Sportswriters across the state of Texas voted for the players they thought were the best during the 2019 high school baseball season, with a number of area players being honored for their outstanding individual play.
Central Heights pitcher Rowan Arrant earned Texas Sportswriters Association Class 3A All-State First Team as a pitcher and Honorable Mention third baseman, while Woden’s Reid Taylor, who will be a senior in 2020, was named a Class 2A Second-Team pitcher and an Honorable Mention third baseman to lead area players receiving yet more postseason honors.
The pair joined Nacogdoches pitcher/first baseman Drayton Brown, who was a Class 5A TSWA Honorable Mention at both positions. Woden senior Khristian Goree was a Class 2A Second-Team honoree, and Cushing senior pitcher Alex Aparicio was a Class 2A Honorable Mention All-State honoree.
Arrant had an impressive year on the hill, as he signed a letter-of-intent to play college ball at Dallas Baptist. He posted a spotless 10-0 record,while earning a dominating 0.00 earned run average in 62.1 innings. He fanned 100 batters, while walking only nine as he was named the District 21-3A MVP. He gave up only five runs all year as he was named to the THSBCA All-Star Game.
In his high school career he was 27-0, with an 0.70 ERA, with 257 strikeouts and only 45 walks in 162.1 innings.
As a third baseman, Arrant hit .449 (35-of-78) as a senior, scoring 25 runs, while driving in 27 runs and drawing 31 walks. He connected with 11 doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs.
Taylor posted a 7.2 record on the mound in 2019, with two saves in 66.2 innings. He fanned 135 batters and gave up only four earned runs as he led the Eagles to the 2A Region III Semifinals and was named the District 23-2A Pitcher of the Year. He also verbally committed to Sam Houston State.
As a third baseman, he hit .362, with 32 RBIs, four triples and a home run.
Brown had a strong season while playing two positions for the Dragons. He finished his junior season with an earned run average of 0.50 in 69.2 innings. He posted a 6-4 record, with 119 strikeouts and 29 walks, posting five shutouts.
Offensively, he hit .305 (25-of-82), with nine doubles, a triple and 18 runs batted in. He also drew 17 walks and scored 10 runs, while posting a fielding percentage of .936.
Goree, a second-team designated hitter, finished his senior season with a .340 batting average, scoring 41 runs, while tagging 13 doubles a pair of home runs and driving in 24 runs for the 23-10 Eagles.
Aparicio earned honorable mention as a senior his senior season, prior to signing a letter of intent to Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
He posted a 7-1 record on the hill, with an 0.96 ERA in 58.1 innings for the 14-10 Bearkats. He fanned 74 batters and walked only 24, giving up just eight earned runs as he helped Cushing reach the 2A Regional Quarterfinals.
Other Class 5A East Texas players earning TSWA honors included Lufkin senior relief pitcher Davis Powell (third team), Marshall senior first baseman Carson Carlile (HM), Hallsville junior shortstop Easton Loyd (HM), Lufkin senior shortstop Davis Powell (HM), Hallsville junior third baseman Blake Ware (HM) and Hallsville senior outfielder Brayden Johnson (HM).
Class 4A players earning TSWA All-State honors from East Texas included Hudson senior DH Reed Smith (first-team), Carthage senior pitcher Seth Smith (third team) and Carthage senior catcher Gunner Capps (HM).
Other East Texas Class 3A honorees included Central junior pitcher Dylan Cloonan (third team), Central senior second baseman Cade Graves (third team), Central senior first baseman Jacob Davis (HM) and Central senior shortstop Logan Hobbs (HM).
Class 2A players from East Texas honored were Shelbyville junior pitcher Kolby Parker (first team) and designated hitter (HM). Shelbyville senior shortstop Cole Ferguson (third team) was also honored.
Wells had three players honored on the team. Senior second baseman Garrett Allen was a first-team performer, while senior pitcher Jakari Hadnot and senior catcher Logan Tucker were both on the third team.
Allen hit .382 (13-of-40), with 13 runs, eight RBIs, six walks and an on-base percentage of .480 for the 16-8 Pirates.
Hadnot posted an 8-5 record on the hill, with a 4.20 earned run average. He worked 56.2 innings, fanning 101 players, while walking 33.
Tucker hit a blistering .553 (21-of-56), with 16 runs, 13 runs batted in and five doubles for Wells.