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Three Wildcats earn All-District superlative honors; three others named to the first team

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

May 14, 2008 - Sulphur Springs placed 10 players on the District 11-4A All-District baseball team as voted on by the district coaches recently, with three players receiving superlative honors.

"I thought we were well represented being the No. 2 team in the district," said SSHS coach Jerrod Hammack. "We had several superlatives and all of our starters made the All-District team. I thought we held our own on the team this year. I think we were more represented than Texas High with three of the superlatives, and I thought we did well."

All nine starters made the team led by senior shortstop Jeff Beck as the Offensive Most Valuable Player after batting in the lead-off spot, while classmate Josh Dunn was named Co-Defensive MVP with Jacolby Stewart of Mount Pleasant. Rounding out the superlative honors was senior Brittan Diamond - a unanimous selection for Pitcher of the Year.

On the First Team for the Wildcats were seniors Kevin Mabe (pitcher) and Dustin Gant (infielder) and junior Jace Jackson (unanimous outfielder). On the Second Team were senior second baseman Brandon Whittle, senior outfielder Dalton Abner and junior outfielder Ben Barrows. Junior first baseman Mason Rawson was named Honorable Mention infielder.

"I did expect these votes and there were not too many surprises," the coach said. "I was pleased with all of them and was really pleased with Dustin Gant getting First Team after a good, solid district season. The superlatives were given to our big three in Dunn, Diamond and Beck."

For the season, Beck was first on the team in batting average at .398, first in hits (37), home runs (3) and runs scored (23). He was tied for first with Jackson in doubles (9) and was second on the team with 19 RBI.

Diamond, meanwhile, had a 6-4 record on the season with a 2.01 ERA. He allowed 34 runs, 21 of them earned, in 73 innings. He also gave up 58 hits while striking out 78 batters and walking 11. Diamond batted .353 in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, was second in hits with 30, third in RBI with 17, second in home runs, and was hit six times.

Dunn had a solid year at catcher as he had 153 putouts and 15 assists in 154 innings during the regular season, excluding the playoffs. He picked off three base runners and had a .977 fielding percentage.

The remaining superlative honors went to Texas High junior Josh Turley as the Most Valuable Player and Lindale sophomore Justin Copeland as Newcomer of the Year.

Below is what the Wildcats first, second and honorable mention members accomplished this season.

Mabe - His first team selection comes after a wrist injury held him out at the start of the season. After returning from injury, Mabe secured the No. 2 pitcher role and went 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 19 walks in 44 innings. He also batted .244 with 12 runs scored in the No. 7 hole.

Gant - He received his First Team selection after sharing the role with Rawson at first base. He batted .302 with nine RBI and five runs scored, and in the field he had a .986 fielding percentage at first base in 13 regular season games.

Jackson - The junior center fielder had a solid year, with a .329 batting average and 19 runs scored. He led the team with 20 RBI and also had 10 walks in 27 games.

Whittle - As the lone second baseman, Whittle had a .955 fielding percentage in 25 games while batting .263 in the No. 9 hole. He was sixth in runs scored with 18 and fourth in hits with 20.

Abner - The senior played third base, left field and pitcher and proved why he was the No. 2 batter for the Wildcats. Abner batted .242 with 19 runs scored, eight doubles and was the team leader in walks and stolen bases. He also went 3-1 on the mound with a 3.62 ERA.

Barrows - He rounded out his junior season with a .246 batting average and made the plays in right field. Barrows had a .833 fielding percentage during the regular season with 14 putouts and one assist.

Rawson - The junior first baseman alternated with Gant in the starting lineup and rounded out the season with a .182 batting average. He had two doubles, six RBI and five walks. He also scored three runs for the Wildcats.

Below is the list of the District 11-4A All-District Team:

MVP - Josh Turley, Texas High, Jr.

Offensive MVP - Jeff Beck, Sulphur Springs, Sr.

Co-Defensive MVP - Jacolby Stewart, Mount Pleasant, Sr.; Josh Dunn, Sulphur Springs, Sr.

Pitcher of the Year - *Brittan Diamond, Sulphur Springs, Sr.

Newcomer of the Year - Justin Copeland, Lindale, Soph.

First Team

Pitcher - *Cullen Calabria, Paris, Sr.; *Mitch Baker, Lindale, Sr.; Kevin Mabe, Sulphur Springs, Sr.; Slade Heathcott, Texas High, Jr.

Catcher - *Chris Matthews, Paris, Sr.

Infielders - *John Stilson, Texas High, Sr.; *Carlton Bailey, Texas High, Soph.; *Lucas Quary, Mount Pleasant, Soph.; Jon Mark Abbey, Paris, Soph.; Colton Wade, North Lamar, Sr.; Dustin Gant, Sulphur Springs, Sr.

Outfielders - *Chevis Springer, North Lamar, Soph.; *Ricardo Pierce, Texas High, Sr.; *Jace Jackson, Sulphur Springs, Jr.; *John Oliver, Lindale, Sr.; *Joel Whitaker, Mount Pleasant, Sr.

Second Team

Pitcher - Brad Dove, Mount Pleasant, Sr.; Canyon Conley, North Lamar, Soph.; Caleb Dudley, Texas High, Jr.; Justin Valdez, Lindale, Sr.

Catcher - Jeremy Cochran, Mount Pleasant, Sr.

Infielders - Chase Harvey, Paris, Fresh.; Cody Sellers, North Lamar, Jr.; Hunter Allday, Texas High, Jr.; Brandon Whittle, Sulphur Springs, Sr.; Nathan Simmons, Lindale, Jr.; Ryan Mallory, Mount Pleasant, Sr.; Cody Russell, Mount Pleasant, Jr.

Outfielders - Travis Rhea, Lindale, Sr.; Kenny Wall, Paris, Jr.; Dalton Abner, Sulphur Springs, Sr.; Ben Barrows, Sulphur Springs, Jr.

Honorable Mention (SS player listed only)

Infielders - Mason Rawson, Sulphur Springs, Jr.

*designates unanimous selection

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