For one of the smallest Central Texas baseball programs, it turned out to be a huge, history-making year.
Abbott claimed its first baseball state championship in school history in June, and now the Panthers have been honored with the top two superlatives on the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 1A All-State Baseball Team.
Abbott coach Kyle Crawford was voted as the Coach of the Year for Class 1A, while senior pitcher Brent Mynar was chosen as the Player of the Year.
Crawford, an Abbott alum, oversaw a Panther team that dubbed itself “the Pack,” referring to the brotherhood mentality it tried to exhibit on and off the field. It worked out, too. In the UIL’s first year conducting a separate Class 1A state tournament (1A teams had competed with 2A squads in years past), Abbott made the school’s first state tournament appearance in 32 years and defeated Fayetteville in the state final for the program’s first title.
“This group in particular was extremely special with the whole ‘Pack’ thing we’ve had going,” Crawford told the Trib in June. “This group embodied that to a tee.”
Mynar, meanwhile, stood out on the mound, accumulating a 6-1 record with a 1.36 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 56.2 innings for the Panthers. He particularly made his presence known in the playoffs, going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA while racking up a .457 average at the plate.
Abbott pitcher Hunter Pope, who threw a no-hitter in the state semifinals, catcher Matthew Urbanovsky and outfielder Weston Cantrell joined Mynar on the 1A all-state first team.
Central Texas picked up a pair of first-team selections on the 4A all-state team. Pitcher Dru Dziedzic of Robinson, who recorded a 12-0 record and a 1.32 ERA for the state finalist Rockets, and China Spring third baseman Brett Cain (.464, 26 RBIs), both were honored.
Robinson junior Braxton Ashcraft, the Super Centex Player of the Year, earned second-team all-state honors as a third baseman and was an honorable mention pick as a pitcher. Ashcraft pitched in the Under Armour All-American game last month.
Robinson designated hitter Peyton Powell won third-team recognition, while China Spring’s Hobbs Price and Levi Bass and Robinson’s Mason Cooper were honorable mention choices on the 4A squad.
In Class 3A, Groesbeck’s Chandler Boyd made second-team all-state as a shortstop in addition to being named honorable mention as a pitcher. Other Centex honorable mention picks in 3A included Groesbeck’s Mitchell Waller and Mark Smith, Clifton’s Edgar Rodriguez and Troy’s Tyler Sultemeier.
Midway saw a pair of players garner honorable mention status in Class 6A – pitcher Andrew Brown and outfielder Matthew Miles, the latter of whom is an Oklahoma State signee.
In Class 2A, Riesel shortstop Brooks Embry (.623, 46 RBIs) claimed second-team all-state honors. Mart pitcher Colby Headen was a third-team choice, while Dawson’s Luke Dotson, Crawford’s Koby Smith and Valley Mills’ Chase Keeton all made the honorable mention list.