See who made The Wichita Eagle 2022 high school baseball All-Metro team

·17 min read

The Wichita Eagle announced its annual All-Metro baseball team on Tuesday, recognizing some of the best high school players in the state of Kansas from the 2022 season.

The All-Metro first team features the top 13 players and the top coach from Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties, based on statistics, team success, postseason recognition and area coaches’ feedback. Collegiate junior Hayden Malaise was named the Player of the Year after a dominant season on the mound and at the plate in which he helped the Spartans win their first state championship since 2001.

Here is the full look at the teams:

Wichita Eagle All-Metro baseball first team

Collegiate’s Brett Black
Collegiate’s Brett Black

Brett Black, Collegiate junior infielder

Collegiate had a dominant 23-1 season that was capped off by winning the Class 3A state championship, the first state title in 21 years in the program, thanks in no small part to Black. He was a big bat in the lineup and was steady at first place, then paired with Hayden Malaise to form one of the best pitching duos in the state. He finished with an 8-1 record, 2.09 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 53-plus innings, while hitting .406 at the plate with three home runs, a team-high 30 RBI and 26 runs. Black was named first team all-state at first base in Class 3A and earned first team all-league honors in AV-CTL Div. IV at both pitcher and first base.

“He pitches to contact and he trusts his defense,” Collegiate coach Joe Gehrer said. “He was excellent at controlling the running game and he had confidence in every pitch, no matter what we called he was ready to throw it. He was extremely efficient because he pitched to contact and that’s why he was in every game. He got hot late in the season at the plate and he’s a really good power guy. He doesn’t have a lot of speed to get those extra-base hits, but he puts the ball in play and drives runs home.”

Bishop Carroll’s Tate Blasi
Bishop Carroll’s Tate Blasi

Tate Blasi, Bishop Carroll junior infielder

No one on Carroll came through with more clutch plays than Blasi, the standout shortstop who helped lead the Golden Eagles back to the Class 5A state championship game. The junior finished with a .410 batting average, a team-high 25 RBI, .540 on-base percentage and 15 stolen bases to pair with his superb glove in the field. Blasi earned first team all-state honors in Class 5A as a middle infielder and was the first team all-league shortstop in the City League.

“Defensively, he had a phenomenal year for us,” Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said. “He’s got great range and a plus arm, so he made some plays for us this season that legitimately helped us win games that we might not have without those plays. In the big games late in the season, Tate really stepped up for us and he was a solid force for us in our lineup. He was just one of those players who did whatever it took to help us win.”

Bishop Carroll’s James Brennan
Bishop Carroll’s James Brennan

James Brennan, Bishop Carroll senior pitcher

It was quite the transformation for Brennan in his senior season, as he went from hardly throwing at all for Carroll last season to becoming one of the top aces in the area. The Neosho signee finished with a 4-1 record, 1.18 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 47-plus innings to help power Carroll to another 20-win season and a return to the Class 5A state championship game. Brennan was a second team all-state pitcher in Class 5A and also earned first team all-league honors in the City League.

“James kept us in pretty much every game he started this year,” Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said. “He didn’t pitch last year for us and had to change his arm slot over the summer, but he put in the work and came in and was just a really dominant force for most of the season. He had a really good fastball and complimented it with a slider, breaking ball and a changeup. He came up big for us in big games against Derby and Maize and then threw six shutout innings in the state tournament, so he was super reliable and was huge for us in the big games.”

Maize South’s Isaac Epp
Maize South’s Isaac Epp

Isaac Epp, Maize South senior outfielder

Few players in the state could match the two-way impact Epp had at Maize South, where he was a standout outfielder and ace on the mound. He finished with a 6-1 record with an 1.88 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 44-plus innings, which earned him Pitcher of the Year honors in the AV-CTL Div. I and second team all-state status in Class 5A. The NCAA Division II Truman (Mo.) signee also hit .418 at the plate in the 3-hole while also playing in left field for a 16-win Maize South team with a team-high 21 RBI, 22 runs and just one strikeout in 85 plate appearances. He also earned first team all-league honors in the outfield in AV-CTL Div. I and second team all-state in Class 5A.

“Up on the bump, he is a true pitcher,” Maize South coach Chad Christensen said. “He throws three pitches for strikes, which makes it difficult for teams to hit him and then he was just a a clutch hitter for us at the plate. He put everything behind him when he’s at bat. He doesn’t waste AB’s. And when it’s over, he moves on to the next AB.”

Valley Center’s Payton Graham
Valley Center’s Payton Graham

Payton Graham, Valley Center senior pitcher

Not only did Valley Center make its first appearance at the state tournament since 2010, but the Hornets even reached the Class 5A semifinals. Graham, an ace on the mound, was a big reason why. The senior finished with a 6-1 record and 0.83 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 50-plus innings, which earned the Johnson County signee Player of the Year honors in the AV-CTL Div. II and first team all-state status in Class 5A as a pitcher. He finished with 14 career wins, the most in program history, and a career ERA of 1.18, also a program-best mark.

“The stats really show the amount of work he put in during the offseason,” Valley Center coach Matt Robertson said. “The last couple of years he’s had the goal in his mind to play at the next level and he’s worked hard to get to that point and all of that work in the offseason is what brought him the success this year. He was just always in control on the mound, always throwing strikes to get ahead of guys and making hitters hit his pitch instead of the other way around.”

Maize’s Jaden Gustafson
Maize’s Jaden Gustafson

Jaden Gustafson, Maize senior outfielder

Known for one of the smoothest left-handed swings in the area, Gustafson once again delivered another big two-way season for Maize. He hit .403 at the plate with a .519 on-base percentage and showed off his speed with four triples to go along with 14 RBI, 22 runs, six stolen bases. The Wichita State signee was also a standout defender in left field for a Maize team that won 13 games, which earned him first team all-league honors in AV-CTL Div. I and first team all-state in Class 5A.

“Jaden just had a natural ability that’s very impressive and a willingness to get better each and every day,” Maize coach Rocky Helm said. “He has an understanding of the game that’s next level and then he goes out and plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played day in and day out. I’m excited to see what he can do at (Wichita State). He’s got really good hands at the plate and he’s a guy who can drive the ball with authority and then he can cover some serious ground in the outfield. He just had a very high baseball IQ.”

Sedgwick’s Lance Hoffsommer
Sedgwick’s Lance Hoffsommer

Lance Hoffsommer, Sedgwick senior infielder

After helping lead Sedgwick to a state championship last season, Hoffsommer was once again brilliant for a 17-win Cardinals team in his senior season. After an all-state football season as a quarterback in the fall, Hoffsommer delivered an all-state season in the spring at third base for the Sedgwick baseball team. He hit .587 at the plate with 16 extra-base hits, including three home runs, to go along with 24 RBI, 47 runs and 28 stolen bases. The Emporia State football signee was also dominant on the mound, finishing with a perfect 8-0 record, 1.89 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 37 innings.

“Lance was our most reliable pitcher this year,” Sedgwick coach Doug Mabry said. “He worked really hard in the offseason to improve his efficiency and endurance. He was also our biggest offensive weapon. His versatility and leadership in making the transition to playing third base this year helped propel Sedgwick to another outstanding season.”

Derby’s Braden Horn
Derby’s Braden Horn

Braden Horn, Derby junior designated hitter

On top of being one of the savviest defensive catchers, Horn delivered an offensive explosion in his junior season at the plate. He led Derby with a .459 batting average with the majority of his hits going for extra bases, including five home runs, to go along with a team-high 25 RBI, .538 on-base percentage and 11 runs scored. Horn’s two-way play helped lead the Panthers to a 16-7 record and a return to the Class 6A state tournament, while earning him first team all-league honors in AV-CTL Div. I and second team all-state honors in 6A.

“We haven’t had offensive numbers like that in a while,” Derby coach Todd Olmstead said. “When he was behind the plate, there was no one we played that was better. He worked really hard this offseason to take his batting practice reps and turn them into game reps. He showed that power for us last year in the cage, but we couldn’t get it to translate to the field and this year it finally translated. He’s just a really smart catcher who understands hitters and he calls his own games. He’s opening a lot of eyes with his play and he’s probably going to end up being a big-time player.”

Eisenhower’s Tyner Horn
Eisenhower’s Tyner Horn

Tyner Horn, Eisenhower junior pitcher

Horn stamped himself as one of the most dominant aces in the state, not allowing a single earned run until the postseason to help lead Eisenhower back to the Class 5A state tournament. The Wichita State pledge finished with a 5-1 record, one save, 0.46 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 45-plus innings, while adding 13 RBI and 13 runs scored at the plate. Horn was named the Pitcher of the Year in the AV-CTL Div. II and a first team all-state pitcher in Class 5A.

“He has been blessed with a really good arm and he’s got a lot of velocity,” Eisenhower coach Mike Warren said. “Last year he was a thrower; this year he began to pitch. He began to locate his fastball and develop a secondary pitch that made him that much better and his poise on the mound got better. Anytime you go through our league without giving up an earned run until the last game of the year, that says something about what kind of stuff that he had and how good he was.”

Collegiate’s Brady Hunt
Collegiate’s Brady Hunt

Brady Hunt, Collegiate junior catcher

Part of the dynamic junior class that helped power Collegiate to a 23-1 record and Class 3A state championship, Hunt was a standout catcher for the Spartans. On top of being superb defensively, Hunt finished with a .431 batting average, 10 doubles, three home runs, 26 RBI and 27 runs to earn first team all-state honors at catcher in Class 3A and first team all-league honors at catcher in AV-CTL Div. IV. He also called his own games and played a role in the super pitching seasons from Hayden Malaise and Brett Black, who were both All-Metro selections.

“Brady is just great defensively. He has great hands, amazing feet and just really knows the game,” Collegiate coach Joe Gehrer said. “We trusted him to call every pitch because he knows his staff so well. He knows what works with Hayden and what’s different with Brett and how to use their talents against hitters. He was a great leader for us and at the plate, he was the scariest bat that we had for other teams to face. And we could protect him on both ends with Hayden and Brett. He just has unbelievable bat head speed and is extremely patient at the plate. He knows what pitch he wants and he will attack it and not miss.”

Collegiate’s Hayden Malaise
Collegiate’s Hayden Malaise

Hayden Malaise, Collegiate junior outfielder

Malaise delivered a dominant season for a 23-1 Collegiate team that rolled its way to the Class 3A state championship, the first state title in 21 years for the program. Whether it was at the plate or on the mound, Malaise was a force for the Spartans. He was best known as a pitcher, as he finished with a 10-0 record, 0.77 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 54-plus innings, but he also did plenty of damage as a hitter playing all over the diamond. He finished with a .381 batting average, four home runs, 29 RBI and 20 runs. He was named the Pitcher of the Year in Class 3A on top of first team all-state honors, while also earning Player of the Year honors in the AV-CTL Div. IV as a first team all-league pitcher and utility player.

“Hayden just had great stuff on the mound,” Collegiate coach Joe Gehrer said. “He’s a big velocity guy and he can throw three pitches for strikes and he can also be effective where hitters can’t be. He also was extremely good at the plate for us and hit in the 4-hole for us all year and was an excellent bat in the lineup and was just constantly on base.”

Derby’s Saben Seager
Derby’s Saben Seager

Saben Seager, Derby senior infielder

An All-Metro pick last year as a pitcher, Seager didn’t let an arm injury that ended his season on the mound prevent him from helping lead Derby back to the Class 6A state tournament. Seager, a Cowley College signee, made a successful transition to shortstop and elevated his hitting to become one of Derby’s most consistent hitters, finishing with a .444 batting average, .522 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBI, 25 runs and 11 stolen bases. He was voted first team all-league shortstop in AV-CTL Div. I and earned second team all-state honors as a middle infielder in Class 6A.

“We had to shut him down early in the season, but he turned that into a positive and said, ‘Fine, I’m going to focus on being the best fielder and hitter I can be,’” Derby coach Todd Olmstead said. “He hit in the 2-hole for us all year and he was our engine. He really put a complete 100% focus into shortstop for us instead of wishing he was pitching still. He worked his butt off this winter and in practice to improve his approach at the plate and it was so awesome to see the growth that he had hitting. He might be able to push for two-way play at Cowley and that’s pretty impressive.”

Goddard’s Coltin Watkins
Goddard’s Coltin Watkins

Coltin Watkins, Goddard sophomore infielder

It was a breakout season for the 6-foot-2 sophomore at Goddard, who became one of the area’s top arms and also a standout hitter at the plate. He finished with a 7-1 record and 1.28 ERA to go with 75 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 49 innings pitched, which earned him second team all-state in Class 5A and first team all-league in AV-CTL Div. II as a pitcher. Watkins also finished with a .323 batting average with 16 RBI and 11 runs while playing first base for a 14-win Goddard team, which earned him second team all-league honors.

“He really grew his game this year, which included playing first base for us and swinging the bat in the middle of our lineup,” Goddard coach Jim Foltz said. “He provided some big hits at some key times for us and we’re excited to have him for two more years. Even though the majority of innings went to seniors, I think they took his lead on the mound with his performance and he helped give us a pretty good staff.”

The Wichita Collegiate baseball team won the Class 3A championship with a 10-3 win over Columbus on Friday in Manhattan. It is the Spartans’ first title since 2001.
The Wichita Collegiate baseball team won the Class 3A championship with a 10-3 win over Columbus on Friday in Manhattan. It is the Spartans’ first title since 2001.

Joe Gehrer, Collegiate coach

Collegiate knew it was going to have the pieces to make a run at the state championship after returning its entire core from last year’s 19-win team that reached the state tournament. Gehrer said the players drew motivation from their 11-0 loss in the first game at the Class 3A state tournament last season. This time around, the Spartans outscored their competition 24-6 at the state tournament to win the Class 3A state championship with a 23-1 record this season. It was the first state title in the program since 2001 when Gehrer was a player and his father, Mike, was the coach.

“This group just got it from Day 1,” Gehrer said. “We had everybody back from the year before, so it wasn’t like we were starting as a brand new team on Day 1 this year. Everybody knew their position and everyone was already bought into what we were doing. The guys liked each other and had a lot of fun and that’s what it takes: guys having fun, relaxed and they just owned the mental side of things this season. We learned how to get better after getting beat at state last year, so they knew what that failure felt like and we knew we had to get better so we didn’t have to feel that way again. The kids were bought in 100% and they were so much fun to coach.”

All-Metro second team

Owen Bailey, Maize South senior catcher

Harley Buller, Campus junior outfielder

Owen Clyne, Maize South senior infielder

Connor Davis, Trinity Academy senior outfielder

Chandler Drake, Halstead senior pitcher

Evan Eichenauer, Collegiate senior outfielder

Colby Gomez, Newton sophomore utility

Mitchell Johnson, Derby junior pitcher

Blane Kelly, Heights senior infielder

Brandon Klusener, Andover senior infielder

Gaige Oakley, Heights senior infielder

Seth Reichenberger, Andale-Garden Plain senior pitcher

Trent Reitmayer, Cheney senior outfielder

Braden Scribner, Remington senior pitcher

Cooper Tabor, Andover Central junior infielder

Connor Tillman, Sedgwick senior outfielder

Brady Unrein, Northwest sophomore utility

Drew Veatch, El Dorado junior pitcher

Ashtun Villagomez, Collegiate senior infielder

Harrison Voth, Cheney senior designated hitter

Charlie Ebright, Bishop Carroll coach

Matt Robertson, Valley Center coach

All-Metro third team

Cayden Brown, Derby senior pitcher

Taccarri Brown, Northwest sophomore outfielder

Drew Bugner, Andale-Garden Plain senior infielder

Cooper Burke, Maize junior pitcher

Drew Charbonneau, Collegiate senior infielder

Brett Cox, Hesston junior outfielder

Nash Crosby, Valley Center senior infielder

Mason Ellis, Mulvane senior outfielder

Jake Hagemann, Circle senior infielder

Van Haneberg, Bishop Carroll sophomore utility

Austin Harjo, Sedgwick senior infielder

Avery Johnson, Maize junior outfielder

Cole Keesling, Clearwater senior pitcher

Karson Klima, Derby senior infielder

Eli Kuttler, East senior outfielder

Mason Lubbers, Goddard senior outfielder

Easton Norris, Trinity Academy junior infielder

Matt Omundsen, Trinity Academy sophomore pitcher

Whit Rhodes, Hesston sophomore pitcher

Brady Roberts, Douglass senior catcher

Carson Roy, Eisenhower junior outfielder

Sam Schmidt, Maize senior designated hitter

Hunter Seier, Mulvane senior infielder

Jaydon Sundgren, El Dorado senior outfielder

Jack Weakland, Bishop Carroll junior pitcher

Luke Westerman, Derby senior infielder

Brett Wetta, Collegiate sophomore outfielder

Seth Wilhelm, Goddard senior infielder

Kaleb Wise, Halstead junior infielder

Adam McCormick, El Dorado coach

Darrin Rasmussen, Remington coach