Tue May 24th, 2016
Special to the Drum
Six Cats earn First Team All-League
In baseball, a regulation batting order has nine slots.
Recently, Ignacio head coach Bert Miller received confirmation on something he, his staff, and basically every opponent on the Bobcats’ 2016 schedule already knew: IHS’ order was out of the ordinary, with an awesome six regulars named First Team All-San Juan Basin League.
Heading the list was senior infielder Anthony Manzanares, who also shared Player-of-the-Year honors with Dove Creek senior Jordan Ernst – voted last season’s Class 1A POY after the Bulldogs’ late-season sprint to a State Championship they were unable to defend this spring.
Whether placed at third base, shortstop or second, Manzanares – who also saw action on the pitching mound very early in the season – was also a game-in, game-out anchor atop the lineup, capable of merely setting the table for the potency which followed, or displaying it himself with a .530 batting average (66 AB, 35 H, 10 2B), 34 runs scored and 19 batted in.
Most often following him in Miller’s order was sophomore Kruz Pardo (.500, 37-74, 29 R, 28 RBI), named First Team All-SJBL Outfield along with senior Austin McCaw (.458, 27-59, 3 HR, 17 R, 27 RBI).
Pardo was Ignacio’s rock in center with McCaw patrolling left, and both also saw extensive action in the pitching rotation – bolstered by workhorse senior Tucker Ward (6-0 in 9 appearances, 55 K’s in 33 IP; also .536, 37-69, 30 R, 27 RBI, 11 2B), named First Team at the position with Ernst and Nucla junior Trenton Armintrout.
NHS junior Devyn Rummel and DCHS senior Case Baughman were also named First Team Outfield, while Bobcat senior Chance Hine (.390, 16-41, 6 2B, 15 R) – IHS’ primary second baseman – joined Manzanares, Dove Creek senior Colin Hobbs and Nucla senior Caden Colson in receiving First Team Infield.
Finally, in addition to being another innings-chewer on the hill, Bobcat junior Zach Weinreich (.485, 16-33, 13 R, 13 RBI) was voted First Team All-SJBL Designated Hitter. First Team Catcher honors went to NHS senior Mason Riddle and DCHS sophomore Derek Kibel, and Mustang junior Sladen Hendrickson shared First Team Utility Player distinction with Bulldog senior Kyle Schultz.
And having overseen Ignacio’s exciting one-year reversal of fortune, from 6-13 in 2015 to 14-5 with a circuit crown in ’16, Miller was a shoe-in for SJBL Coach-of-the-Year.
Second Team All-League status went to junior infielders Scott Gatlin (Dove Creek) and Graden Steffan (Nucla), freshman outfielder Ryan Delano-Martinez (Dove Creek) and senior DH Beau Hemphill (Dove Creek).
With the Class 2A State Championship still up for grabs this weekend, the 1A half of the SJBL’s campaign was concluded in its entirety May 19 at All-Star Park in Lakewood, with Arkansas Valley Leaguers Holly (12-6 overall) blanking North Central representatives Fleming (16-5) 5-0 for the 1A State Championship.
FHS had eliminated DCHS 4-1 in one semifinal on the 14th, denying the ’Dogs a chance to repeat as rulers, while HHS bageled NHS 10-zip in the eight-team bracket’s initial quarterfinals earlier that day.
FINAL SJBL STANDINGS (league, overall)
1.IGNACIO (8-1, 14-5), 2.Nucla (7-2, 10-12), 3.Dove Creek (3-6, 9-14), 4.Dolores (0-9, 0-17).