Elkhart pitcher Bryson Adair

Elkhart’s Bryson Adair, shown here pitching in a playoff game at Mumford, was named District 18-3A newcomer of the year 

The Elkhart High School baseball team received two superlatives as awards were distributed in District 18-3A earlier this month.

Selections were voted on by district coaches with the caveat that a coach couldn't nominate a player from his own school.

“The fact that four of the five players who earned superlatives bodes well for the future of the district,” said Elkhart head coach John Adair, who guided his team to a second-place finish in 18-3A — one game behind champion Malakoff.

Bryson Adair, a freshman who is the son of John Adair, was named newcomer of the year while Bryson's teammate Zerick Warren, also a freshman, was named defensive most valuable player.

Adair was a force for Elkhart with a .409 batting average, 14 doubles and 19 RBI. On the mound, he compiled an 8-2 record, with a 1.79 earned-run average and 94 strikeouts.

Warren was unique in that he was a catcher batting in the leadoff spot, and he posted numbers of a .402 batting average and 17 RBI. He also caught 16 would-be base stealers — which is the ultimate reason why he won the top defensive honor.

Three Frankston, three Elkhart and two Westwood players were all first-team selections.

At Westwood, senior J.P. Hucklebridge was tabbed a first-team outfielder and teammate Nathan Cheatham, just a sophomore, was selected as one of two first-team catchers.

“These honors mean a lot,” said Westwood head coach Micah Blackmon. “They both worked really hard.”

Hucklebridge also was the team's overall MVP at the season-ending awards picnic. J.P. finished with a .439 batting average, 1.096 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and one grand slam. He also recorded a .909 fielding mark and his work ethic set an example for future Panthers.

“He allowed only five passed balls in 12 district games,” Blackmon said of Cheatham, who also had the following numbers: .370 batting average, 11 RBI and a .972 fielding percentage.

Frankston's first-team selections were Paris Junior College signee Chris Cruz as a first-team infielder, plus Garret Bean as a first-team first baseman and Boogie Krajca as a first-team pitcher.

Cruz was limited by injury; but he was still effective enough as the Indians' second baseman. He was one of the leaders in the state of Texas in RBI with 43 to go with a .437 batting average.

Bean was moved into the leadoff position in the batting order with 10 games left in the season, and Garrett didn't have a single strikeout since then. Bean was the Indians' leader in stolen bases with 25.

Krajca produced a 4-0 record in district games with a 1.96 earned-run average.

“He was the most consistent pitcher we had this year,” said Frankston head coach Greg Branch, who guided the Indians to a record of 8-4 — good enough for third in District 18-3A.

Elkhart's Trent Huff is a defensive-minded second baseman who put together a .305 batting average. Coach Adair relied on Huff for his leadership, and Trent earned first-team infielder status.

Landry Mays also was a first-team selection for Elkhart, and he seemingly played every position on the field of the Elks — and that's why he was honored in a utility role.

Mays played right field, shortstop, third base and pitcher. In district games, Landry earned a couple of wins and two saves. He swung the bat at a .376 clip.

Brady Johnson won six games for the Elks, and he formed a dynamic one-two pitching punch with Bryson Adair. Johnson recorded 68 strikeouts and had a .375 batting average.

Huff, Cruz and second-team catcher Drew Lewis of Frankston all have been selected to play in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heart of a Champion game set for 7 p.m. on June 8 at University of Texas-Tyler's Irwin Field.

Elkhart finished with an 18-14 record; swept by nemesis West in two games in the Conference 3A-Region III area round. Clifton topped Malakoff 14-4 in a one-game area round playoff.

Grandview swept Frankston in the bi-district round, with both games by a three-run differential. The Indians finished 17-8. Lexington swept Buffalo in the area round to round out 18-3A's postseason results.

Westwood finished with a 3-16 record; but, the Panthers fielded a team made up of primarily freshman and sophomores.

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