CORPUS CHRISTI - Refugio High School's Jarod Kay and Incarnate Word Academy's Josh Aguas - both first-year head coaches - will be recognized at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet for their teams' standout 2019 campaigns.
The banquet, presented by Whataburger, is Thursday, January 30 at the Solomon P. Ortiz Center in Corpus Christi. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $55 and available for purchase at the Whataburger Field Box Office, or via phone at 361-561-HOOK (4665).
Kay, the 2019 Corpus Christi Caller-Times All-South Texas Baseball Coach of the Year, helmed a Bobcats club that won 27 games, including an 18-1 mark during the regular year. The lone setback was opposite 4A power Sinton, a 4-1 decision at Gene Kasprzyk Field on April 6. Refugio outscored its opponents 166-8 during an undefeated run in district play, capturing the 31-2A title.
Kay's charges rolled through the first three rounds of the postseason, sweeping Sabinal, Ben Bolt and Evadale in three-game series. Refugio was denied its first trip to the state tournament by dropping two of three to eventual state champion Dallardsville Big Sandy in the regional finals.
Ace pitcher Jared Kelley was chosen as the Victoria Advocate's All-Area Baseball Team MVP as the junior posted an 11-0 record and 0.22 ERA, cementing his status as baseball's top prep pitching prospect entering the 2020 season, according to MLB.com. The Advocate also tabbed junior Austin Ochoa and freshman Jordan Kelley as its offensive player of the year and newcomer of the year, respectively. Junior Colten Hesseltine, who won four games and notched nine saves while striking out 34 in 30 1/3 innings, also earned first-team acclaim on the all-area squad.
Aguas lifted the Angels to a 20-7-2 record and their first state tournament appearance since 2003. With juniors Perry Burkett and Zach Zepeda at the top of its pitching rotation, IWA captured the TAPPS Division II District 6 title. The Angels' regular-season exploits included a pair of victories over crosstown rival John Paul II.
IWA dispatched Fort Bend Christian and San Antonio TMI-Episcopal before suffering a 3-0 setback to Houston Lutheran South in the state semifinal. The Pioneers went on to defend their 2018 state title by upending Fort Worth Christian in the TAPPS Division II final.
Burkett went 10-1 while striking out 105 batters against six earned runs in 76 1/3 innings, securing first-team all-state honors. Zepeda joined Burkett on the first-team all-district squad, with sophomore Jaime Baldwin III and juniors Sean Rodriguez and Joseph Garcia taking home second-team honors.
Kay and Aguas will be joined on the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet stage by their softball counterparts, Teresa Lentz of Calallen High School and Banquete's Kevin Hermes.
The 16th annual event will also recognize preseason high school all-stars, featuring 57 student-athletes from 25 area high schools. Read more on the teams: Small School Softball | Large School Softball | Small School Baseball | Large School Baseball.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.