By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
While it doesn't garner the same luster of a state championship ring, Dillon Newman admits he likes seeing his name listed among the best in the state.
Newman, the former Belton senior ace, joined fellow former Tiger shortstop Shane Hoelscher as first-team selections on the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 5A high school baseball team, announced Saturday.
"This one is probably my favorite award," Newman said. "I really didn't expect to get this."
The first-team all-state nod was just the latest in a long line of postseason honors bestowed upon the Belton duo that helped lead the Tigers to their second best record (34-7) in school history and a playoff run that fell just short of a trip to the 5A state tournament in Round Rock.
"It's nice," Newman said. "I worked my (butt) off and it's nice to get rewarded and everything, but I think, at the end of the day, I'd rather have a state championship than an individual award."
The Baylor-bound Newman finished this past season with a 13-1 record, 0.95 earned run average over 85.2 innings, racking up a 110/14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
While Newman led the Tigers on the mound, the Rice-bound Hoelscher did his best work at the plate, ending his senior season with a team-leading .420 batting average (55-for-131), a Belton single-season record 14 home runs, 53 RBI, 52 runs, 14 doubles, 20 walks and 7 stolen bases.
Capping their four-year Belton careers, Newman's resume includes a 35-8 record, 320 strikeouts and a 0.95 ERA over 264.2 innings, while Hoelscher combined for a .393 average, 164 hits, 146 runs, 45 doubles, 26 home runs and 128 RBIs.
Following their earlier-than-expected ousting by Klein Collins in the Region II-5A semifinals, Hoelscher and Newman have shared honors as Co-Most Valuable Players of District 12-5A, Co-Players of the Year of the Daily Herald's all-area team, and now as 5A first-team selections by TSWA.
Hoelscher, who was also picked as a first-team 5A all-state player by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association last month, was a second-team all-state selection by TSWA as a junior.
"It's kind of the cherry-on-top, I guess you could say," said Hoelscher, who will play for Rice next season. "You can just look at that wall (in my parents house) and see the awards just grow and get more and more, and then finally you get to all-state, and really it's just cool. It's one of the best awards you can receive, so I'm glad I got it."
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7566.