Almost nothing could keep Coby Giniewicz out of the lineup.
After breaking his arm early in the season, Salado’s designated hitter and second baseman continued to play the game he loved. Despite the pain of having two fractures, he was willing to do anything to stay on the field.
“He played for about a week with it broke,” Salado baseball coach Chad Krempin said. “It finally got a little worse, and he wasn’t able to play any more. He sat out about two weeks, came back, taped it up and went the rest of the way.”
In part, Krempin credits Giniewicz’s determination for the Eagles’ successful season, which ended last week at the Class 2A state baseball tournament. Krempin also believes the mindset helped Giniewicz earn a spot of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Associations’ Class 2A All-State Team released Monday.
“He’s a tough kid,” Krempin added, “no question.”
Giniewicz was named third team second baseman and was joined by teammates Casey Frazier, who was also a third-team selection, and Jon Franz, who was named to a first-team shortstop.
Additionally, Belton junior pitcher Jared Janczak earned all-state recognition, landing on the Class 5A second team after helping the Tigers win the District 8-5A championship with a 13-1 record.
Krempin, however, was not completely satisfied with his team’s representation on the list.
“I’m a little disappointed to be honest,” Krempin said. “There are a couple of guys from schools that didn’t even make the playoffs on the all-state team. I just don’t get it. (But my players who made it) are definitely deserving.”
Frazier instilled confidence in his teammates whenever he stepped on the mound.
The junior pitcher was nearly untouchable, and even more difficult to beat.
Frazier, who won 23 straight games after losing his varsity debut during the 2012 season, was named district MVP and Franz was the offensive player of the year on the All-District 22-2A list, which was also released Monday.
“Both of them, at times, carried us at the plate,” said Krempin. “Jon either led-off or batted second and Casey, obviously, was our top pitcher for much of the year. He did a great job and his offensive numbers, combined with his pitching numbers, were really good.”
Cameron junior Kylen Harrell was the district’s defensive MVP and Little River-Academy junior Devlin Smith was the newcomer of the year.
In addition to Frazier and Franz, three Salado seniors and three juniors were recognized on the 22-2A first team. Seniors Reagan Bazar (pitcher), Marshall Mann (infield) and Giniewicz (designated hitter) were joined by juniors Cole Haag (catcher), Britton Hawes (pitcher) and Caden Eary (outfield).
The Eagles also had three players make the second team.
Florence junior pitcher Logan Hallmark, junior infielder Peyton Person and senior outfielder Alex Ramirez were also first-team picks. The Buffaloes had two players make the second team.
A Salado team “sprinkled” with seniors reached the state tournament for the second time in six years and won 34 games this season before losing 16-3 to Hallettsville in the semifinals last Wednesday. Hallettsville then upset top-ranked Hughes Springs 4-2 in the 2A state final.
The Eagles’ pitching staff, led by ace Frazier, was the team’s strength this season.
“Each one of them definitely contributed and had a low ERA. They were all in the 1s or below 1, which you can’t ask for more than that. The opposing batting averages were below .200 against each one of those guys, also, I believe,” Krempin said. “Two of them being juniors is also exciting to know we have those guys to lean on again next year.”
Making the second team for Salado were senior infielder Bryce Martin, senior outfielder Trey Mohler and junior outfielder Davis Little. Florence’s second-team selections included senior pitcher Clay Navarette and junior utility player Luke McNeil.
With five all-district returners for next season, the Eagles, again, figure to make another deep run to finish what they couldn’t this season.
“I think our expectations are to try and go back to Round Rock,” Krempin said. “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think that’d be our expectation each and every year. They may, sometimes, not be realistic, but that’s just the goal we have set. And, I think the last game of the season, unfortunately for the seniors it’s something they have to live with or remember — and we all do — but I think, for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, I think it’s a motivating factor to get back and redeem ourselves or have another crack at that thing and hopefully it’ll turn out differently.”