WHERE ARE THEY NOW
July 10, 2013Rossville Middle High School
The 2013 All-Clinton County Baseball Team
The Frankfort baseball team, which finished with a 21-7 record and won the county tournament, leads the area with four players on the 2013 All-Clinton County Baseball Team.
Leading the way for the Hot Dogs is Times Player of the Year Hector Lopez, and he’s joined by his sophomore brother Leo Lopez, senior classmate Jordan Ham and sophomore Jose Valdes. Clinton Central had three first-team selections in junior Jeff Scott, senior Justin Blevens and junior Cole Simmons. Also on the first team are Clinton Prairie senior Ryan Walker and Rossville junior Levi Ellars.
Earning honorable mention were Rossville sophomore Brayton Cooper, Prairie senior Nick McElroy, Frankfort junior Isaac Wood, Frankfort freshman Jarrod Smith, Central sophomore Jake Burton, Frankfort senior Ralph Myars and Prairie junior Kyle Cook.
Scott is a three-time first team selection, while Hector Lopez and Blevens are repeat honorees from last year.
The voting for the all-county team was conducted by the four county coaches: Frankfort’s Andy Dudley, Prairie’s Matthew Scott, Central’s Eric Flickinger and Rossville’s Michael Gick.
The Times Player of the Year and first-team all-Sagamore Athletic Conference selection hit an even .500 with 41 hits, 24 runs, eight doubles, four home runs and 26 RBIs. Lopez had a .586 on-base percentage, .744 slugging percentage and a 1.330 OPS.
Clinton Central junior
Scott, the Times Player of the Year the past two seasons, had another great season at the plate and on the mound. The three-time all-county performer hit .420 with 29 runs, 34 hits, 31 RBI, five doubles, one triple and one home run. He also finished with a .550 OBP, .543 slugging and 1.093 OPS.
In Scott’s best hitting performance, he went 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in an 8-4 win over Clinton Prairie. Scott also drove in four runs in a win over Eastern.
Scott went to the next level on the mound, finishing with an 8-3 record and a 0.84 earned-run average. He only allowed eight earned runs in 66 2/3 innings, striking out 98 while only allowing 40 hits. He also picked up two saves.
“He is a very dominant pitcher and works his pitches well,” Matthew Scott said. “He is another player that hit the ball with power to all fields. He doesn’t chase bad pitches and usually gets his pitch to drive.”
Scott struck out a season-high 17 in an 8-0 win over Rossville and sat down 15 Tipton batters in a 4-3 victory.
“Jeff is a great all-around baseball player,” Dudley said. “When you play Central, you have to make sure you are always aware of where he is in the order and pitch accordingly.”
Lopez was the Hot Dogs’ No. 1 pitcher this season, finishing the year with a 6-2 record, 0.66 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. In 42 2/3 innings, Lopez had 63 strikeouts and only allowed 18 hits.
Lopez also had a 22-inning scoreless streak in the second half of the season. He struck out 11 batters twice (Danville, Tri-West) and cut down 10 Western Boone batters.
“Leo was very dominant on the mound,” Scott said. “He mixes his pitches well and kept hitters off balance. At the plate, he could hit the good pitch and the bad pitch; had very good hand-eye coordination.”
At the plate, the first-team all-SAC nominee hit .375 with 30 hits, 22 runs, nine doubles, 14 RBIs and a .870 OPS. Lopez had a season-high three hits against Kokomo and Hamilton Heights.
“He’s an unbelievable talent, one of the smoothers players I’ve seen,” Flickinger said. “He makes plays seem effortless.”
The first-team all-Hoosier Heartland Conference player hit .419 with 36 hits, 31 RBIs, 15 runs, 14 doubles and one home run. Blevens also had a .510 OBP, .616 slugging and a 1.126 OPS.
Blevens had three hits three times, driving in four runs against Sheridan (including a homer) and three against Prairie. Blevens also drove in four runs against Bethesda Christian.
“Justin is a very solid catcher,” Scott said. “He calls the game well and doesn’t try to do too much. At the plate, he was another player that was a very hard out. He got his pitch and drove it. He’s not overly flashy but gets the job done. A kid anyone would like to have on their team.”
On the mound, Blevens was 2-1 with a 4.48 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 25 innings. He also allowed 16 hits.
Blevens will play at Brescia University next year.
“Justin was a great complement to Jeff Scott in Central’s lineup,” Dudley said. “If you focus too much on Jeff, Justin can make you pay with some pretty good pop of his own. He also does a really nice job behind the plate.”
Walker proved to be a tough out for opponents, hitting .493 with 34 hits, four doubles, one home run and 20 RBIs. Walker had a .521 OBP, .623 slugging and a 1.144 OPS.
“He’s a very dangerous hitter and a solid defensive first baseman,” Flickinger said.
Walker was also a first-team all-HHC selection.
“Ryan is a good athlete with a very nice swing,” Dudley said. “He has really hit the ball well against us, against a couple of good pitchers, the last couple of years.”
Ham hit .333 with 23 runs, 26 hits, four doubles, two home runs, 16 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Ham found a way to get on base often, tallying a .480 on-base percentage and .942 OPS.
“He’s a very patient hitter and works the count in his favor,” Flickinger said.
The second-team all-SAC selection had his best game against Kokomo, when he hit two home runs and singled while scoring three runs.
“He plays the game the right way,” Scott said. “Hustles, gives up his body on defense and willing to sacrifice himself to move over runners. He was a very good base-stealer and really read the ball and pitcher well. He’s a player you would love to build around.”
Valdes was just one of many Frankfort pitching standouts, finishing the year with a 4-0 record and 0.54 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Valdes also had three saves. In 26 innings pitched, Valdes only allowed 15 hits and struck out 28 batters. Valdes had a season-high nine strikeouts in a win over Central.
At the plate, the second-team all-SAC honoree hit .288 with 19 hits, four runs, three doubles, 13 RBIs and a .750 OPS.
“He does a good job of keeping you off balance, mixes in his off-speed (pitches) well,” Flickinger said.
Ellars, who played both shortstop and centerfield, hit .394 with 26 hits, seven RBIs and 19 runs. Ellars also chipped in with a .494 OBP and a .918 OPS.
“Levi does a nice job of putting the ball in play and finding ways to get on base,” Dudley said.
On the mound, Ellars went 0-4 with a 7.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP, striking out 20 batters in 22 innings pitched.
Simmons developed into a standout pitcher for the Bulldogs this spring, going 4-0 with a 0.78 ERA. In 27 innings pitched, Simmons only gave up 16 hits and struck out 32 batters. Simmons threw a complete-game shutout and struck out nine in an 8-0 win over Clinton Prairie.
“He was able to work the inside and outside part of the plate,” Scott said. “He wasn’t going to overpower you like some pitchers but he was going to make you hit his pitch. He didn’t give in to a hitter and wasn’t afraid to challenge on the inner half.”
At the plate, Simmons hit .238 with 13 runs, 20 hits, 20 RBIs, seven doubles and one home run.
“Cole did a great job on the mound this year,” Dudley said.
Cooper hit .324 with 22 hits, two home runs, 11 RBIs and 11 runs. The first-team all-HHC player also had a .425 OBP and a .866 OPS.
“Brayton has good power for a sophomore,” Dudley said.
Cooper was also the Hornets’ No. 1 pitcher, going 5-7 with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. In 62 2/3 innings, Cooper allowed 45 earned runs and 79 hits while striking out 58 batters.
“Brayton was able to keep our hitters off balance with his curveball and fastball,” Scott said. “He was able to throw both pitches for a strike and could throw them in any count. At the plate he was a tough out. He was one of the players that refused to give in. He would battle until he got his pitch and was able to drive the baseball.”
McElroy hit .378 with 12 runs, 14 hits, one home run, a .521 OBP and a .980 OPS.
“Nick is a tough out at the plate,” Dudley said.
The southpaw was an innings-eater for the Hot Dog, going 5-3 with a 3.82 ERA in 44 innings pitched this season. Wood allowed 38 hits and struck out 46 batters in earning honorable mention all-SAC honors.
“Isaac didn’t overpower a hitter but he was consistently throwing strikes at the knees,” Scott said. “He worked both sides of the plate and kept hitters off balance with his pitches. A very good, crafty lefty who didn’t back down from any hitter.”
Smith had a breakout freshman year, hitting .348 with 15 runs, 24 hits, six doubles, 13 RBis and a .872 OPS. Smith had a season-high three hits in a win over Kokomo.
The second-team all-SAC selection also had a strong season on the bump, going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. In 23 2/3 innings pitched, he allowed 25 hits and struck out 15 batters.
Burton came on late in the season, hitting .319 with 30 hits, 29 runs, 15 RBIs, four doubles, one home run and a .425 on-base percentage.
Burton was also the Bulldogs’ No. 2 pitcher, going 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA. In 42 1/3 innings pitched, the first-team all-HHC performer allowed 57 hits and struck out 27 batters.
“Jake had a really nice two-way season,” Dudley said. “He really seems to have a good feel for the game.”
The honorable mention all-SAC player hit .273 with 19 runs, 21 hits, five doubles, 21 RBis and a .848 OPS.
Myars also pitched 18 innings, allowing 16 hits and striking out 10 while earning a 1.56 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
Cook provided speed at the top of the order, stealing 12 bases. Cook also hit .299 with 20 hits and one triple while earning first-team all-HHC honors.