Devin Coulter

Year: Soph.

Position: SS, P

Three members of the Houston High School baseball team were recognized for their individual performances with selections to the South Central Association all-conference team.

Freshman Tanner Cantrell and sophomore Aaron Cantrell were named to the second team by the conference coaches. Devin Coulter, a sophomore, received honorable mention.

Tanner Cantrell was the Tigers’ top offensive player in his first season with the team. He easily led Houston with a .412 batting average –– 106 points higher than any of his teammates –– and 26 RBIs. Cantrell also had a team-best six doubles.

“He had first team numbers,” Tigers coach Brent Hall said. “But because he was a freshman and we didn’t have a great record, that hurt him.”

After sitting out the season-opening Neal’s Sporting Goods Leadoff Classic with a wrist injury, Cantrell batted in the bottom third of the order before working his way to the No. 3 hole. He remained there the rest of the season.

Hall said Cantrell’s ability to consistently put the ball in play made him a good hitter. He struck out four times in 68 at-bats.

“He doesn’t miss good pitches,” Hall said. “Usually during an at-bat in high school, you have one or two good pitches to hit. Sometimes a kid will let them go or foul them off. Tanner rarely does that. When he has a good pitch in the zone, he centers it and hits it hard.”

Aaron Cantrell recovered from a slow start at the plate to produce all-conference honors. He hit both of the team’s home runs –– highlighted by an April 12 grand slam against Thayer –– while batting .277 with 18 RBIs. He had three doubles, a triple and scored 10 runs.

“If I was to guess at the beginning of the year what he would get all-conference for, it would be as a pitcher,” Hall said. “He struggled on the mound, but after a slow start hit well for us.”

Cantrell, who started in center field when he wasn’t pitching, led the Tigers with 12 stolen bases. He was only caught once.

Hall said Cantrell was spending his summer on a traveling baseball team to improve his game.

“He’s very athletic and has a high ceiling,” Hall said. “I look for his numbers to increase and be even better next year. He did a lot for us and will be asked to do even more in the coming years.”

Coulter moved from third base to shortstop in his second season as a starter. He also moved up in the batting order from fifth to third.

Coulter scored a team-high 16 runs and ranked second in steals (7) and doubles (3). He was fourth with a .270 batting average.

“We moved him off the plate later in the year and once we did that, he hit the ball much better,” Hall said.

Drew Pearson of Cabool was the SCA player of the year. Ava’s Rex Sawyer was the coach of the year.

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