LAPEL — The hardest part of the 2014 season for Brady Cherry might have been living up to his own legend.
The Lapel junior was a marked man after a sophomore campaign that made him a household name in baseball circles across the state and helped him earn a scholarship offer from Ohio State.
After committing to the Buckeyes in the spring, Cherry's encore season included a .471 batting average, six home runs and 30 RBIs.
"I think he had a great year," Bulldogs coach Brad Lantz said. "His sophomore year put him on the map, and you could see that in the pitches he saw. He didn't see a lot he could hit."
Cherry walked 24 times in 113 plate appearances, once every 4.7 times he stepped into the batter's box. Junior Cade Luker took advantage of the increased scoring opportunities, driving in a team-high 41 runs while hitting behind the Lapel slugger in the lineup.
Cherry, who has been named the Herald Bulletin's Baseball Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season, took it all in stride.
"I got walked a lot more than usual," he said. "But I was just making sure I picked good pitches to hit."
The star shortstop raised his batting average nearly 80 points while matching his home run total of a year ago. With seven doubles, two triples and 10 stolen bases, he remained an all-around nightmare for opposing pitchers.
This summer he's taking his talents around the country with the Indiana Bulls, testing himself against top competition.
But he doesn't have to travel far to face one of the nation's best pitchers.
Wapahani sophomore Zack Thompson led the Raiders to a Class 2A state title this year, and he'll be standing between Cherry and a potential sectional crown again next spring.