League honorees lead baseball team | CraigDailyPress.com

League honorees lead baseball team

The Moffat County baseball team returned to the playoffs after a year’s absence, and the Western Slope League coaches have recognized five of the players who were the nucleus of that effort.

Senior Jared Lowther, juniors Reid Hanneman and Bryan Wojtkiewicz, and sophomore Bryan Richards were named to the first team. Sophomore Brad Grinstead earned honorable mention.

The Bulldogs finished 13-7 overall and were two runs away from the district championship. Their 9-8 loss to Golden in the districts kept the Bulldogs from advancing to the elite eight, which would have been the first time in 10 years.

“Our guys performed well this year,” coach Scott Parker said. “I’m proud of their accomplishments.”

Lowther established himself as the team leader during summer ball and carried that task through his senior season.

“The success we had stemmed from Jared’s leadership and style of play,” Parker said.

Lowther played shortstop, was the leadoff hitter and was the team’s closer on the mound. All three positions are the focal point of a baseball team.

“He was in the middle of everything,” his coach said. The only senior starter for the Bulldogs finished the season with a .440 batting average, 15 stolen bases, 14 RBIs and 26 runs. According to season totals in Class 4A, Lowther was in the top 20 in the state in runs scored and sixth in stolen bases. Hanneman was recognized for his ability to hit or stop anything coming at him; either if it was a pitch that he hit or caught, or a runner coming home trying to score.

The catcher batted .431 with 25 hits (13 which were for extra bases) and he managed the Bulldogs pitching staff.

“Reid hit the ball hard all year,” Parker said. “He also did a good job taking care of our pitchers.”

Wojtkiewicz and the term ace were synonymous this year. He led the team in nearly every pitching category. His 1.72 ERA was in the top 10 in the state. His six wins were tied for fourth in the state.

“‘Woj’ was throwing the ball as wall as anybody in the state,” Parkers said. “He could have had two more wins if it weren’t for a sore arm and a line drive that hit him in the leg.”

Parker pointed to Wojt-kiewicz’s final start of the season as an example of his ability. The junior allowed one run in a complete-game performance against Cherokee Trail in the first round of districts. Cherokee Trail averaged 9.9 runs a game before it faced Wojtkiewicz.

If Bryan Richards’ improvement continues, pitchers won’t throw to him at all his senior year. The sophomore led the Bulldogs in hits, runs, batting average, RBI and home runs.

He was also near the top of the state in several of those categories. He was in the top 15 in batting average, .527, third in home runs, 9, and ninth in runs, 30.

“Richards hit the ball hard in every at bat toward the end of the year,” Parker said. “He just continues to get bette r.”

Grinstead has started at the hot corner both years in high school. Parker said he was one of the team’s most improved players.

“He’s the hardest working kid on the team,” Parker said. “He’s developing into a great hitter.”

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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