Waco Midway’s Dustin Vasek scrambles back to second base ahead of the throw to Copperas Cove’s Kyle Winstead.

During his senior season, Kyle Winstead gave his team a lot.

Tuesday evening, he received respect in return.

Winstead was named team MVP during Copperas Cove’s annual baseball banquet held at the high school’s cafeteria after producing a standout season.

Although players determine the recipient, Bulldawgs head coach Dusty Brittain completely endorses the decision.

“Kyle is just a hard worker,” Brittain said. “He is a captain for us. He’s there early taking cuts in the batting cage, he stays late, and he does all the little things right. Then, he performs on the field, and that is a big part of it too.”

The infielder led the team in batting average (.387) and finished the season tied for team-high in hits with 29, including seven doubles, to go along with 24 runs scored and 15 RBIs.

Bulldawgs outfielder Tim Bechtold was named offensive player of the year after his 29-hit, 26-run season landed him on the 8-5A all-district second team for a second consecutive season.

Third baseman Michael Hays was the only other non-senior from Copperas Cove to land on the all-district team, joining Bechtold on the second team after the sophomore duo ranked among the top five on the team in hits, singles, RBIs, runs scored and batting average.

Hays was recognized for his defense at the banquet, earning the honor of defensive player of the year. Additionally, he was named rookie of the year.

“He’s been great for us,” Brittain said. “I think he was unanimous for rookie of the year, and then defensively, he really came on for us during district. He was a just a vacuum at third base, and that was big for us, so I think the kids did a pretty good job of voting.”

Senior outfielder Jayson Cole received the Dawg Award after establishing himself as an offensive force. Cole delivered the second-most hits on the team with 28, including 22 singles, and was the only player on the roster to record more than one triple, ending the season with a .364 batting average.

While his numbers were solid, Brittain believes the award, which is distributed by the coaching staff, has little to do with statistical production.

“To me, this award represents what every coach is looking for and what every teammate is looking for,” Brittain said, “and that is Jayson Cole in a nutshell.”

On the mound, Charlie Folger was named pitcher of the year, striking out 69 batters over 58.2 innings of work during his senior season.

Folger’s battery mate Michael Sizemore also was honored, receiving the award for most improved as he concludes his high school career.

The Coach’s Choice Award was presented to Joseph Ceballos and Ryan Dorroh.

Brittain and his staff determined the Coach’s Choice and most improved recipients.

“We view the Coach’s Choice Award very similar to the Dawg Award,” Brittain said. “It is basically for a great kid; someone who is a coach’s dream, and those two guys were very, very easy to coach to say the least.

“We were kind of mixed on most improved because there have been a lot of guys who improved, but Michael grew to own that catcher position. He split time early in the year and had some games with silly mistakes here or there, but he really came on in district and was right on the money.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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