stolen bases.
So, he was getting on base and moving into scoring position, or driving in runs, which helped Newberry average 9.8 runs per game.
Crews was also 3-0 on the mound with a 2.33 ERA in seven appearances. In 24 innings pitched, he allowed eight earned runs and struck out 35 batters.
This past fall, Crews was an All Area honorable mention in football after leading the 8-3 Panthers with 27 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
“Justen was a great addition to our football program,” said Newberry football coach Ed Johnson. “In only one season he came in and contributed tremendously to our success.”
During the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season, Crews was batting .417 and was second on the team with 10 hits through just seven games. He was also tied for second with eight runs driven in.
“Justen has always been a talented athlete and an even better young man,” Johnson noted. “He’s a hard worker and super competitor that has a bright future ahead of him.”
This is the latest in our summer “Senior Spotlight” series recognizing some of the top area student athletes from the Class of 2021.