A select group of Central Texas baseball players will play one final game.
Thirteen graduating seniors from District 8-5A and one player from Gatesville were among the 45 selected to play in the fifth annual Central Texas Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game June 18th in Waco.
“I just think it speaks volumes about the district we’re in,” said Shoemkaker head baseball coach Harry Zambrana. “There’s numerous guys from Belton and (Waco) Midway and then a couple guys from the Killeen area. It just speaks volumes how competitive this area is and how good the baseball players were this season ... Whereas in the years past, it’s been one or two guys, (this year) there’s numerous guys representing 8-5A in that all-star game.”
Five players from Belton — Joe Pare, Ryne Niemi, Juan Lagunas, Cameron Cooper and Justin Golden — will team up with Harker Heights’ Robby Sluss and Kyle Randall, Temple’s Mason Hesse and Gatesville’s Tyler Jaynes on the Leaders team, which will be coached by Temple coach Craig Martin and Clifton’s Brian Slater.
“Certainly, it’s an honor. That’s being selected by other coaches from our area to be able to work with other great players from our area is certainly an honor,” Martin said.
Shoemaker’s Albert Castro and John Guiets will join Killeen’s John Rechtorovic and two players from Waco Midway on the Legends team, which will be coached by Teague’s Kyle Killman and Mexia’s Matt Matus.
“If I only had one kid make that all-star team, it would’ve been John Guiets. He’s battled with us, he’s stuck with us the last four years and he’s never really got a whole lot of publicity or recognition in terms of his baseball efforts,” Zambrana said. “We wouldn’t have been in the situation we were in (making the playoffs for the first time in school history) without him. ... I just wanted to make sure he got some kind of recognition for his efforts and the things he did for Shoemaker High School.”
The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Baylor Ballpark. Unlike years past, there will be no juniors all-star game this year.
For Martin, the all-star game will be his last time to coach Hesse, a mainstay at shortstop for the Wildcats since Martin left Ellison after the 2010 season to coach at his alma mater. “It’s special for me, anyway. ... He’s been a guy that’s really been a program guy for us and he’s really helped carry us the last three years and certainly helped carry us this year even though we struggled a little bit,” Martin said. “To get to coach him one more time will be special and he’s certainly a guy we’re going to miss and I’m going to miss not having with us next year.”