Head baseball coach Tracy Wood said it is always a good thing to have alumni return home while still on a roster at colleges or junior colleges. Sometimes, those former Indians are the best recruiters.
He credited a couple of those pipelines for four Indians signing National Letters of Intent in the spring amid an up-and-down baseball season for the Tribe. In addition to the group that will continue their playing careers at the next level, nine Indians received All-District 10-5A honors, headlined by 10-5A Offensive Player of the Year Peyton Graham.
The four now-graduated Indians headed to the collegiate ranks include Joey Trevino, Odessa College; Ryan Allen, Redlands Community College; Trevor Mott, Fort Scott Community College; and Juan Hernandez, Eastern Oklahoma State College.
"I always thought all four of those guys could go play and anytime that you can send for ballplayers to college is a good thing," Wood said. "They get to continue playing the game, and that is a good thing. They will all do well."
Trevino is headed to Odessa College after he was named to the District 10-5A second team and selected to the THSBCA North Texas All-Star game.
Better known as "Joey T," the senior finished third on the team with 23 hits. Eleven of those hits went for extra bases, which included eight doubles, two triples and one home run — all good enough for second on the team.
Trevino finished the season with a .287 batting average and .475 slugging percentage.
Waxahachie first baseman Ryan Allen is headed to Redlands Community College in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Allen recorded 17 hits this season, driving in nine runs and scoring nine more. He hit .270 on the year and slugged one home run.
Allen also posted a .982-fielding percentage for the season and a sparkling 1.000-fielding percentage during district play on 87 attempts at first base.
He was charged with just three errors in 164 attempts during his District 10-5A first-team selection as a first baseman.
Eastern Oklahoma State University will soon be home to Juan Hernandez, who was named to the District 10-5A second team as an outfielder.
Hernandez finished the season with a .304 batting average and .867 OPS over 76 at-bats and 27 games played.
He recorded 17 hits (1 2B, 1 3B), drove in seven runs and scored 12 more. Hernandez also finished the year with 13 base-on-balls to nine strikeouts.
After a team-high 40.2 innings of work on the mound, Trevor Mott is headed to Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas. He was a District 10-5A second-team selection as a pitcher.
Mott (5-1) recorded a 1.21 ERA after he allowed just seven earned runs (12 total runs) on 29 hits and 31 walks. He also struck out 55 batters.
Though he did not sign an NLI in the spring, opposing coaches selected senior Parker Renfro as the District 10-5A first-team reliever after he recorded four saves over 38.1 innings pitched and 13 appearances.
Renfro (3-4. 2.19 ERA) allowed 12 earned runs (20 total) on 39 hits and 11 walks with 29 strikeouts.
The (16-13-1) Indians graduated 10 seniors in May but will return a wealth of seasoned ball players next year after bowing out in round one of the 5A baseball playoffs to the Joshua Owls.
"Nobody wants to go out at that time. In 2008 we played for a state championship and lost. I felt just as sad that day as I felt in here after we lost to Joshua," recalled Wood of the bi-district sweep. "I think we kind of ran into the perfect storm there.
“[...] Even when we were down 6-1, they never quit. We never quit. But nobody is happy to go out in that round. I hate it for our seniors. We will try to reload and go at it again. We are going to get us some 6A."
Wood noted that coming into this season the big question marks for the team were who was going to pitch, catch and hit — you know, the general necessities of baseball. Those same questions will face the Indians next season.
"[Brandon] Snowden was kind of our projects in the off-season, and I thought he stepped in and did a good job behind the plate," said Wood of one of the season's pleasant surprises. "So we are going to have to do some more of that, and we are going to have to find another one of those. But we are excited about the opportunity to get better every day.
"You are always going to need pitching. I don't care how good you think you are, you always need arms. We think we have a good head start with guys like PG, Campbell and Sage Hampton, but we are going to work to develop as many arms as we can."
Though he appeared in just 8.2 innings on the mound, Peyton Graham will almost certainly factor into the Indian rotation next season — heavily.
He will look to help fill a void left by Will Morgan. The now-former baseball and football standout in Waxahachie is headed to Forney High School to play his senior year under the guidance of his father, Jeremy, who accepted a job as an assistant coach on the football staff of former WHS offensive coordinator and new Jackrabbit head football coach, Aaron Woods.
Morgan, a 10-5A first-team designated hitter, recorded a team-high 34 hits (.386/.450/.534), .984 OPS, nine doubles, and two triples (tied). He also had 19 runs batted in and 13 runs scored.
However, Graham did spin a gem in game one of the bi-district championship against Joshua, tossing six innings of three-hit baseball with three runs (two earned) allowed and three strikeouts. He was unfortunately hung with the loss.
At the plate, the University of Oklahoma verbal commit and Indian shortstop led the team with three home runs to go along with a .322 average and 28 hits over 113 plate appearances en route to his 10-5A Offensive Player of the Year award.
Graham also recorded team-highs in RBIs (20), runs scored (21), and hit-by-pitches (10).
He struck out 14 times and drew 13 walks for a .977 OPS.
Graham will join 10-5A first-team outfielder Aaron Tesei (soph) and 10-5A second-team utility player Campbell Sullivan (soph) to help comprise the core of the largely experienced Indian ball club next season.
Sullivan finished the season with 21 hits in 73 at-bats (.288 BA). He slugged seven doubles, one triple and one home run with 11 RBI and 15 runs scored. He also drew 14 walks to 13 strikeouts.
Tesei recorded 13 hits (2 3B, 1 2B) and scored 13 runs while posting a .289 BA and driving in six Indians over 64 plate appearances.
"You can’t replace experience," Wood explained. "You can practice all day long. You could play every pitch of summer ball, but it is hard to replace experience. The guys we have coming back I really like, and I think we are getting a couple back who can really play. But every year you have to replace guys. It doesn’t matter how many you are getting back, you have to replace guys. And we have a bunch of guys to replace, there is no doubt about it."