Pleasant Grove’s baseball team has won at least 25 games every year since Riley Fincher took over as head coach in 2014.
This season was the sixth in a row, with Fincher guiding the Hawks to a 26-6 record and a berth in the Region II-4A quarterfinals, where they lost a best-of-three series to Kilgore. It should come as no surprise that Fincher has been named Coach of the Year on the Fox Sports Texarkana City All-Star Baseball Team.
Coaches must have great talent, too. Junior shortstop Jackson Cobb is the Fox Sports Texarkana Player of the Year. Cobb was the cornerstone of the Hawks’ defense, and led the team with a .388 batting average. He had 10 doubles,, 10 triples, and a home run in 2019. He scored 39 runs, while contributing 24 stolen bases. Cobb’s on base percentage was .527.
Galvan dominated for Hawks to make All-City
Teams usually don’t record a perfect 12-0 record in district unless they’ve got great talent on the mound. The Hawks had that in Fox Sports Texarkana’s Pitcher of the Year Ryan Galvan.
The crafty southpaw didn’t have an overpowering fastball, but that didn’t keep him from dominating the Hawks’ opposition. Galvan finished 2019 with a perfect 10-0 record and 0.21 ERA. In 75 innings he struck out 96.
Our final superlative goes to Arkansas High sophomore Braylon Bishop. He is the Fox Sports Texarkana Newcomer of the Year after leading the city with a .431 batting average. Bishop had 5 doubles, 1 triple, and a home run. He scored 28 runs, and drove in 13 more. His on base percentage was .515. Bishop also pitched 27 innings, with 52 strikeouts.
Now for our All-City first-team:
Arkansas High’s Cody Adcock was the city’s most dominant pitcher. He posted a 5-2 record. In 54.2 innings he allowed 42 hits, walking 20 and striking out 73. Adcock will be back in 2020, and should be one of Arkansas’ most recruited players.
Behind the plate for the Fox Sports Texarkana All-Stars is Pleasant Grove’s Keaton Russo. He’s dynamite in a small package, evident by his two home runs against Kilgore in the playoffs. Russo finished the season hitting .360 with 10 doubles and 5 home runs. He had 28 RBI and threw out 15 baserunners trying to steal a base.
It was a difficult task settling on four infielders.
Texas High senior Chris Sutton was an easy selection after hitting .372 for the Tigers. He had 4 doubles, 2 triples, 24 runs scored and 17 RBI. His on base average was .505. Sutton was also the Tigers’ closer on the mound. In 14.1 innings he allowed 9 hits and struck out 21 with a 1.18 ERA.
Teammate Rian Cellers joins Sutton in the infield. Head coach John McClure also used Cellers in the outfield, and he was in the Tigers’ pitching rotation at the end of the season. Cellers hit .318 with 5 doubles and a triple. He was 6-4 on the mound, allowing 33 hits in 46.2 innings, with 48 strikeouts.
Jackson Harris was a perfect fit for Arkansas High at first base defensively. He also delivered at the plate, hitting .348.
Our final infielder is Trinity Christian junior Paul Nix. His presence helped make the Warriors a competitive team. Nix hit .311 with an on base percentage of .396. He had 4 doubles and a home run, while stealing 16 bases.
All-City outfield loaded with talented players
There’s no weakness in the Fox Sports Texarkana outfield.
Liberty-Eylau’s Marzavin Riles is a defensive gem, and led the Leopards at the plate with a .315 batting average. His on base average was .450, and he led the team with 3 home runs and 22 stolen bases.
Pleasant Grove senior Seth Hopkins was an bigger threat offensively. Hopkins hit .354, with 12 doubles, 30 runs scored and 21 RBI.
Last, but not least is Texas High senior Connor Allred. Batting from the left side, Allred had an on base average of .533. He had 7 doubles, a home run, 21 runs scored and 21 RBI.
Coming off the bench for the Fox Sports Texarkana All-Stars is utility player Drake Browning. The Arkansas High senior was solid at the plate in 2019, while contributing defensively in the infield, outfield and on the mound. Browning hit .319, with 7 doubles, 1 triple, and a home run. He scored 25 runs, drove in 23, while stealing 18 bases.
Our designated hitter could play outfield for anyone. Texas High senior Chris Lyles hit .376, with a .426 OBA. Lyles had 5 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs, 26 runs scored, and 13 RBI.
The honorable mention list includes Liberty-Eylau pitcher Ben Witterstaetter; Arkansas high catcher Graydon Martin; Pleasant Grove pitchers Nick Voyles and Marshall Oubre; Texas High’s Jackson Halter and Michael Sikorski; and Trinity Christian’s Evan Miller.