Six Cowboys selected to all-conference baseball team
After finishing third in the Tri-Valley Conference and reaching the state playoffs for the first time in more than two decades, the Crook County Cowboys are well represented on this year's all-league baseball team.
The Cowboys have placed six players on the team, including four first team all stars.
Crook County catcher Heath Pickhardt has been named to the all-league first team for the fourth consecutive year.
During the league season, Pickhardt had a .286 batting average with five doubles and three home runs. He also had 16 RBIs, 17 runs scored and nine walks during the league season.
The senior, who has committed to play baseball at the University of Oregon, is one of the premier catchers in the state.
However, Pickhardt is far from the lone Cowboy to be recognized by the league.
Joining him on the first team are senior outfielder Josh Norris, senior utility player Devin Wilson, and sophomore pitcher Kyle Knudtson.
Norris finished the league season with a .362 batting average, although he hit .402 for the entire season. Norris had 21 hits during the league season, including two home runs and scored 18 runs.
Wilson was the team's leading batter for the year, boasting a .500 batting average for the season and a .444 league batting average. During league Wilson had 11 RBIs and scored 11 runs, wile hitting two doubles and three triples.
Knudtson, the final Cowboy to make the all-league first team, had a .400 batting average during the league season. He was also the team's top pitcher, throwing 26.2 innings during the league season, striking out 34, while giving up just nine earned runs in five games of work, for an ERA under three.
Also making the all-league squad are outfielders Hunter Bishop, a junior, and Brody Connell, a sophomore, who both received honorable mention honors.
Bishop hit just .200 for the league season, but scored 17 runs and walked nine times, while Connell batted .262 in leaguewith 10 RBIs and eight walks.
The Cowboys finished the season with a 9-6 league record and a 17-12 overall mark.
Impressively, Crook County scored 232 runs during the course of the season, an average of eight runs a game, third most in all of Class 4A baseball.
Just No. 1 ranked Henley and No. 8 ranked Hidden Valley have scored more runs.
The Cowboys struggled with errors early in the season but came on strong at the end of the year, winning four of their last five league games as well as a play-in game before falling in the first round of the state playoffs to No. 2 ranked North Marion.
Derek Lee and Damian Alvarado of the league champion Gladstone Gladiators shared player of the year honors, while Gladstone pitcher Ben McCoy was the pitcher of the year.
Gladstone head coach Casey Webster was named coach of the year.
Gladstone placed 10 players on the all-league team, including seven on the first team.
Those players included McCoy and Lee as pitchers, Austin Conner and Matthew Kuhn in the infield, outfielders Alvarado and Matthew Lehrbach, as well as Lee at first base.
Other first team all-league players included Tyler Lockey of Madras, Wyatt Riedel, Estacada, Cameron Rodriguez, Madras, and Nick Keller, Estacada.