It’s an experiment that has true benefit and merit, but also one with a big hill to climb before permanent implementation throughout...
After a one-year hiatus, Crater senior Corey Wynant put the Comets back among the state's best with his first-team selection to the Class 6A all-state baseball list.
Crater didn't have a first-teamer one year ago when it went through its first 6A season, but has now had at least one player named to the all-state first team in every other year since the Comets' 5A championship season in 2007.
Wynant was a driving force behind Crater's second-place finish in the Southern Oregon Hybrid, batting .355 with 22 runs and 22 RBIs. He belted seven home runs to go with three doubles, one triple and high averages in on-base percentage (.516) and slugging percentage (.697).
"He was right in the middle of everything for us," said Crater head coach Jay Campbell, whose team finished 18-10 overall and 7-5 in SOH play. "I think the thing that kinda went unnoticed this year was how well he played defensively as well. Everyone knew he was going to be a big contributor for us on offense but some of the plays he made at third and being solid all year there was a big plus for us, especially after moving him from shortstop for this year."
In 2007, Charlie Reina, Chris Thomas, Zach Boskovich, Josh Surgeon and Cory Staniforth each were first-team honorees after the Comets won the 5A state title. Bryce Peila (2008), Christian Massey (2009) and Bryce Crawford (2010) followed before the school's run of first-teamers was broken up last season.
Joining Wynant on the first team this year were Tyler Bennett of Grants Pass (utility) and Roseburg's Josh Graham (catcher), Connor Newell (second baseman) and Jared Priestley (pitcher).
Graham was also named 6A pitcher of the year and Westview's Carson Kelly, who signed Thursday with the St. Louis Cardinals as a second-round draft pick, was named the 6A player of the year. Coach of the year went to Oregon City's Greg Lord. Graham, Priestley and Kelly had previously signed with the University of Oregon.
North Medford senior pitcher Bryan Carbonell was selected to the second team after going 8-3 for the Black Tornado, while Roseburg's Mike Morin was a second-team first baseman.
Earning honorable mention status were Crater senior pitcher Chris Painter, Roseburg junior shortstop Kody Matthews and teammate David Irvine, a freshman left fielder. Painter went 5-2 with three saves and a 1.78 ERA for the Comets.
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