Ward included among 2A’s best

Graduated Ignacio senior Tucker Ward envisions his next at-bat during road action at Nucla during the 2016 season. Ward was recently named Honorable Mention All-2A for his work at the plate and in the field (as a pitcher and infielder).
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Though the 2016 baseball season ended earlier than the Bobcats had planned, one regular’s name again popped up on the statewide radar long after it was all said and done.

Owner of a .536 batting average (37-for-69) and 6-0 win-loss record on the mound (with a 2.12 ERA and scorching 55:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio) during Ignacio’s 14-5 resurgence this spring, since-graduated senior Tucker Ward was well feared in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League and a deserving Honorable Mention All-2A recipient.

Officially released June 9, the 2016 All-State Baseball Teams, presented by CHSAANow.com, ColoradoPreps.com and MaxPreps.com, were created following a lengthy process including nominations from leagues, and then a vote of head coaches.

Earning the classification’s Player-of-the-Year honor and a First Team All-2A nod was Lafayette-based Dawson School senior P/3B Luke Feigal, with skipper Joe McKenzie named Coach-of-the-Year after the Mustangs learned from two season-opening losses against California teams (at a tournament in San Diego) and finished with the State Championship after ripping Limon 13-4 in Pueblo.

Dawson, the 11-seed in the tell-all 16-team bracket, finished the season 18-4 overall. Counting a road-doubleheader sweep – achieved after 17 total innings, with each game exceeding regulation length – of Eastern Plains rival Burlington amongst their own highlights, the beaten Badgers (the bracket’s initial No. 13) ended up 19-5.

Very familiar to Ward and IHS, and his own team upset and eliminated in extra innings by LHS in the quarterfinals, Hotchkiss senior P/INF Cesar Gonzales was also a First Team selection, with fellow senior Dom Beck and junior Eli Kirk receiving Honorable Mention after helping the Bulldogs finish their abbreviated campaign 18-3.

Having also seen action against the Bobcats in 2016, Center senior Walter Martinez also received Honorable Mention distinction despite the Vikings’ atrocious 2-18 (six losses, by an aggregate 90-11 margin, came against State Championships-bound squads) record. Also chosen were:

Caleb Andersen (Haxtun, jr.); Layne Andrews (Yuma, sr.); Tristen Cesko (Limon, sr.); Jett County (Burlington, jr.); Christian Dellamaestra (Wiley-McClave County Line, jr.); Ryan Drury (Rye, jr.); Jason Dutton (Wray, sr.); Nolan Grenard (Swink, sr.); Darrien Guy (Akron, jr.); Cordell Hensley (Julesburg-Ovid Revere Sedgwick County, sr.); Trent Hill (Akron, sr.).

Derek Jung (Littleton Front Range Christian, fr.); Spencer Kelly (Calhan, sr.); Jacob Kohl (Colorado Springs Evangelical Christian, sr.); Pete Lanting (Denver Christian, sr.); Chipper Lloyd (Littleton Front Range Christian, sr.); Kasey Nusbaum (Kiowa-Simla, sr.); Slater Podgorny (Paonia, soph.); Brian Preston (Rocky Ford, jr.); Ricardo Ramirez (Ault Highland, soph.); Trey Redner (Swink, soph.); Brent Ritter (Swink, sr.); Emmitt White (Sargent, sr.); Wyatt Workman (Haxtun, sr.).

 

LOOKING INSIDE THE LEAGUE

Dove Creek senior Jordan Ernst was named First Team All-1A, despite DCHS not defending the State Championship it had won last spring. With no Second Team chosen, Bulldog senior Case Baughman and sophomore Derek Kibel were awarded Honorable Mention, along with Nucla juniors Trenton Armintrout and Devyn Rummel.

 

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