Houston sophomore Kolby Walker, who committed two errors at first base and was named the team's defensive player of the year, received honorable mention all-conference honors.

Five Houston Tigers were recognized with selections to the 2013 all-SCA baseball team. Here are the players who received honors:


The Houston baseball team’s leader in a majority of the main offensive categories, Cantrell was a unanimous selection to the first team in his second full season of varsity baseball. He easily led HHS in batting –– his .471 average was 130 points higher than the second-highest –– while also leading the team in RBIs (20), hits (32), doubles (eight), triples (one) and home runs (two). Cantrell led the conference in total hits and finished second behind co-MVP Drew Pearson of Cabool in batting average.

Cantrell made the leap to the first team after earning second-team honors as a freshman.

“He doesn’t get cheated. He’s ready to swing the bat when he gets in the box, and he doesn’t let good pitches go. If they throw the ball across the plate, he’s going to hit it. He keeps the ball through the strike zone a lot longer than most the kids we have and when he hits the ball, he usually hits it hard.” –– Coach Brent Hall


The only undefeated pitcher in SCA play, Coulter had a 7-1 record and a team-best 2.36 ERA. He was 5-0 in conference play and was the Tigers’ winning pitcher in their district victory against Mountain Grove.

Coulter, who was on the mound for seven of the Tigers’ nine victories and all five of their SCA wins, struck out 50 batters in 53 1/3 innings and walked 24.

“I was as disappointed as I’ve ever been with him not getting first team. Without him on the mound, we’re in trouble. He is an ultimate competitor. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he is going to give everything that he’s got.” –– Coach Brent Hall


Merckling drastically improved his offensive numbers as his batting average jumped from .103 as a sophomore to .281 his junior season. That number ranked third on the team. Merckling’s 12 RBIs were tied for third-most on the team and he tied for second with seven steals.

Merckling started the year batting seventh and finished hitting second.

“I’m not going to take a whole lot of credit. Trevor worked extremely hard. He got in there and worked. He knew he was on the borderline of losing his spot, and he just wasn’t going to let that happen. All the credit goes to him for that.” –– Coach Brent Hall


Cantrell missed the first team by one vote to land on the second team for the second straight season. He ranked second on the team in batting (.341), runs (13) and stolen bases (seven) and was among the team leaders with eight RBIs. He was also one of two players to homer.

When he wasn’t on the mound, Cantrell played center field for the Tigers.

“He was streaky. When he got going, he got his hits in bunches. He has a big, long swing that allows him to drive the ball with power. He’s going to hit for a high average when he puts the ball in play because he runs so well and is so athletic.” –– Coach Brent Hall


Walker batted .140 with seven runs and four steals. But it wasn’t his offensive numbers that earned him all-conference honors. Walker was named all-SCA based on his defensive work at first base. He started every game there and only made two errors.

“He saved us a lot of runs over there. One of our strongest suits as a team was our defense –– probably one of our better defensive years in several years –– and a lot of that had to do with Kolby. He scooped a lot of balls out of the dirt and had very soft hands over there.” –– Coach Brent Hall

Here are the members of the 2013 all-SCA baseball team as selected by the conference coaches:


Pitchers: Brady Floyd, Salem; Ben Loge, Ava.

Catcher: Drew Pearson, Cabool.

Infield: Tanner Cantrell, Houston, Zane Cornman, Liberty, Cooper Emerick, Ava; Adam Ziske, Salem; Markus Rader, Cabool.

Outfield: Hunter Barnes, Salem; Jesse Johnson, Ava; Tadd Zitter, Liberty.

DH/utility: Logan Welch, Willow Springs


Pitchers: Devin Coulter, Houston; Skyler Johnson, Salem.

Catcher: Lane Stluka, Salem.

Infielders: Garrett Newberry, Mtn. Grove; Landon Tyler, Thayer; Taylor Bay, Cabool; Trevor Merckling, Houston.

Outfielders: Aaron Cantrell, Houston; Broderick Davis, Cabool; Blaine Holford, Mtn. Grove; Drew Rodgers, Willow Springs.

DH/utility: Cale Cornman, Liberty


Mitch Webber, Thayer; Jake Arzt, Salem; Jacob Solik, Willow Springs; Bobby Otwell, Mtn. Grove; Chance Boyd, Ava; Kolby Walker, Houston; D.J. McNew, Mtn. Grove; Tyler Hadden, Liberty; Austin Wulff, Salem; Ayden Henry, Thayer; Lucas Combs, Willow Springs.


Co-MVPs: Loge, Pearson

Coach of the year: Phillip Karr, Salem

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