The brand of hardball played in New Braunfels and the surrounding areas this season was once again gritty and hyper competitive.

Canyon, New Braunfels and Smithson Valley all fought through a difficult field in District 26-6A to qualify for the postseason. Naturally, all three teams earned their fair share of accolades from the league as well.

The list was headlined by Newcomer of the Year winner Ryan Woodward of New Braunfels. The junior outfielder burst onto the scene for the Unicorns and batted .394 for the season while also providing stellar defense.

The year’s MVP honor went to East Central southpaw Matthew Luna. The junior led the Hornets to a 12-2 record in 26-6A and a district title.

The Cougars came on strong at the end of the regular season and took second place in district thanks to their five all-district picks — James Perez, Payne McKay, Ethan Garcia, Chance Reisdorph and Austin Stracener.

Perez, a senior first baseman, and McKay, a senior outfielder, both landed on the all-district first team. Perez provided an abundance of power at the plate and batted .403 with 40 RBIs and 23 runs scored. McKay, the leadoff man, hit .296 with 32 runs scored and 25 RBIs.

The trio of Garcia, Reisdorph and Stracener all earned a place on the second team. A freshman pitcher, Garcia recorded six wins and tallied an ERA off 3.25 while striking out 49. Reisdorph, a sophomore catcher, posted a batting average of .359 to go along with 22 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Stracener, a sophomore shortstop, hit .262 with 28 runs scored and 26 RBIs this season.

Head coach Reagan Moczygemba’s team went 25-11 this past year and 10-4 in 26-6A play. Those 25 wins are the program’s mosts since 2008.

The Unicorns followed up Woodward’s honor with six all-district selections — first-team choices Clay Coronado, Braden Fox, Garrett Thompson and Will Tillman and second-team picks Myles Miller and Justin McDonald.

Coronado, a junior pitcher, posted a 6-2 record with a 1.47 ERA and 43 strikeouts. Fox, a senior right-hander, picked up five wins this season with a 3.27 ERA and 41 Ks.

Thompson, a junior outfielder, was a spark plug for New Braunfels and batted .339 with 18 runs scored and 15 RBIs. Tillman, a senior third baseman, was the most reliable hitter in the order and notched a .463 batting average in addition to 40 RBIs and 29 runs scored.

Miller, a junior southpaw, notched three wins and a pair of saves this year while sporting a 3.33 ERA. McDonald, a senior first baseman, batted .319 with 20 runs driven in.

Head coach Bobby Alford’s Unicorns took third in district this season and finished with an overall record of 17-17-1.

The Rangers placed four performers — Jarek Wells, Kasen Wells, Rob Ruff and Matt Franco — on either the first or second team.

The duo of Jarek and Kasen Wells were each unanimous first-team selection at their respective positions. Jarek, a junior pitcher, took over Smithson Valley’s ace role and went 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 60 punchouts. Kasen Wells, a freshman outfielder, hit .518 with 26 runs scored and 17 RBIs.

Ruff, a senior shortstop, joined Jarek and Kasen on the 26-6A first team. Ruff batted .345 this season and also provided 15 RBIs.

Franco, a junior pitcher, rounded out the list of honorees. He was 4-2 during the 2019 campaign with a 3.77 ERA.

Head coach Chad Koehl’s club wrapped up the fourth-place playoff spot in 26-6A and nearly pushed state semifinalist Lake Travis into a decisive third game. Smithson Valley’s overall record was 15-18-1.

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