CVD, Oxford take lion’s share of All-WJL spots

ABOVE: Oxford High School senior Grant Smith was named first-team All-State at third base in Class 2-1A, and also was an all-league first-team pitcher in voting by Walter Johnson League coaches in 2017.

It stands to reason the Oxford Wildcats and Cedar Vale/Dexter Spartans, who battled it out for the Walter Johnson League title, would take the lion’s share of all-league honors in voting by WJL baseball coaches.

The Wildcats (six) and Spartans (four), who shared the league title with 13-1 records, combined for 10 first-team awards. Central of Burden placed two on the first team.

The Wildcats, who finished with a 20-2 record, also placed seven on the 2-1A All-State team despite falling 8-1 to eventual 2-1A State champion Leon-Bluestem in the first round of the KSHSAA Class 2-1A State Tournament.

Seniors Grant Smith and Blake Thurmond, and junior Cal Shimkus all were named to the All-State first team. Smith and Thurmond were selected to compete in the KABC All-Star Game.

Senior Dylan Reuter and juniors Dalton Silhan and Dakota Mitchell all were named to the All-State second team. Senior Chevis Cowdin earned All-State honorable mention.

Smith and Silhan were named to the all-league first team as pitchers. Mitchell, Reuter, Shimkus and Thurmond were first-team position players.

Smith compiled a 4-1 record with a 1.26 earned-run average for the Wildcats, who posted so many run-rule victories that the pitching staff didn’t accumulate a large number of innings. Smith allowed just five singles and 10 walks in 16 2/3 innings while striking out 32.

Smith, who was named All-State as a third baseman, also led the team with a .613 batting average (38 for 62), including 10 doubles, three triples and a home run. He tied for the team lead with 38 runs and led the squad with 40 RBI. He struck out just four times and was successful on all 14 base-stealing attempts.

Silhan compiled a 5-0 record with a 1.77 ERA. He allowed 19 hits — all singles — and 10 walks, with a team-high 39 strikeouts.

Silhan batted .404 (23 for 57) and scored 33 runs while driving in 21. He led the team with 24 stolen bases without being caught.

An outfielder, Mitchell batted .414 (24 for 58) with eight doubles and a triple. He scored 35 runs and drove in 17, and was successful on all 21 base-stealing attempts. He also led the Wildcats with 19 walks.

Reuter, an All-State pitcher, went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA. He allowed just eight hits — all singles — and eight walks in 16 innings, with 22 strikeouts.

Reuter batted .433 (26 for 60) with five doubles. His 38 runs tied for first on the team and he drove in 20. He was 11 for 12 in stolen-base attempts.

Shimkus, an All-State outfielder, hit .516 (32 for 62) with five doubles, 27 runs and 39 RBI. He struck out just three times in 68 plate appearances and was successful on all 18 tries stealing.

Thurmond, an All-State designated hitter, was second on the team with a .587 average (37 for 63), with eight doubles, a team-high five triples and one home run. He scored 32 runs and tied for second with 39 RBI, and was 6 for 6 in theft attempts.

Cowdin, an All-State first baseman, earned honorable mention all-league. He hit .457 (21 for 46) with three doubles, 18 runs and 16 RBI.

Sweaney led the Spartans with a .333 average (22 for 66) and scored 31 runs while driving in 10. He batted .360 (18 for 50) in league games.

Berkley hit .298 (17 for 57) with 22 runs and 18 RBI and struck out just eight times in 63 plate appearances.

Killman led Cedar Vale/Dexter with a 7-2 record and 1.26 ERA. He struck out 66 and walked 15 in 39 innings. He compiled a 6-0 league record and a 0.23 ERA in league play, striking out 52 and walking 10.

Killman also batted .396 (21 for 53) with 32 runs and 20 RBI.

Rhodd went 5-0 on the mound, with a 1.14 ERA. He struck out 68 and walked just seven in 37 innings. He was 4-0 in league action, with a 0.98 ERA, fanning 56 batters and offering just four walks in 28 2/3 innings of WJL action.

Rhodd also batted .688 (33 for 48) with nine doubles, one triple and one home run. He scored 25 runs and drove in 26.

Cedar Vale/Dexter senior Noah Rhodd and junior Javen Killman earned all-league first-team status as pitchers. Senior Jacob Berkley and junior Tracey Sweaney were first-team position players.

Central senior Cody Pippitt was voted to the first team in the field.

Other honorable mentions included Udall freshman catcher Kyler Roberts and sophomore Josh Fielder; Cedar Vale/Dexter senior Thomas Parsons; Central of Burden senior Pake Stephens and Oxford senior Cameron Clements.

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