The Scotland County baseball team went out on top in the final season of the Tri-Rivers Conference, taking the league title and dominating the post season awards.
The Tigers defended their conference crown, posting a 5-0 league mark to remain champions and in doing so earned a number of the league’s top honors.
First-year head coach Mikel Gragg was named the TRC Coach of the Year after leading SCR-I to the conference crown.
SCR-I’s Aaron Buford was named the Tri-Rivers Conference Most Valuable Player. Buford earned the nod as MVP with a combination of his work on the mound as well as at the plate. The junior battled some arm problems early in the year which limited him to just 30 innings of work. But he made the most of them, posting a 4-2 mark with a 2.28 ERA. Buford allowed just 18 hits and 12 walks while striking out 57 batters.
He also posted the third best batting average on the squad at .441, producing 26 hits in 59 at bats. More than half of those went for extra bases, as he led the team with 12 doubles and also added three triples and pair of home runs to generate a .847 slugging percentage. He was second on the squad with 18 walks helping him generate a .582 on base percentage. He was a dual threat, scoring 37 runs while also driving in 22.
Joining Buford on the TRC first team were teammates Will Fromm, Gage Dodge and Grant Campbell. The quartet also earned first team all-district honors.
Fromm led the Tigers with a .543 batting average that allowed him to drive in a team-best 46 runs. The freshman also tied for the team lead with three home runs. Fromm also went 5-0 on the mound, posting a 3.65 ERA in 23 innings of work.
Dodge was the league’s best leadoff batter getting on base two out of every three times he went to the plate His .662 OBP was tops on the team as were his 41 runs scored. The sophomore was second on the squad with a .527 batting average and also walked a team-high 21 times.
Campbell batted cleanup for SCR-I and contributed a .382 batting average with three home runs and 22 RBI. He was 3-2 as a pitcher with a team best 1.771 ERA, striking out 28 in 27 innings of work.
Also named to the TRC first team were Wyatt Homer (sophomore) of Schuyler County; Kyle Petrie (junior) of Milan; Carson Quint (sophomore) and Calvin Heidenwith (junior) of Putnam County; Shane Clary (senior) of Knox County; and Chas Shockley (sophomore) of North Shelby.
Scotland County’s Lane Pence and Will Pickerell earned second team all conference honors. Pence also earned honorable mention all-district honors.
Pence batted .333 and added 22 RBIs while handling to catching duties. Pickerell hit .370 with 23 runs scored as the team’s first baseman.
Also named to the second team were: Jaidyn Watts (junior), and Cooper Sanders (junior) of Milan; Hays Klocke (junior) and Kyle Strange (junior) of Knox County; Nathaniel Wheeler (senior) and Keaton Nelson (junior) of Schuyler County; and Joel Sporleder (sophomore) and Dylan Heidenwith (senior) of Putnam County).
SCR-I won the league with a 5-0 mark followed by Milan (3-1), Schuyler County (2-2), Putnam County (2-3), Knox County (1-4) and North Shelby (0-5).