AVALON — An Eagle baseball team that came game short of pulling off the seemingly impossible was handsomely rewarded with 10 all-district recognitions.
Though (25-5) Avalon fell in the UIL 1A Regional Semifinals to eventual state-champion Abbott, seven — count ‘em, seven — Eagles were placed on one of two District 15-2A All-District teams, two bestowed all-district superlatives and one received an honorable mention nod.
Eric Smith led the way for the Eagles on the mound, field and in the batter's box on his way to District 15-2A Defensive MVP honors. In his 91 chances at shortstop or on the bump, Smith committed just nine errors (90 percent), helped flip three double plays and accounted for 35 putouts and 47 assists.
At the plate, Smith finished near the top in most offensive categories. The underclassman finished with 25 hits (3), four doubles (T-4), one home run (T-1), 19 RBIs (4), 27 runs scored (5), 20 walks (2) and a .333 batting average (T-4) in 75 at-bats. He also finished the season 12-2 on the mound with a 1.18 ERA and 97 strikeouts to 24 walks in 71.1 innings.
The second of two Eagles to receive a superlative was Rhett Newton, who slugged his way to District 15-2A Newcomer of the Year.
Newton led the ballclub with 34 hits, 30 RBIs and a .466 batting average in 73 at-bats. He also drew 18 base-on-balls to just two strikeouts and scored 28 runs.
In total, six Eagles found a place on the 15-2A All-District first team — Dillon Martin (INF), Clayton Hopgood (OF), Tony Balderas (OF), Alex Hernandez (P), Austyn Johnson (C) and Dylan Chambers (UTIL).
Martin collected 19 hits and 15 RBIs, Hopgood slugged nine doubles on his way to driving in 20 runs and scoring 26 more, while Balderas scored a team-high 31 runs. He also finished with 17 hits and drew 19 walks to the tune of a .541 OBP. Johnson finished second on the team with 29 RBIs on 25 hits and Chambers scored 29 runs while collecting four doubles. On the mound, Hernandez finished the season with an unblemished 9-0 record in his 44.2 innings pitched. He added 46 strikeouts and boasted a 2.51 ERA.
After scoring 28 runs and slapping three doubles, Jacob Davidson and his .429 OBP found a place as a designated hitter on the 15-2A All-District second team.
Landon Kriska rounded out the recognitions for the Eagles with his District 15-2A Honorable Mention nod. Kriska had 13 hits, 12 RBIs and three doubles on the season.