By Christopher Tenpenny
After an exciting 16-4 season for the Archie baseball team, several individual awards were announced.
Dylan Sutton, Gavin Clark and Tucker Wolfe all earned First-Team All-Western Missouri Conference (WEMO) honors for their efforts on the field.
The three seniors helped lead the way for the Whirlwinds and put up eyepopping stats throughout the season. Wolfe hit third for most of the season and hit .333 with a .472 on-base-percentage (OBP) while driving in 19 runs and stealing 16 bases. Wolfe was also one of the top pitchers on the team with a 5-2 record, 1.56 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
Sutton was the leadoff hitter for the Whirlwinds and set the tone with a .414 average and a .547 OPB. He scored 32 runs and stole 21 bases. Like Wolfe, Sutton also had success on the mound. Sutton went 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 45 strikeouts.
Clark was the cleanup man for the Whirlwinds and a hitter opposing teams feared. Clark hit .488 with an OBP of .690. Clark had good plate discipline as he worked 16 walks and was also plunked 12 times.
With all three players graduating, head coach Brian Tenholder said he is going to miss their contributions on the field next season.
“They’ve been our leaders for us all season,” Tenholder said. “They all see the ball well and do a good job of putting the ball in play. It’s going to be hard to replace the skills they have.”
Senior J.W. Dalton and sophomore Grady Debrick made Second-Team All-Conference. Dalton hit second and played a strong defensive shortstop for the Whirlwinds. He hit .370 with a .553 OBP. He was second on the team in walks with 17 and first in runs with 33. He joins the group of seniors who were very productive for the Archie baseball team.
Debrick started the season slow at the plate, but was able to pick up the pace during the second half of the season. He hit .383 with a .538 OBP and stole 16 bases as a catcher. Debrick played catcher and earned praise from his coaches on his ability to block balls in the dirt.
“He was a brick wall back there. Nothing got past him,” Tenholder said. “His only catching experience was from eighth grade so footwork and technique were the only things we had to work with. You could see the improvement as the season went on and he’s extremely coachable.”
All five players also earned first-team all-district honors. Sophomores Donovan Huser and Ashton Cowan earned Second-Team All-Conference. Huser played in the outfield and was the go-to pinch runner when he was not in the lineup. Huser hit .365 and scored 25 runs.
Cowan can play anywhere on the infield but was primarily found at third. He had an OBP of .478 and drove in 26 runs. He also led the team in walks with 18. Cowan also pitched in relief throughout the season. After a rough first outing, he pitched five consecutive scoreless outings, including a stretch where he struck out six of eight batters.
Along with Debrick, Tenholder said he was excited to see how these players progress heading into next season.
“These guys are going to be our leaders next season,” Tenholder said. “They see the ball well. Donny is out there hustling for every ball. Ashton has a lot of range and play anywhere. We have a few other younger guys who played well.”
While Archie’s 1-4 hitters were all seniors this season, 5-9 were freshman and sophomores and are expected to return next season.