All three of our area schools had amazing seasons on the diamond this year.
From the Seguin Matadors baseball team’s first playoff berth in five years, and both Marion and Navarro making the postseason — to the Lady Mats and the Navarro Lady Panthers putting together the deepest runs into the playoffs in school history — this spring was all about high school baseball and softball for fans around Seguin.
The Gazette is proud to give these players the accolades they deserve.
This week we present the 2019 All-Area baseball team.
Picking the best players is a difficult task, even more so for someone that got here at the end of the season, so I reached out to the coaches for their nominations for the team.
After careful consideration, pouring over season-long stats, talking with all the coaches and making some tough decisions, above are the choices for the player, hitter and pitcher of the year, and the first and second teams for the 2019 baseball season.
Seguin’s Tristan Moreno, although just a sophomore, put up amazing numbers, leading the team offensively in several categories.
But it was his versatility in the field, playing several positions and pitching for coach Dusty Brittain as an all-around player, that led to his selection as Player of the Year.
The Hitter of the Year, Navarro’s Dakota Leopold, showed amazing efficiency at the plate, hitting nearly .500 for the year, making his selection as the best hitter in the area simple.
Also at Navarro, Evans Hendricks had unbelievable numbers pitching for the Panthers, even if his final record didn’t reflect it so much.
But picking him as the Pitcher of the Year was obvious — a 1.56 ERA, only 14 hits given up for the entire season, and striking out 100 batters, more than any other pitcher in the area, made his selection pretty easy.
Both Leopold and Hendricks could have been co-players of the year with Moreno, as all three of them obviously had outstanding seasons.
The first team selections all had great numbers, and if we had a newcomer award as most of the districts do, it would have gone to Marion freshman catcher Jake Burris.
Burris had numbers that rivaled Leopold’s, with a .444 batting average on 40 hits in 90 at bats and 38 RBI’s to lead the Bulldogs into the playoffs.
Seguin pitcher Michael Hernandez finished the season with six straight wins to go 8-2 on the year, including a couple in must-win situations for the Matadors to get into the postseason, and a win over Dripping Springs in the playoffs.
His ERA for the season came in at a paltry 1.22, with 67 K’s for the year. Also a force at the plate, he hit .337 with 17 RBI’s and 19 runs scored.
Teammate Eli Edwards hit .312, and knocked in 22 runs for the Matadors while playing second base in the field.
Marion shortstop Tayler Mills was the easy pick for his position, hitting .365 on 31 hits in 85 at bats, scoring 33 runs and knocking 19 to earn district Offensive MVP honors.
First team outfielders included Marion’s Zach Goodwin, Seguin’s Hayden Haas and Navarro’s George Bradley.
Goodwin hit for .361, had 17 RBI’s and 26 runs scored and made the first team in district.
The Matador’s Haas also earned first team honors in district play, while driving in 14 runs, scoring 25 and hitting for a .256 average.
The Panther’s Bradley was another first team selection in district, hitting .333 with 15 RBI’s and showed speed on the base path with 11 stolen bases.
Seguin’s Chase Boenig got the designated hitter spot over several worthy candidates, although he also played outfield for the Matadors. He hit for a .307 average, knocked in 11 runs and scored 19 while earning second team honors in district play.
The second team featured two senior pitchers that had outstanding years, and many younger players in the area that will be worth watching in the seasons ahead.
Marion’s Jerin Valadez got pitcher of the year honors in district, posting a 3-2 record and a 3.1 ERA, while also hitting with power at the plate. His four doubles, three triples and a home run, while batting .350, showed he could hit for power as well as for average.
Navarro’s Rawson Young made the first team in district as a pitcher with an outstanding 1.96 ERA and a 7-3 record on the year. Teammate Riley Lipton joined Young on the first team as a catcher, and hit for a .349 average while driving in 28 runs on the year.
Navarro sophomores Mark Wozniak, at first base, and Sam Muniga, at shortstop, will give the Panthers solid play on the infield for the next couple of years. Marion freshman Kallen Bek had a perfect 1.000 percent fielding percentage at second base, not making a single error all year. Teammate Cade Baumann split time pitching and playing third base for the Bulldogs, hitting for a .364 average and posting a 4-1 record on the mound with a 1.67 ERA.
Navarro senior Austin Jonas, and two Seguin seniors, Cody Kachmar and Brayden Wieding, rounded out the second team in the outfield, all hitting over .300 at the plate.
Finally, two freshman made big impacts for their teams this season. Seguin’s Cory Mazzurana, a catcher, hit for a .278 average, and Navarro’s Jaxen Monkerud earned newcomer of the year in district while pitching 28 innings, giving up just 7 hits and posting a 1.15 ERA for the season.
Congratulations to all the players, coaches and fans at all three of our area schools for an outstanding 2019 season.
Player of the Year: Tristan Moreno, So., Seguin
All sophomore Tristan Moreno did this year for the Seguin Matadors was — well — everything.
The First Team All-District selection played all over the field as a utility player for head coach Dusty Brittain.
“He was the sparkplug of our team,” Brittain said, “He played third, second, shortstop, and even pitched a little. He’s just a tremendous competitor.”
It was at the plate as the Matadors leadoff hitter where Moreno led the team in a number of statistical categories, including a .391 batting average, 34 hits, 18 stolen bases and 26 runs scored.
His 13 walks contributed to an on base percentage of .475, also leading the team.
Hitter of the Year: Dakota Leopold, Jr., Navarro
Opposing pitchers and coaches did not want to see Navarro’s Dakota Leopold at the plate this season.
Leopold was a couple of hits away from batting .500, ending up with a .475 batting average, the highest of any player in the area. His 47 hits and 15 doubles also led all area teams.
He added in three triples, 28 RBIs, a home run and 10 stolen bases to round out his extremely productive year on offense.
“He’s very patient at the plate and knows what pitches to look for,” coach Kris Cavazos said.
Defensively, Leopold split time between third base and the pitcher’s mound. He finished the season 6-2, with 57 K’s and a 2.56 ERA.
Pitcher of the year: Evans Hendricks, Sr., Navarro
Sometime stats don’t tell the whole story — take our Pitcher of the Year, Navarro’s Evans Hendricks.
He struck out 100 batters, gave up just 14 hits for the whole season and carried a 1.56 ERA while earning the district MVP.
One can see his 3-6 record doesn’t tell the whole story.
“He went up against all the tough teams we played, and most of the runs he gave up were due to errors,” Cavazos said. “Three of his losses were against the two teams that made it to the regional finals.”
If the pitching wasn’t enough, Hendricks also killed it at the plate, hitting .325 with six home runs (most in the area), four triples, five doubles and 29 RBI’s on the year.