A baseball fireball at Sabine, three Kilgore High School standouts and a pair of Overton’s best have been recognized on the state level this weekend, by the people who watch them most (other than their parents).
Will Shawn finished his junior season for the Sabine High School Cardinals in style, making the Collin Street Bakery/ Texas Sports Writers Association’s All-State team. Shawn was named as the designated hitter on the Class 3A first-team.
Collin Pippen, recently-graduated pitcher and infielder for the Kilgore Bulldogs, was named to the second-team in Class 4A as a pitcher.
Two of Collin’s teammates, Javan Smitherman and Jerrick “Deuce” Ervin, were named honorable mentions on the team – Smitherman as a pitcher and Ervin as an outfielder. Smitherman will be a senior at KHS in the upcoming school year. Ervin will be a junior.
The Kilgore trio helped the Bulldogs win the District 9-4A championship and set a new single-season wins record at the school (26-7-2).
Overton’s Gavin Flanagan, a senior, was named to the Class 2A third-team as a pitcher. Teammate Nick Croteau, an outfielder, also was named to the 2A third-team.
The numbers for this group of young men are impressive.
Shawn batted .402, had 12 doubles, three triples, a home run, scored 30 runs, and had 20 RBI for the Cardinals, who finished 18-12.
Pippen went 11-1 for Kilgore’s Diamond ‘Dogs, with a low 1.18 ERA in 64 innings. He struck out 83 on the season, walked just 17, allowed 37 hits, 21 runs and 12 earned runs. Smitherman had a 9-1 record this year, a 1.33 ERA, and struck out 81 in 68 1/3 innings pitched. He walked 24, allowed 43 hits in the season, 17 runs, and 11 earned runs.
Smitherman was actually the district’s most valuable player, as voted on by the coaches.
Ervin batted .360, rolling up 31 hits on the season. He scored 28 runs, had eight doubles and two triples. He finished the season with 22 RBI, 22 stolen bases, walked 17 times, and had a .481 on-base percentage.
Flanagan and Croteau helped the Mustangs to another knock-out year, as well, a 24-2-2 season.
Flanagan went 12-1 on the mound, a 0.90 ERA, struck out 70 and batted .349. Croteau batted .457, had 14 extra-base hits, 17 RBI, and 28 stolen bases.
Of note: dominating the 3A all-state team was Central Heights, a program in Nacogdoches that often comes up to Kilgore to compete in the annual Oil Belt Classic every March. Central Heights beat Wall back in June for the UIL 3A state championship.
Central Heights is coached by none other than Travis Jackson, an Overton native who coached the Mustangs to a state tournament appearance just a few years ago. Jackson was also named the 3A coach of the year.