Joey Morgan is a standout on the mound, at the plate and behind the plate. photo by Jerry Baldock
Joey Morgan, for the second consecutive year, was selected the 4A State Player of the Year and was also named first-team all-state catcher for the second year in a row. Morgan, a junior, has racked up some very impressive stats and is recognized by coaches from around the state.
Coach Steve Hodges said, "It's quite an honor for a junior to be selected Player of the Year because it is almost always won by a senior. The results were almost unanimous. Joey's ability has resonated through the state and coaches have noticed. It speaks to his work in the off-season. He plays around the nation against high-level competition. He's really improved this season, especially at the plate. He is disciplined at the plate and waits for good pitches, and his numbers prove that."
Morgan batted .624 for the Outlaws with 41 hits and 41 RBI. Not only was Joey a threat at the plate, he was also a threat on the mound. Morgan finished the year 9-1 with a .62 ERA.
"Joey is certainly a multiple-tool athlete," stated Hodges. "He hits for power and average and his on-base percentage is strong. His throwing arm as a catcher and pitcher is outstanding. He has a college-level arm, and having him on our defense makes us a more difficult team to beat. And, he's also an outstanding student and teammate as well. He is a very humble young man."
Sophomore Justin Harrer also earned first-team honors as an infielder and played at shortstop for the Outlaws. Justin batted .449 for the season with 40 hits and 25 RBI and also recorded 17 stolen bases. On the mound Justin was 6-0 with a 1.6 ERA.
"Justin is a very athletic infielder," stated Hodges. "He has good speed and can run very well. He's also really developed as a pitcher and will be one of our main starters next year."
Nicky Blumm and Eli Boettner both earned second-team all-state honors, Blumm as an infield pick and Boettner at outfield.
Blumm (senior) was the Outlaws' lead-off hitter, and batted .493 with 36 hits on the season. He was 4-1 on the mound with a 1.96 ERA. Nicky scored 30 runs for the Outlaws and had 13 stolen bases.
"Nicky is an excellent bunter," said Hodges. "His on-base percentage is at 600 plus, which is very high. It's exactly what you want your lead-off hitter to do. He's also an excellent fielder. He's a good glove guy and is very consistent. He makes tough plays in pressure situations and in big games and has done that his whole high school career. He's a good bunter and he also had a good year on the mound. He will be tough to replace."
Boettner recorded 11 stolen bases over the course of the season and finished with a .240 batting average.
"Eli had an outstanding year," said Hodges. "He's a very good bunter and had two hits in the semi-final game for us. He has a team-oriented attitude and is very coachable."
Jarden Weems played at second and third base and also pitched. Weems was a third-team all-state infield selection. Jarden batted .494 with 40 hits, scored 40 times and recorded 28 RBI. He was 5-0 on the mound with a 2.17 ERA.
"Jardon worked hard at improving as a baseball player and has made big strides each year, and especially offensively this year," said Hodges. "He's outstanding at the plate and is an excellent defensive player. He played multiple positions for us and only had two errors the entire season."
Sam Calarco earned honorable mention infielder and played at third base and catcher. Sam batted fifth for the Outlaws and finished with a .325 batting average. He also recorded 25 hits and 25 RBI.
"Sam is a team guy, and he makes the team better," said Hodges. "He creates practice tempo and leads by example through his hard work. He was a great catcher when Joey pitched and he made his presence felt in many capacities."
Coach Steve Hodges was also named 4A Coach of the Year and told The Nugget it was nice to be recognized.
"You do put a lot of time into the sport and what you love," said Hodges. "It's very gratifying and I'm honored. I won the award but my coaching staff was certainly a big part of it."
Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
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