Car­di­nals lineup lit­tered with All-state snubs

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS -

The Har­mony Grove Car­di­nals base­ball team made his­tory in 2019, win­ning the first 3A State Cham­pi­onship in pro­gram his­tory.

This came af­ter fin­ish­ing with a los­ing record in con­fer­ence play.

How­ever, de­spite the ac­com­plish­ments of the post­sea­son, the Car­di­nals did not have one player earn All-state hon­ors. Ac­tu­ally, the Car­di­nals did not have one player nom­i­nated for the honor.

The 5-3A is al­lowed four ath­letes to be rec­og­nized each year.

A com­mit­tee of 3A coaches se­lect the play­ers then vote for who earns the nods.

Har­mony Grove’s 2019 lineup is lit­tered with All­state snubs, in­clud­ing pos­si­bly two — or three — of the best play­ers in the en­tire 3A.

Those earn­ing the se­lec­tions this year were Cen­tral Arkansas Chris­tian ace Levi Smith, Arkansas Bap­tist Prep’s Nick Jones and Riley Loyd, and Mayflower’s Jor­dan Robinson.

I am not tak­ing any­thing away from these young ath­letes as they all four had mar­velous sea­sons.

How­ever, the Car­di­nals pos­sessed ar­guably the best pitcher in 3A in James Mccormick.

Even­tu­ally named the 3A State Tour­na­ment’s MVP, Mccormick fin­ished the sea­son with a sub-1 earned run av­er­age at 0.96, al­low­ing a to­tal of nine earned runs on the year.

He would strike out 86 hit­ters in 65.2 in­nings of work, walk­ing 24.

Smith fin­ished leaps and bounds be­hind Mccormick,

in­clud­ing get­ting knocked around against the Car­di­nals in the fi­nals.

He ended his cam­paign with a 2.85 earned runs av­er­age, an 8-2 record with 22 earned runs given up and 71 strike­outs.

Loyd, too, was not even close to Mccormick from the hill, tal­ly­ing a 2.22 ERA, but did fin­ish with a per­fect 8-0 show­ing, along with 71 strike­outs and 30 walks. He would also al­low nine more runs than the Car­di­nals ace.

Dou­bling as a hit­ter and pitcher, Loyd’s show­ing at the plate was not im­pres­sive as he hit .244 with five RBIS and two dou­bles.

Speak­ing of hit­ting, the stats for All-state re­cip­i­ents are not even com­pa­ra­ble to that of Har­mony Grove’s Jared Toler and Connor Bur­row. And you could prob­a­bly toss Cooper White and Chase Chilton in the mix as well.

Toler, an Arkansas State Univer­sity com­mit as a ju­nior, fin­ished with a stel­lar .345 av­er­age, driv­ing home 26 runs on 30 hits while adding five home runs and eight dou­bles. This all came af­ter a slow start to the year.

Bur­row, though, was one of the best in all of 3A, end­ing with a .434 av­er­age to go along with 21 RBIS, nine dou­bles, 24 runs scored and nine stolen bases. That’s not even in­clud­ing his play on de­fense, which should be noted dur­ing the se­lec­tion process as well.

For Robinson, I have lit­tle to say as the 2019 stats are not up­dated for the team, how­ever, I highly doubt he put to­gether a sea­son like Bur­row from the plate.

The only lee­way I can give the com­mit­tee is that the votes are taken be­fore the post­sea­son is com­plete and that con­fer­ence fin­ish does come into play. How­ever, stats don’t lie.

For Har­mony Grove not to even earn a nom­i­na­tion is a joke, es­pe­cially when the team goes on to win the cham­pi­onship.

These kids were robbed of a high honor de­spite putting to­gether some of the best sea­sons in the league.

With that said, I think a state cham­pi­onship ring looks bet­ter than a patch on a let­ter­man jacket any­way.


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