Over the past nine months, News 13 and Bill Cramer Chevrolet have teamed up to honor Scholar Athletes in our area, high school seniors who excel both on and off the field. This year, we recognized 35 athletes (36 if you count a set of twins), 19 girls and 16 boys. On Thursday, two Scholar Athletes of the Year, one male and one female, were chosen and each received a $500 scholarship. All 36 athletes were well deserving of the scholarship, but Bay High baseball player Thomas Johnstone and Liberty County softball stand-out Carly Sapp stood out amongst this year's group of Scholar Athletes.
Thomas suited up as a centerfielder and 3rd baseman for the Tornadoes this season, leading on and off the field as one of three seniors for Bay High. Thomas held a 3.8 GPA in Bay High's AICE program, completing 40 hours of college credits. Thomas inked to play baseball at Berry College next year, where he plans to go into pre-law or study business, and says he hopes he left something for his teammates to look up to.
"It's about preparing yourself for the future and learning life lessons, and baseball's certainly a game you can do that in," he said. "As far as making good grades and staying out of trouble and things like that, I certainly hope I left a legacy to show how to do that."
Carly was a catcher for the Liberty County Lady Bulldogs, and was one of five state champions in this year's Scholar Athlete class, leading the Lady Dawgs to the Class 1A State Championship this year, Liberty's first state title in softball.
Carly led the team at the plate with a .539 batting average, while holding a 3.75 GPA and completing 26 hours of college credits. Carly says she wants to study psychology, and originally signed to play softball at DII North Alabama, but after looks from DI schools, will play a year of JUCO ball at Wallace State before playing at the DI level. Carly agreeing with Thomas, saying she only hopes for the best for her teammates.
"I hope that next year they go out hard and do the same thing, and that they just follow the example and follow the example that we led this year and bring back another State Championship."
Chris Cramer of Bill Cramer Chevrolet saying he and his family are proud to give back to such deserving students.
"My brother and I and my sister all went to Bay High, and we think it's extremely important to participate in both you get a well rounded approach in life," said Cramer. "I'm glad to see they've done such a good job and hopefully they continue it into the future."