All-area team loaded with live arms

The 2014 Bastrop Advertiser-Smithville Times all-area baseball team has is noticeably blue and white, but to be fair, the entire 2014 baseball season had much the same hues.

The pitcher position was probably the toughest. Trying to avoid the trap of a bloated 17-person first team that takes a little of the prestige out of the honor, we held tight to our policy of placing just one pitcher on the first team. The problem is, we had (at least) four hurlers that we would put on the bump against just about any team in the state on any given night.

First-team selection Josh Castor was eventually chosen based on his overall performance and in-district record. He may not be the most talented overall (that honor goes to Cameron Williams, who one day could very well find himself in the professional ranks with his high-octane arm), but there’s no denying Castor’s production in 2014.

Putting Castor on the mound allowed us to put his teammate Chance Schilhab in the outfield. Schilhab had a season worthy of a first-team selection at pitcher as well, but it was his overall performance at the plate and in the field that earned him the district’s MVP award in 2014.

The other area arm worthy of a first-team spot was Bastrop’s Tristan Gideon. Gideon was the team’s No. 2 starter, but put together the team’s best overall record on the mound in 2014. He’ll take his talents to the college ranks next year and likely hasn’t even approached his ceiling as a baseball player.

The other end of the battery was much easier to decide. With no offense to Bastrop standout Mason Homesley and Cedar Creek’s stellar catcher Connor Hamilton, Smithville’s Kyle Schmidt isn’t just the best in the area at his position, he’s right up there with the very best in the state. Schmidt is the unquestioned team leader in Smithville and he’ll lead a team chock-full of returning starters in 2015.

Castor, Gideon, Williams and Schilhab are all capable of shutting down some of the area’s most high-powered teams, but they would all get plenty or run support from our loaded offensive lineup. Clifton Hendrix may be one of the area’s best all-around offensive players. His quick bat and even quicker feet make him a nightmare at the plate and on the base path. Logan Allen can hit for power, but has the wheels to leg out an infield single as well. Adrian Gonzales, Dylan Murley and Derek Valiska are all experienced hitters that make opposing pitchers work for outs. Designated hitter Chance Medina rounds out a stellar lineup that wouldn’t have a weak spot from one through nine.

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