Three main pieces of the best baseball team in Houston history were honored this week with first team selections to the All-SCA team.
Pitcher Gus Durst, second baseman Justin Stringer and third baseman Kirk Pierce all represented the Tigers on the first team. Senior pitcher Nathan Trentham was a second-team pick, and teammates Cory Hart and Cory Smith were recognized on the honorable mention team.
Durst played the starring role for Houston as it won the first sectional, quarterfinal and semifinal games in program history. The Tigers took undefeated Blair Oaks to the brink of elimination in the Class 2 title game, keyed by Durst’s three-run double in a sixth-inning rally that put Houston in front by two runs.
Durst was a workhouse on the mound as Houston’s ace pitcher. He went 8-3 with a 2.00 ERA and struck out 60 batters in 63 innings. He threw complete games in five of his eight starts, including victories in the district final, quarterfinal and semifinal.
Although he was selected to the all-conference team as a pitcher, Durst was just as dangerous with his bat. He led Houston with five home runs and 55 RBIs while batting a team-best .483.
Stringer, a senior second baseman, was the offensive catalyst for the Tigers from the leadoff position. He led Houston with 43 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. His .466 batting average was second on the team behind Durst, and he led all starters with a .539 on-base percentage.
Stringer was especially good in the postseason. He batted a team-high .520 and scored 15 times to lead a Tiger team that topped 10 runs in all seven games. He also had seven stolen bases to tie teammate Travis Swearengin for the most during the postseason.
A thumb injury forced Pierce to move from behind the plate to third base midway during the season. But he was still productive with his bat as Houston’s clean-up hitter. The junior batted .442 and was second on the team with nine doubles, four home runs, 34 runs batted in.
Pierce batted .500 during the playoffs with five doubles, eight runs and 14 RBIs.
Trentham was 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA as the team’s No. 2 starter. He struck out 45 in 51 innings.
Hart, a senior third baseman, batted .319 with six doubles and 17 RBIs.
Smith hit .297 with 36 runs and 21 runs batted in.