This is the seventh year for All-Metro teams selected by The Eagle, recognizing the best high school athletes in team sports throughout Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.
In May, nomination ballots were sent to all baseball coaches at the 39 high schools in Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties. Coaches were asked to return the ballots with nominations of the best players within those counties that they saw this season, including their own players. The team was selected by Joanna Chadwick after tabulating nominations, her own evaluation of players and additional input from coaches and other media members.
Junior third baseman
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Barrientos is a two-time All-Metro selection. His strong arm makes him a standout defensive player at third base, and more importantly his effectiveness at the plate is hard to match. Barrientos batted .538 and had 32 runs and 22 RBIs as he helped Carroll reach the Class 5A tournament.
Bell caught for a group of Maize pitchers with high velocity and great command. He only had five passed balls and teams managed six stolen bases against Bell. Bell, who helped lead Maize (25-0) to the 6A title, was the Eagles' power hitter, leading the team with six home runs and 54 RBIs. Bell batted cleanup in a stacked Maize lineup, batting .481.
Word of Life
Birdwell led the state with 50 stolen bases. Word of Life played 35 games, but even if the team were limited to the Kansas State High School Activities Association-mandated number of games, Birdwell's 1.4 steal average would have still had him among the state's leaders. Birdwell also led the team with a .555 batting average and had 51 runs.
Burba, who hit .536, was key in helping lead Campus to its first appearance in the Class 6A tournament. The Colts' three-hole hitter had 34 runs and tied a single-season school record with six triples. Burba had 26 RBIs and three home runs.
This two-time All-Metro selection was 7-0 for Maize on the mound. His high 80s fastball and off-speed pitch kept opponents off balance all season. Byers, who helped lead Maize to an unbeaten season and the 6A title, had a 1.57 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. Byers also batted .536 and had four homers.
Eaves stood out on a Northwest team that was known more for pitching and defense this season than its offensive prowess. Eaves was a consistent and timely hitter whose .500 batting average at the top of the lineup was crucial to the Grizzlies' small-ball tactics that got them to the Class 6A tournament.
Kapaun Mount Carmel
Hagan played wherever coach Steve Lienhard needed, but one thing that didn't waver was his proficiency at the plate. He batted .477 for the Crusaders, who advanced to the Class 5A tournament. He led the team with 34 runs and had 22 stolen bases.
Knight, a two-time All-Metro selection, could do anything. The Kansas Gatorade Player of the year, he hit .529 with 33 runs, 32 RBIs and three home runs. He also had 11 stolen bases in 12 attempts. Knight's contributions didn't stop at the plate. He also had five wins as a pitcher as he helped lead Maize to a 25-0 record and the 6A title.
Junior second baseman
McBroom made the most of his speed on the basepaths. He had seven triples and six doubles for the Eagles, who finished 25-0 and won the 6A championship. He was second on the team with 41 runs and was third on the team with 30 RBIs. McBroom batted .450.
Mercer's two losses were to Carroll and Leavenworth — both teams advanced to the state tournament. He was 5-2 as a starter and had three saves in a relief role. He had a team-low 2.47 ERA and 42 strikeouts ins 45 2/3 innings.
Senior first baseman
Plaxton was the slugger for a resurgent East squad that he helped lead to 15 wins. Plaxton led East in several categories, including RBIs (32), home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.803). He was also efficient at the plate, batting .459.
White, a two-time All-Metro selection, was the catalyst for Goddard's offense. As a leadoff hitter, he batted .384 and led the team with 27 runs. He had 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts, consistently putting himself in scoring position. White added three triples and four doubles as he helped lead Goddard to a 16-6 record.
Williams, a Kansas State signee, stymied batters all season. He had 80 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings and had a 1.21 ERA. Williams gave up eight earned runs on the season and earned seven of Valley Center's 11 wins.
When the discussion arises about the greatest Kansas baseball team, this Helm-coached team has to be in the discussion. Maize dominated opponents en route to a 25-0 record and the Class 6A title. In Helm's 13 seasons, he his 254-55 and has won three titles, played in six title games and made 11 state appearances.