Looking back at the baseball seasons of the three high schools in Jackson Parish the best way to describe it is that it was comprised of what dreams are made of. For Quitman the dream of playing in the Class B state tournament was realized, while at Weston they got to play on the Field of Dreams. Even at Jonesboro-Hodge, despite their losing record, there were a couple of players who saw their dreams come true as well. Staying with the theme, the Jackson Parish Journal is pleased to announce the first ever Jackson Parish “Dream Team.”
Most Valuable Player: Caleb Waters (Weston High) The Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) signee was the only player in the parish to be a member of the 40/40 club after scoring 40 runs and knocking in 40 more, while registering a .456 batting average The co-MVP of district 2B also led Jackson Parish with 8 home runs and had the best single game performance of three home runs and 8 RBI’s against Class 4A Bastrop. On the mound Waters compiled a 4-2 record, that includes a pair of 6 inning, one hit performances and five shutouts leading to a stellar 2.10 earned run average.
Pitcher of the Year: Ty Simonelli (Quitman High) Other than in the Class B state semifinal loss against Converse, the bigger the game the better the BPCC signee pitched. His 5-3 overall record included wins against Class 3A Grant High, Class 4A Minden and the very impressive shoutout of Class B state champion Choudrant in district 2B play. Added is the regional round victory against Singer where he outdueled Louisiana – Lafayette signee, Zach Hess, who was touted as one of the best pitchers in the state and the game saving clutch relief performance against Pitkin in the quarterfinals. Simonelli was also a beast at the plate where he ended with a .403 batting average and led Jackson Parish with 7 triples and 23 base on balls, while scoring a team high 37 runs.
Coach of the Year: Joe Lockhart (Quitman High) By being the only coach in the parish to lead his team to the state tournament, being named JPJ Dream Team Coach of the Year was pretty much a no brainer. Most likely, since Tony Antley led Choudrant to back-to-back state titles and then retired after, he will be named Coach of the Year in Class B. In all reality what Lockhart did was more impressive. The elder statesman of Jackson Parish coaches led Quitman to the regular season, top ranking in Class B by scheduling 16 of the first 17 games played against ranked opponents from higher classifications to toughen his young team up. Then in the playoffs, Lockhart showed his game management capability by making several critical decisions that was the difference in a pair of tight games in the regional and quarterfinal rounds.
Additional Dream Teamers:
Logan Smith (JHHS): For most of the year Smith not only led Jackson Parish in batting average but the entire state as well, finishing the year with a stellar .581 average. Smith led the Tigers in virtually every offensive category despite opponents trying their best to pitch around him.
Davis Tolar (Weston High): The Central Baptist College signee led Jackson Parish with 18 hits for extra bases that included a leading nine doubles. The 30/30 club member with 39 RBI and 30 runs scored also had the third highest batting average in the parish, ending the year with an even .500 average at the plate.
Blake Carter (Quitman High) Was second on the team with a .384 batting average and a 20/20 club member with 20 RBI and 21 runs scored. Also had a 2-2 record on the mound where he registered two complete game, seven inning outings against Class 3A North Webster and Weston, while compiling a 1.81 ERA, good for second best in the parish.
Ajay Tew (JHHS) The slick fielding shortstop got it done on the field and at the plate for the Tigers. At .484, Tew had the third highest batting average in the parish and led the parish with only one error made among all infielders who had over 20 total chances.
Cooper Delaney (Weston High) The author of a parish best 4 no-hitters, started nine games for the Wolves to end the season with a parish best six wins against three losses. In a team leading 44 innings, Delaney struck out 52 batters. Offensively the underclassman hit .306 on the year and was yet another member of the 20/20 club with 26 RBI and 20 runs scored.
Luke Morgan (Quitman High) The areas leader in stolen bases with 27, Morgan was the ultimate lead off batter reaching base a parish best 59 times with fifteen of those after being hit by pitches, also a parish best. When swinging the bat, the Louisiana Christian signee hit .337 and scored 36 runs. Morgan also led the parish by not making a single error in 200 chances and compiling 35 assists from his catchers position.
Marcus Thompson (JHHS) The speedy East Texas Baptist signee led the Tigers in doubles, runs scored and stolen bases while hitting .316 on the year. Blessed with a rocket right arm, Thompson also threw out a parish best 8 baserunners from the outfield.
Kaden Shirley (Weston High) The crafty lefty ended the season with a 5-4 overall record that included a brilliant one hit performance in the regional round victory over Holden in the Class B playoffs. Shirley also batted .364 on the year.
Logan Ponder (Quitman High) Hitting .357 on the year the all district 2B performer also accounted for 33 runs scored and 21 RBI and a team tying 6 doubles. In 106 chances at shortstop Ponder made only six errors for a stellar .943 fielding percentage
Braden Theriot (Weston High) Finishing with a team tying seven doubles, Theriot had the third highest batting average on the team at .375 while also scoring 31 runs and leading the team with 21 walks and tying for the team lead with 14 steals.
Ian Tilley (Quitman High) With a parish leading 54.2 innings thrown, Tilley ended the year with a 5-3 record and parish best 1.73 ERA. Included was a no-hitter against Class 2A Pickering. After a slow start to the season, Tilley collected hits in nine of the last ten games batting .406 in district 2B contests and in the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Riley Duck (Quitman), Kyler West (Quitman) Drew Browning (Weston), Bryce Zehr (Weston)
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