Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

May 15, 2014

GC Baseball: Wolver named 16-4A Offensive Player of the Year, 8 Tigers earn All-District honors

Corsicana — In a season defined by hustle and heart and a scrappy brand of small ball that played out bigger than life, it only makes sense that Corsicana's Layton Wolver, a kid who embodies all that and more, would end up winning the Offensive Player of the Year award in District 16-4A.

Let's face it, everyone in 16-4A was scared to death of Wolver, who ran all over the league and scored runs like a video game.

Wolver exudes Corsicana's scrappy play that took the Tigers to the Class 4A area round of the playoffs, but he wasn't alone when the 16-4A All-District baseball team was announced this week. Catcher Joe Vasquez was named the 16-4A Newcomer of the Year and five Tigers — Brady Harlan, Trevor Nolen, Bobby Lopez, D.J. Minniear and Rhett Holcomb — landed on the first-team.

Preston Hill, who battled through injuries on the mound, was a second-team pitcher as the Tigers dominated the team with eight starters earning postseason honors.

Wolver had an amazing season and was the spark and catalyst for the Tigers, who went 21-10 with one of the youngest teams in Texas. He not only was a vacuum at shortstop, where he seemed to get to everything, but he was the quintessential leadoff man.

Wolver batted .429 for the season and had a .517 OBP. He stole 32 of 33 bases and scored 43 runs. Don't let Wolver's size fool you. He hit two homers and came within a few feet of hitting a grand slam in the playoffs when his shot to left drifted just foul. He drove in 14 runs from his leadoff spot and just seemed to be in the middle of everything that was happening with the Tigers, who surprised the district and made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to No. 2-ranked Hallsville.

He is only a sophomore.

Nolen, another sophomore, was named to the first-team as a pitcher, but he also had a big year at the plate, where he hit .407 with a .581 OBP. He drove in 16 runs and scored 15.

He was Corsicana's ace on the mound, and usually faced the opponents' No. 1 pitcher. He finished the season with a 9-4 record with one save and a 2.55 ERA.

Harlan, a  junior, made the first-team as an outfielder, but his clutch pitching in the playoffs, especially against Mansfield Summit, when he won the opening playoff game with three brilliant innings of relief after throwing only three innings all year tells you what you need to know about him — he's a baseball player through and through.

Harlan finished the season hitting .400 on the nose. He scored 29 runs and drove in 18, and stole 24 bases while running down everything in center field and then right field for Corsicana.

Lopez, a junior, had a big year at first base and was an easy choice to make the first-team. He batted .286 with two homers, including a monster shot at Lindale, and drove in 25 runs while scoring 19.

Minniear was a gold-glove type third baseman, and also pitched. He made the first-team at third after batting .308 and driving in 20 runs and scoring 15.

Holcomb was a clutch player in the outfield and he was a tough out who always seemed to have a quality at-bat, making pitchers work deep in the count. That was a trademark of this year's young Tiger team, and Holcomb was the epitome of a player who knows how to play the game right.

Freshman Corbin Hall, junior Carlos Vega and seniors Donovan Fields and Chance Schlenk earned honorable mention honors.

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