Varsity Baseball

See who is at bat on the Eagle's 2018 All-Metro Baseball Team

All Metro Baseball team from left (front row): A.J. Peters, 2nd base, Carroll; Caleb Hitt, outfield, Andale/Garden Plain;  Jackson Hartley, utility, Campus; Cooper Elliot, shortstop, Andover Central;  (back row) Rocky Helm, Maize, Coach of the Year; Micah Grover, 3rd base, Cheney;  Brady Bockover, pitcher, Carroll; Brody Hanna, 2nd base, Maize South;  Corbin Lill, utility, Clearwater; Jordan Ellison, utility, Heights .
All Metro Baseball team from left (front row): A.J. Peters, 2nd base, Carroll; Caleb Hitt, outfield, Andale/Garden Plain; Jackson Hartley, utility, Campus; Cooper Elliot, shortstop, Andover Central; (back row) Rocky Helm, Maize, Coach of the Year; Micah Grover, 3rd base, Cheney; Brady Bockover, pitcher, Carroll; Brody Hanna, 2nd base, Maize South; Corbin Lill, utility, Clearwater; Jordan Ellison, utility, Heights .

Rounding out the tally of postseason high school honors, here is the Wichita Eagle and Varsity Kansas' 2018 All-Metro Baseball Team.

Players were selected from Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties based on coaches' nominations and our staff's individual observations.

Grant Adler - Derby, Pitcher, Sophomore

Adler might be the Panthers' starting quarterback in the fall, but this spring, he showed he could shine on the mound.

Adler finished his sophomore season with a 2.24 ERA, 33 strikeouts and a 7-0 record. He was a dropped fly ball away from 8-0.

He threw a no-hitter in the Panthers' regional final against Wichita West and doubled down with a three-hitter against Olathe Northwest in the Class 6A quarterfinals. He was selected to the AVCTL I first team and All-State second team.

Derby finished the season 17-7 and third in 6A. The Panthers will lose a lot of talent next season, but Adler and fellow All-Metro selection Jackson Syring return.

Adler said he is excited about the 2019 season.

"We lost a lot of seniors this year, and we are going to have to have underclassmen step up," he said. "But I think we are going to be pretty solid next year."

Reese Bayliff - Trinity Academy, Outfielder, Senior

There was perhaps no better leader in the Wichita area this season.

Bayliff led Trinity Academy to its first state tournament appearance since 2014, the first of his career. He took command of the Knights, setting the example of how to get to where they wanted to be.

Bayliff hit for a .439 average with a 1.195 OPS. He struck out four times in 81 plate appearances with 31 hits, 13 of which went for extra bases.

He drove in 20 runs and scored 25 of his own. He was picked to the Central Plains League first team and Class 4A-Division II first team.

"A lot of what we worked with was quiet leadership, rather than vocal," Bayliff said. "Leading by example rather than yelling and screaming, and I think our guys picked up on that."

Bayliff's leadership was on display in the Knights regional tournament. He suffered an injury in the first inning after a collision in the outfield but fought back and catalyzed the offense in the bottom half and the rest of the tournament as they beat Clearwater and Collegiate.

Bayliff is committed to play at Allen Community College.

Brady Bockover - Carroll, Pitcher, Junior

One of Carroll's most diverse athletes turned heads on the mound this spring.

Bockover helped lead the Golden Eagles to a Class 5A state championship appearance after a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against Mill Valley in the quarterfinals. But he was that solid all season.

"It's fun," Bockover said. "You just have fun with your brothers and hit, pitch, and sometimes you just fall short."

He started the year as the Carroll closer, still finding his form after a grueling wrestling season in which he made it to the 197-pound final. After a few weeks, he was promoted to the Eagles' ace starter.

Bockover went 5-1 in 35 1/3 innings. He had 41 strikeouts, nine walks and a 0.59 ERA. His presence on the mound had a calming effect on the Carroll defense and lineup.

Bockover was selected to the City League first team and Class 5A second team.

Cooper Elliot - Andover Central, Shortstop, Senior

A centerpiece for the Jaguars over the past few seasons, Elliot is ready to take the next step.

Committed to play at Wichita State, Elliot put together another high-caliber season in 2018. To start, he was named the AVCTL II Player of the Year and selected to the Class 4A-Division I first team.

He hit for a .508 average with 30 hits in 59 at-bats. He had an OPS of 1.397 with 16 RBIs and 24 runs scored. He walked 26 times and struck out three. He was flawless in his steal attempts, 13-for-13, and was a star defensively with 48 assists and 46 put-outs.

He will be a Shocker for a reason, but that reason is not his WSU alum father, Elliot said. He said the most exciting part of getting to WSU is having the chance to create his own legacy.

"My dad played at Wichita State, and people think that I'm going there because of him," Elliot said. "They think I'm going there because he is friends with everybody. But it's not. ... I am the player than I am, and I'm going there because of that."

Jordan Ellison - Heights, Utility, Junior

Get to know the name Ellison.

The Heights' ace pitcher and slugger came out of nowhere in 2018. He was not even on the Class 5A All-State honorable mention in 2017 but earned Player of the Year honors this season.

Ellison was outstanding for the Falcons. First, on the mound. Ellison posted a 0.652 ERA with five earned runs over 53.2 innings. He gave up 34 hits with 72 strikeouts. He finished with a 10-0 record, and the only game in which he didn't get the win, he threw a no-hitter through seven innings (he was pulled when the game went to extras).

At bat, Ellison matched that production. He hit with a .444 average with 20 extra-base hits, including five home runs. He drove in and scored 27 runs and struck out five times in 84 plate appearances.

"It's been fun," he said. "I'm just playing the game I love, and I get to do it with my friends, and I just happened to have a good year."

Micah Grover - Cheney, Third Base, Senior

Grover was Cheney's do-it-all athlete in 2018.

He served as the Cardinals' quarterback in the fall, small forward in the winter and did everything on the diamond this spring.

Cheney's football, basketball and baseball teams went a combined 53-9 this school year.

"It's awesome playing a bunch of sports," Grover said. "You never have down time. You're always doing something and having fun, and at Cheney, you're playing with a lot of the same guys, so your team chemistry is always at an all-time high."

Baseball was perhaps where Grover shined most. He hit for a .514 average with 37 hits, 42 RBIs, 13 extra-base hits, four home runs and three strikeouts.

Grover will likely pursue his options in baseball.

Brody Hanna - Maize South, Second Base, Senior

Hanna was crisp for the Mavericks in 2018.

Coach Chad Christensen said there was no better pure second baseman in the Wichita area, and he might have a case.

Hanna hit for a .443 average with 31 hits, including eight for extra bases. He stole 11 bases, struck out four times in 70 at-bats and earned almost every honor he could this postseason, including his All-Metro inclusion. He was an AVCTL II first-team selection and Class 5A first-team selection.

Maize South played a brutal schedule, facing six teams that made it to state tournaments and two of the best teams in Oklahoma. Still, Hanna shined.

He is committed to Pratt Community College.

"I've grown up with (my teammates) most of my life," Hanna said. "Not being able to play with them anymore is kinda hard, but it's gonna be fun."

Jackson Hartley - Campus, Utility, Sophomore

On a surprisingly loaded Campus roster, Hartley might have been its most complete player.

Only a sophomore, Hartley hit for a .423 average and pitched a 1.50 ERA to help lead the Colts to a third-place finish in the Class 6A tournament. This came a year after Campus won just six games.

Hartley said there was a change in mindset.

"We finally had had enough," he said. "We didn't want to lose anymore, and we wanted to turn things around. Changing practice, changing the approach, how we went about things, our pregame routines and just the little things led up to the success."

Hartley will headline one of the most talented teams in Kansas next year, with the majority of the Colts' production returning.

Caleb Hitt - Andale/Garden Plain, Outfield, Junior

He lived up to his name.

Hitt raked in a .510 batting average and slugged at .754. He had 29 hits, including 10 for extra bases. He was an AVCTL IV and Class 4A-Division I first team selection.

"It was a lot of teamwork," Hitt said. "We all just kind of meshed together really well. A lot of us are good friends, so that just kind of worked out."

He was a rock for the Indians this season.

Andale/Garden Plain failed to qualify for the state tournament after a brutal regional tournament that included four teams at 13-7 or better. But Hitt still has another year as an Indian.

He said the most motivating thing heading into this season is trying to get college scholarships.

Corbin Lill - Clearwater, Utility, Senior

Tucked away 30 minutes south of Wichita, Lill was perhaps the hidden gem of the area.

Lill often was his own best friend, hitting for a .390 batting average with a 1.41 ERA in 34.2 innings.

He had 11 extra-base hits, including four home runs. He drove in 17 runs and stole nine bases.

He also struck out 31 batters and had only six walks with a 3-1 record and two saves.

Lill was named the AVCTL IV Player of the Year and earned first-team honors as a pitcher and shortstop. The Indians failed to reach the Class 4A-Division II tournament, but Lill said this year was still exciting for him.

"There was a lot of energy compared to years past," Lill said. "A lot of young guys brought a lot of life to the team that was missing the past couple of years."

He is committed to Cowley Community College.

Mateo Martinez - Campus, Catcher, Junior

Another multi-sport athlete on the Eagle's All-Metro team, Martinez brought a sense of consistency to the Colts' lineup.

Martinez hit with a .429 average and gave Campus much-needed experience this season. The Colts started a crop of underclassmen this season; Martinez served as the counterweight for the team that went from six wins to a third-place finish in Class 6A.

"I was scared at the beginning of the year, the first two games against Eisenhower, and then (coach Bryan) Clasen always said, 'One day we're gonna get over that hump,' " Martinez said. "We finally got over it."

Campus will return most of its roster from this season, including Martinez and fellow All-Metro selection Jackson Hartley. With a solid core of aging talent, Martinez said he is looking forward to the possibilities of 2019.

"We have seven juniors coming back as seniors and three or four sophomores becoming juniors," he said. "We're just gonna be stacked, I think. We're gonna make another appearance at state."

He earned AVCTL I first-team honors and also was named to the Class 6A first team as a designated hitter.

Martinez is verbally committed to Wichita State.

A.J. Peters - Carroll, Second Base, Senior

Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said the game just came naturally for Peters this season, and that showed.

"It was kind of the mental side of it," Peters said. "I knew it was my last year of baseball, so I gave it my all."

Peters was named to the City League first team as a second baseman and the Class 5A first team as a designated hitter. He hit for a .467 average with 26 RBIs, 27 runs scored, nine extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases.

Peters also was crisp defensively for the Golden Eagles. He helped lead Carroll to the Class 5A state championship game against Topeka Seaman committing just one error all season.

Peters is off to Kansas State, where he will major in mechanical engineering.

Jackson Syring - Derby, Outfielder, Junior

Syring jumped onto the scene in 2018 and helped Derby to a third-place finish in Class 6A.

He and fellow All-Metro selection Grant Adler were key to the Panthers' success: Adler on the mound, Syring at the plate.

Syring hit for a .456 average this season with 31 hits, including 10 for extra bases. He didn't go hitless in any game this season. He also scored 25 runs and drove in 17 others.

He was a nightmare on the basepaths, too. Syring took 35 bases on 37 attempts, often setting up teammates to drive him home. Syring laid down a masterful squeeze bunt to push across the only run of the Panthers' regional final against Wichita West.

Defensively, coach Todd Olmstead called him "hands down" the best outfielder in the Wichita area. He, Adler and others will be back in 2019.

"We had a lot of ups and down, but we really came together about halfways through the season," Syring said. "The bats started to click. The pitchers started to throw strikes, and we really finished strong."

Syring was named to the AVCTL I and Class 6A first teams.

Rocky Helm - Maize, Coach of the Year

Maize lost 97 percent of its offense from last season and still made it to the Class 5A state tournament.

Two All-Metro selections from 2017, John Short and Jacob Taylor, weren't there to bail the Eagles out, but Helm found others who could.

In the regional final, it was freshman Brock McCollough. In the state quarterfinal, it was Carson Shively. And for much of the season, it was pitcher Adrian Perez.

"As a team, we overachieved," Helm said. "They believed in what we asked them to do. It took a little while, but every game, we improved and improved."

Helm made due with the hand he was dealt and got the most out of his players. Although the Eagles lost in the Class 5A quarterfinals to Heights, the game was a classic, ending 1-0 after 12 innings.

The bad news: Maize did not repeat as 5A state champion. The good news: The Eagles return almost their entire roster in 2019.