|Riley invited to All-Star Game in Round Rock|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
May 24, 2006 - The honors continue to come for Sulphur Springs senior second baseman Josh Riley.
Riley was recently selected to play on the North Squad of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association's Class 4A-5A All-Star Baseball Game June 17-18 in Round Rock.
"I think this is the top honor in my eyes, and I am going to be playing the best of the best," Riley said. "All of these guys are probably going to be college players and this will give me a little preview of what I am going to be seeing next year."
First-year coach Jerrod Hammack said having Riley on the team this summer will mean a lot to him and it was worth the honor.
"We have our little association and it is called the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and they have two All-Star games," Hammack commented.
"They are divided into a North and South team and I got a form and filled it out on Josh, and it entails not only this year's statistics but also his cumulative stats. I got a call Sunday night from a guy I know on the committee and the guy told me that he had been chosen and I was just tickled to death."
Riley was named to the THSBCA All-State team during his junior year - a season in which he batted .468 at the plate - and was also named the District 12-4A Offensive Player of the Year.
This year, Riley has the opportunity for his second consecutive All-State selection. He was named the District 12-4A Most Valuable Player after batting .657 during district play.
He said the unanimous MVP selection still has him shocked after finishing the overall season with a .539 batting average for the Wildcats.
"It is a great honor and it surprised me. I am honored to death about it really and still surprised," Riley said. "I had to work harder because I wanted to do better my senior year than I did my junior year, which I really didn't think that I was going to do that since I had a really good junior year. I just went to the field about a million times and hit numerous buckets of balls and it paid off for me."
Hammack said having a player such as Riley in his first year at the helm made the season memorable and all of the hard work paid off.
"It was a joy to watch, and I have said it and quoted it numerous times that he is one of the greatest high school hitters that I have ever coached and probably ever seen," the coach said. "His hits were all legitimate and he hits the ball consistently hard."
Riley said he is currently undecided on a college and hopes this experience will help in solving his questions towards his future as a baseball player.
With Riley's possible selection to his second THSBCA All-State team and now having the opportunity to play in the All-Star Game, Hammack said this will give more recognition to a team that finished 21-9 this season and 10-0 in district play.
"With Josh getting picked, this is going to be huge for the program, the community and the school. I don't know how many players they pick, but rather deservingly this will put a positive note on this program," he said.
Riley said the experience of playing in this game should be memorable and a fitting end of his high school career.
"It is a great honor and a great accomplishment and I am glad to be rewarded for something that I love to do," he said. "This is going to be my last University Interscholastic League high school baseball game and I guess I have got to make a memory out of it."