|History in the Making: Petty is first Trojan to play in All-Star Game|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
June 1, 2006 - CUMBY - One of the things that Jake Petty likes about baseball is its history. In a couple of weeks, the Cumby senior will be part of that history.
Petty has been selected by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association to play in the Class 1A-3A All-Star Game in Round Rock on June 17.
He is believed to be the first Trojan to ever be chosen for the game, which matches the best senior players in the state against one another.
"I think it's good exposure for our program and the community of Cumby," said Cumby head coach Scott Mabe. "I don't know, but I doubt that a player from Cumby has ever been chosen to play in this All-Star game. It's good for the community, for our school and our athletic program."
Petty, a four-year starter for Trojans, converted from third base to catcher as a junior. He not only finished his high school career with a batting average near .500, he also quickly adapted to the intricacies behind the plate, Mabe said.
"Jake is like having a coach on the field. I called most of the pitches this year, but he and I work together for so long that he probably anticipated what I was going to call," Mabe said. "Some games, he would call the games himself.
"He did a good job behind the plate. He was always solid, and I could always count on him batting third in our batting order. He's a real solid player, and he deserves to go down there and show his stuff."
A line drive hitter, Petty hit .412 as a senior, which was down from his four-year average of .480. However, Mabe said he was invaluable to the team by hitting in the middle of the order.
"Even though, he was down a little bit this year state-wise, he's been our go-to guy for all four years, especially the last three," the coach said.
Petty said he put too much pressure on himself at the plate since this was his senior season, but has kept improving defensively.
"I get better every time I play at blocking the ball," he said. "My hitting wasn't as good this year as it was in past years, but that was because I put too much pressure on myself. But, it'll get better."
That might start with the All-Star game. Petty has been All-District in football, basketball and baseball, but has never gotten the opportunity to play in such a high-profile contest.
Playing at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, a Double A minor league park, will be an experience unto itself.
"This is the best field I've ever played on," Petty said as he stood on Cumby's home diamond. "I know it'll be a new experience, I'll get to meet new people and play with the best in the state. I've never played in a game like this before, so I'm excited and looking forward to it."
After high school, he may try out to play baseball for Paris Junior College, though it's not definite.
In the meantime, Mabe has some expectations of his star player when he participates in the All-Star game.
"I expect him to make a good hand behind the plate and put the ball in play with his stick," Mabe said.
"It's pretty simple," Petty replied.