If Raven Sauceda didn't go 4-for-4 at the plate, he'd spend extra time in the batting cages after the game.

Actually, the Shoemaker freshman spent extra time in the cages regardless. “We call him cage rat,” Shoemaker coach Harry Zambrana said. “If he went 2-for-4, that wasn't good enough. He wants to go 4-for-4. So, after a game, after practice, he's getting more swings in. That kid works hard, that's why he deserves to have the numbers he has.”

Sauceda hit a team-best .405 with five RBIs, a home run, six doubles and nine stolen bases in district play, and the District 12-5A newcomer of the year is just the type of player the Grey Wolves are building their program around.

“We talk about work ethic and working hard and doing the things we've got to do to be successful and you've got a little freshman kid that embodies that,” Zambrana said. “Just like losing's contagious, winning's contagious and he's bringing that winning attitude to our program to help us turn this around.”

Senior Riley Farrell of state finalist and 12-5A champion A&M Consolidated was the district MVP.Outside of Sauceda and a pair of Consolidated juniors — pitcher Logan Howell and designated hitter Gabe Singer — the 23-member all-district first team is entirely seniors.

Belton, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights were all represented by a trio of standouts on the first team and Ellison was led by its one first-teamer, senior outfielder Felix Marbury.

Pitcher Blayten Magana, second baseman Max Hogan and outfielder Shane Ward were first-team selections for the Tigers, who finished third in the district behind Consolidated and Bryan, which beat Belton in a regional quarterfinal.

Copperas Cove, led by third baseman Ty Johnson, outfielder Austin Greene and utility player Jhar Devilme, finished tied for fifth with Harker Heights.

“They were all extremely hard workers in the weight room and offseason, but I think the biggest part that they taught the younger guys was the dedication to the program,” said Cove coach C.J. Wilk of his three first-teamers and senior honorable mention Warren Neely.

“They're kids that probably could've gone and played with other travel teams, but they always put their team first. ... They were always there leading the way.”

Pitcher Hunter Mayo, shortstop Emery Atkisson and outfielder J.T. Gilmore were the Knights' three representatives on the first team.

“Every day, they just made such an impact even on our younger kids as far as how to prepare yourself, how to get ready to play,” Heights coach Glenn Cunningham said.

“That leadership quality is what a lot of them had. They're just exceptional kids because of that work ethic and what they've accomplished because of that work ethic.”

Shoemaker junior Elijah Hilliard was a second-team selection. Also making the second team were seniors Hunter Houston, Austin Bishoff and sophomore Jarred Janczak from Belton, Copperas Cove juniors Duncan Purnell and Joel Hogan, and Harker Heights seniors Zach Moseley and Stefan Flores.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.