By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Three Waxahachie baseball standouts earned four statewide 6A honors over the summer. Two of which marked program firsts.
The first recognitions for the 6A area round finalists began with recent graduates Xavien Thompson and Casey Kelly receiving invitations to the annual North Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game.
Kelly struck out two and allowed one hit in his lone scoreless inning of work. The Frank Phillips College signee topped out at 85 mph with his fastball during the outing.
Kelly, an All-District 11-6A honoree, compiled an 8-1 overall record with a 0.93 ERA during his senior campaign for the Indians. He struck out 73 batters and walked 18 over 62.1 IP.
Thompson started in centerfield but did not record a hit in either of his two at-bats.
Ennis’ Clayton Jenkins (District 14-5A Offensive MVP) and Red Oak’s Jaylyn Bennett (14-5A first-team outfield) also participated in Arlington.
The most significant summer recognition came a few days later when now-senior Jared Thomas was named to the 6A All-State third team as an outfielder.
Thomas finished the season for the 25-10 Waxahachie Indians with a team-best .484/.590/.821 slash line and jaw-dropping 1.411 slugging percentage. He crushed four home runs and team-highs in doubles (14), triples (3) and RBIs (38). He also scored 35 runs while drawing 22 walks to just 13 strikeouts over 95 plate appearances.
Thomas was 6-2 with a 0.87 ERA on the mound for the Indians. He struck out 86 and walked 34 over 69.1 IP.
Other notable area 6A All-State recipients included:
• Jake Story (2nd team, junior, Dallas Jesuit, pitcher)
• Cole Dillon (1st team, senior, Rockwall, catcher)
• Nick Lazzara (2nd team, senior, catcher, Dallas Jesuit)
• Nick Greaney (2nd team, senior, first base, Richardson Pearce)
• Easton Culp (1st team, junior, shortstop, Harker Heights)
In the same THSBCA all-state announcement, we also learned that Thompson was named alongside Joshua Milton (Spring), Ryan Brome (Katy), Lane Brewster (Clear Creek), Keegan Adams (SA Brennan) as the outfielders for the 6A Elite All-Star Team.
The Elite All-Star Team is reserved for senior baseball student-athletes and factors in All-State votes with GPA and community involvement. There were also seven pitchers, four catchers, five first basemen, four second basemen, two third basemen, four shortstops and two at-large bids extended.
As a senior leader for the Tribe, Thompson slugged a team-best six home runs to go with a .408-batting average, .535 on-base percentage and team-high 41 runs scored from the leadoff spot.
Both Thomas’ all-state and Thompson’s Elite All-Star nods were first for the program at the 6A level.
Thompson has also since flipped his collegiate plans to join perennial junior college baseball power Navarro College.
The left-handed-hitting centerfielder had initially signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball and football at Division-III Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Thompson was asked on signing day — if forced to choose — which sport he would rather focus his efforts on, baseball or football. Without hesitation, he replied, “Oh, baseball, for sure. No doubt.”
He was ultimately released from his commitment and allowed to pursue his Division-I and professional baseball dreams under newly-rehired Navarro skipper Whoa Dill.
Dill was announced as the head coach on April 28. While watching the Tribe play its final district game a few days later, he said he’d hope to land Thompson as his first signee. He got his man, and Thompson’s playing career will be better for it.
According to Navarro College Athletics, Dill finished his first stint as the Bulldogs’ head baseball coach with a 307-157 career record that included the three highest single-season win totals in program history. He coached student-athletes to over 40 All-Conference selections, 6 NJCAA All-American nods and five players that landed on MLB rosters.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith