By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
Gatesville pitching claimed three of the six first- and second-team spots on the District 19-3A all-district team.
The good news is all three - Micah Thompson, Tyler English and Tyler Jaynes - return next year.
The not-so-good news is so does everyone else.
"We should be right there with them with all our guys getting older, bigger and stronger," said Gatesville head coach Graig Keeton. "I think we're probably going to have more depth than any of them, but at the same time, when you get into district, pitching depth isn't that big of a deal. You really just need two."
As opposed to three-day tournaments to start the baseball season, where a team might play twice a day or up to five games in the tournament, district play for nearly everyone is just twice a week - Tuesday and Friday.
"Everybody's going to have two good ones next year and we'll see who our two are that rise to the top," Keeton said.
Thompson did his part, earning a spot on the first team. He went 3-4 on the mound this season, but struck out 46 batters in 32 2/3 innings pitched. He also hit .389 and likely could have earned an all-district nod at shortstop.
"You never know how coaches are going to vote, and he had a couple pretty impressive performances on the mound," Keeton said. "I think that stood out in the mind's of those teams we played. That was big for him ... he's a competitive, hard-working kid who deserves it for sure."
Also on the first team was senior outfielder Payton George, one of just two seniors on the 14-member first team.
George stepped in the No. 2 spot in the batting order after not hitting at all last year, and finished the year with a .383 average to go with 25 runs scored.
"He was more disappointed than anybody when we didn't get in (the playoffs) because he put a lot on his shoulders with the team," Keeton said. "He came up with some big games. Just overall, a real gritty competitor and leader - the type of kid that every team needs to have."
The Hornets, who finished fourth in 19-3A, put six on the second team. Only designated hitter Seth Barton was a senior, as the rest return next year. Jaynes is the lone sophomore while English joins rising senior teammates in catcher Allan Watson, first baseman Slayton Meyer, second baseman Cort Dixon.
Cullen Mayhew and Barton Courtney were Gatesville's honorable mentions.
Robinson and China Spring swept the district superlatives, with Rockets junior Chad Hollingsworth named the 19-3A most valuable player. Robinson's Joseph Olson and China Spring's Michael Martin shared the Offensive MVP, while Cougar junior Sterling Wynn was Defensive MVP. Freshman Tucker Johnson of China Spring was named Newcomer of the Year.
19-3A ALL-DISTRICT TEAM
Most Valuable Player-Chad Hollingsworth, Robinson, Jr.
Co-Offensive MVP-Joseph, Robinson, Sr.; Michael Martin, China Spring, Sr.
Defensive MVP-Sterling Wynn, China Spring, Jr.
Newcomer of the Year-Tucker Johnson, China Spring, Fr.
Pitchers-Micah Thompson, Gatesville, Jr.; Jimmy Roberts, Lorena, Jr.; Justin Walton, Lorena, Jr.
Catcher-Jason Prevatt, China Spring, So.
First base-Brandon Johnson, Robinson, Sr.
Second base-Hunter Abbe, Robinson, Jr.
Shortstop-Zach Sullivan, Robinson, So.
Third base-Jordan Hargis, Robinson, Jr.
Outfield-Payton George, Gatesville, Sr.; Cody Lovejoy, Lorena, Sr.; Alex Rogers, Robinson, Jr.; Kade Munden, China Spring, So.
Designated hitter-Braden Trussell, Robinson, Sr.
Utility-Mason George, China Spring, So.
Pitchers-Tyler English, Gatesville, Jr.; Tyler Jaynes, Gatesville, So.; Junior Fuentes, Waco Connally, So.
Catcher-Allan Watson, Gatesville, Jr.; Rhett Williams, Lorena, Sr.
First base-Slayton Meyer, Gatesville, Jr.
Second base-Cort Dixon, Gatesville, Jr.; Jared Tovar, Waco Connally, Sr.
Shortstop-Tyler Baker, Waco La Vega, Jr.; Jordan Pruitt, Waco Connally, Jr.
Third base-Dillon Dumas, China Spring, Sr.
Outfield-Zac Law, Robinson, Fr.; Philip Hurtado, Robinson, Sr.; Chris Harrison, Waco Connally, So.; Dane Lovejoy, Lorena, So.
Designated hitter-Seth Barton, Gatesville, Sr.
Utility-Riley Edwards, China Spring, So.
Gatesville-Cullen Mayhew, Barton Courtney