Since Fulshear’s 2-1 series loss to La Vernia in the regional semifinal last weekend, the District 25 all-district awards were approved to be released today.
Despite finishing in second out of six teams, 12 Tigers took home top honors from a competitive district with five of them also earning all-star bids from the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association (HABCA).
Sealy head coach Dane Bennett spoke to the gravity of the nomination and commendation and what it meant to coach some of these players in their final high school season.
“To be chosen as an all-star in the Houston area is a huge deal because there are so many schools and so many good programs that kids can get chosen from,” he noted. “For us as a program to have four guys selected that looks really good on our program, that means a lot to me because that means that those kids’ hard work over the last four years paid off ... getting nominated that’s a great icing on the cake.”
Those four graduating members of the team were announced as Hunter Kelley, Garret Zaskoda, Clay Roberts and Chaplin Moore, although Moore will be the only one who will be able to make the trip to Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, for the annual all-star game on June 3.
Moore was also the only one of that group to earn a spot on the second-team at first base with Zaskoda (pitcher) and Roberts (outfield) garnering first-team honors at their positions.
Kelley, on the other hand, was voted as the most valuable pitcher, recording five district starts which covered 39 innings and amounted to a 3-1 record where he racked up 49 strikeouts and surrendered only 19 hits and finished with a 1.77 ERA.
Not only that, but sophomore pitcher Rhys Reichardt was also selected to play in the rising star game, also at Constellation Field, against the best of the best underclassmen on June 2.
“Another huge accomplishment for Rhys with all the sophomores in the area, for him to get nominated that’s awesome for us, that’s awesome for him,” Bennett added. “That shows what our program has been about over the last couple of years and what our program can still do in the future.”
Part of that future will be two of his third basemen that saw time this year, both of whom were honored with all-district selections despite only playing half the year.
Garrett Redden registered action in 19 games where he compiled a batting average of .420 in 50 at-bats where five of his hits were doubles, three were triples and he added a home run as part of his 13 RBI before he sat out the rest of the season due to injury.
In his place stepped Joseph Teague who recorded stats in 18 games and finished with a .294 batting average. In 51 at-bats he had 15 hits, 5 RBI and scored 13 runs.
“That just shows what he meant to our team ... it’s up to the other coaches to vote and most of the time a kid that plays half the district year is not going to make it,” Bennett noted. “But with him earning first-team that just shows how much he meant to our team and shows how other coaches respected him as a player and knew that he was a difference maker to our team.
“And with Joseph Teague only playing the second half and get second-team that’s a huge accomplishment for him,” Bennett continued. “He only played six (district) games and was still able to prove enough and show enough through his stats and his consistent play that he deserves all-district honors, so to have those two guys and have one step in for the other, it allowed our team to continue on the path that we were on.”
Helping guide that ship all along were the eight seniors that Bennett could never say enough about and exemplified that by working to get more first- or second-team selections, “but still to be an honorable mention in our district is nothing to look down upon,” said Bennett.
“That’s a big feat and that proves once again that those seniors worked hard enough to deserve an honor and they earned the right to be called all-district honorable mentions at their specific position so I'm glad all my seniors were able to see some kind of recognition because those eight guys definitely deserved it this season,” Bennett mentioned.
Earning those honorable mentions were the rest of the senior class in Alan Anderson (outfield) Joseph Cevallos (outfield), Arturo Hernandez (catcher) and Hunter Havel (infield). Joining them was another underclassman in sophomore Tyler Hennessey who will also be part of the upcoming future success of the team.
That future may not be as far away as you’d think, and the skipper offered a few way-too-early thoughts on what the 2020 version of Sealy baseball may look like.
“To be honest, it’s going be a little different (next year),” Bennett said. “A lot of teams in the state are probably going look at us and say that our team is not going to be quite what it was the past two years just because we lost, in two years, 19 seniors from two teams that went four rounds and three rounds deep the last two seasons.”
“In my eyes, I know we’re going to be just as good if not a little better because these guys have seen what it takes,” Bennett mentioned. “These seniors laid the foundation and this program is on the rise and will continue to do so.”