Tanner Cantrell wastes little time at the plate. When he sees a fastball near the strike zone, he’s going to swing.

“He attacks the baseball,” Houston coach Brent Hall said. “In high school baseball, you’re going to see one or two fastballs during an at-bat that you’re able to hit. When he sees them, he’s ready.”

And he rarely misses.

The Tigers’ leader in a majority of the main offensive categories, Cantrell was rewarded for his standout sophomore campaign with a spot on the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team. Cantrell, who played both third base and shortstop the season, was named a Class 3 honorable mention infielder.

Cantrell’s offensive numbers were impressive. He batted .471 to lead the team by more than 130 points. He also led the Tigers with 20 RBIs, 32 hits, eight doubles, a triple and two home runs.

Maybe Cantrell’s most impressive feat was his lack of strikeouts. He struck out just five times –– and only once looking –– in 68 at-bats. That number was actually higher than the four times he fanned in 68 at-bats as a freshman.

“When he swings the bat, he doesn’t get cheated,” Hall said. “But he doesn’t really cut down on his swing with two strikes, which makes his average even more impressive. That’s pretty special.”

Cantrell has been an immediate contributor since joining the varsity team. He began his freshman campaign hitting seventh and quickly ascended to the No. 3 hole in the lineup. He led HHS with a .412 batting average –– 106 points higher than any teammates –– and also had team highs of six doubles and 26 RBIs.

“I didn’t think he would take off as quickly as he did and hit in the middle of the lineup,” Hall said. “But I expected him to do well, and I’d be shocked if he didn’t improve even more in the next few years.”

Six other Texas County players made the all-state team. Drew Pearson (first team catcher) and Markus Rader (second team pitcher) made the team from Cabool. Wyatt Porter (first team outfield), Lane Duncan (second team infield), Tyler Wade (second team outfield) and Jake Hood (honorable mention catcher) represented Licking.

Here is the complete Class 3 all-state team:

2013 MHSBCA CLASS 3 ALL STATE TEAM

PITCHERS – FIRST TEAM
SR BRENDAN BEATTY HALLSVILLE
SR JUSTIN MURPHY NORTH CALLAWAY
JR TYLER AST SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC
SR DYLAN RILEY HOLDEN

PITCHERS – SECOND TEAM
SR SETH LEHMAN FATIMA
SR JACOB KOELLING BLAIR OAKS
JR TAYLOR THOMPSON CUBA
JR MATTHEW TIPTON SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC

PITCHERS- HONORABLE MENTION
SR CONNOR MAROLF LUTHERAN ST. CHARLES
SR BLAKE EDWARDS LAWSON
SR TYLER MARTIN CLEVER
SR JASHAWN MCDANIEL NEW MADRID COUNTY CENTRAL
SR WILL FUNKENBUSCH PALMYRA

CATCHERS – FIRST TEAM
SR CHANCE WOLFE CLEVER
SR RYAN FORTNER SCOTT CITY
JR LUCAS SWINDLE LUTHERAN ST. CHARLES

CATCHERS – SECOND TEAM
SR SOLOMON WEIDER DIXON
JR BRYER NASH CUBA
JR CODY ARELLA ORCHARD FARM

CATCHERS – HONORABLE MENTION
JR JAKE HOOD LICKING
SR ROB RUZICKA SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC
JR JONATHAN ZUPTICH BISHOP LEBLOND

INFIELDERS – FIRST TEAM
SR BRAD JELINEK WARSAW
JR SAM PREUSSER LUTHERAN ST. CHARLES
SR DEREK HURST FORSYTH
JR PATRICK DILLON BISHOP LEBLOND
SOPH JEREMY EIERMAN WARSAW

INFIELDERS – SECOND TEAM
JR RYAN BOUSE CUBA
JR BRAYTON BALLENGER SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC
SOPH LANE DUNCAN LICKING
SR GARRETT GIBSON SUMMIT CHRISTIAN
SOPH CLAYTON BRINKLEY WEST COUNTY

INFIELDERS – HONORABLE MENTION
SOPH TANNER CANTRELL HOUSTON
SR RYAN JINKS DIAMOND
JR REID KESEL FATIMA
SR TIM CLAYTON NEW MADRID COUNTY CENTRAL
SR RANGER CURTIS CLEVER

OUTFIELDERS – FIRST TEAM
SR BRETT DIRNBERGER SCOTT CITY
SR WYATT PORTER LICKING
JR CAMERON WILLIAMS CUBA
SR ERIC SMITH SPRINGFIELD CATHOLIC

OUTFIELDERS – SECOND TEAM
SR TAYLOR DARTING FORSYTH
JR MATTHEW MCCULLOUGH BISHOP LEBLOND
SR TYLER WADE LICKING
SR FRANK ALFORD ALTON

OUTFIELDERS – HONORABLE MENTION
JR ADAM VOLNER STEELVILLE
SR TRAVIS PENNEWELL CLEVER
FR ANDREW MEIER DIXON

DH/UTILITY – FIRST TEAM
SR PATRICK SCHNIEDERS FATIMA
SR TANNER MURPHY MALDEN
SOPH JAY KAUFMAN FORSYTH
SR A.J. BOYER SUMMIT CHRISTIAN

DH/UTILITY – SECOND TEAM
SR AUSTIN MEINE WRIGHT CITY
SR KALON HONEYCUTT ALTON
SR MATT BORGEN HOLDEN

DH/UTILITY – HONORABLE MENTION
FR LAYN HURST FORSYTH
SR KYLER MAXEY BLAIR OAKS
SR TYLER TUEPKER WRIGHT CITY

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