CORPUS CHRISTI - Coaches from 25 area high schools have selected the 2019 Preseason Small School Baseball All-Star Team, which will be recognized at 15th annual South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet, slated for Thursday, January 24 at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel.
The Bishop Badgers, who advanced to the Region IV-3A final series last season, placed three players on the preseason honor team. Junior Kobe Jaramillo was pitcher of the year in District 31-3A last season. First-team all-state by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, Jaramillo won 10 of 12 decisions during the regular year before posting a 0.22 ERA in the postseason.
Senior pitcher Nicolas Hernandez, a repeat preseason selection, earned 2018 first-team all-district honors, going 9-4 with a 0.84 ERA and 147 strikeouts. Completing the Bishop contingent is senior outfielder Tanner Smith, who batted .300 with 15 runs scored and 18 RBIs while not committing an error a year ago.
Senior hurler Brett Brown, who will be honored for the third time at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet, is one of two Sinton Pirates on the squad. His teammate, Mike Mendez, is this year's utility selection. Brown was 2018 District 31-4A Junior of the Year and Mendez took home first-team all-district honors at second base.
Junior Jared Kelley led the 20-3 Refugio Bobcats to the regional quarterfinals last season. Kelly, committed to TCU, hurled three no-hitters and won nine games for the Bobcats, striking out 153 batters against three earned runs and 21 walks in 62.1 frames. His sophomore campaign also featured pitcher of the year recognition on the Victoria Advocate's all-area team. In late November, USA Baseball announced Kelly had secured a spot on the final 20-man roster for its U18 National Team.
Refugio's standout quarterback, Austin Ochoa, serves as the preseason all-stars' shortstop. The recent transfer made the Corpus Christi Caller-Times' 2018 All-South Texas Baseball Team for his efforts as a sophomore at Gregory-Portland. Ochoa was also honored at last year's banquet.
Robstown senior first baseman Joe Robert Velasquez was a third-team all-state selection by THSBCA last season. Fellow Cotton Picker JC Coronado, a junior outfielder, picked up first-team all-district distinction in 2018.
Completing the preseason all-star's pitching staff is Hebbronville senior Zach Trevino, who was a member of the All-South Texas second team a year ago.
The squad's catcher is junior Brad Aynsley of Falfurrias. As a sophomore, Aynsley was second team all-state by THSBCA and first team All-South Texas by the Caller-Times. He batted .411 with 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs, and was voted District 31-3A Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, second baseman Orlando Martinez helped lead Beeville Jones to the school's first regional final appearance since the 1970s. As a sophomore, Martinez notched 36 hits for a .364 batting average and a .444 on-base percentage.
Repeat preseason selection Marty Hinojosa was second team all-district in 31-4A for Ingleside last year. Senior outfielder Elias Carrera is the first Taft High School baseballer to be recognized at the winter banquet. Junior Tristan Ortega of London rounds out the honor squad. Ortega was an all-district second-teamer in 31-3A a year ago.
Joining the small school baseball preseason all-stars at the South Texas Winter Baseball Banquet are the Coastal Bend's top softball players as selected by area coaches. Read more about our Small School Softball All-Stars and Large School Softball All-Stars.
Tickets for the banquet, priced at $55, are on sale now at the Whataburger Field Box Office and via phone at 361-561-HOOK (4665).
2019 South Texas Preseason Small School Baseball All-Star Team
Pitchers: Brett Brown, Sr., Sinton; Nicolas Hernandez, Sr., Bishop; Kobe Jaramillo, Jr., Bishop; Jared Kelley, Jr., Refugio; Zach Trevino, Sr., Hebbronville
Catcher: Brad Aynsley, Jr., Falfurrias
First Base: Joe Robert Velasquez, Sr., Robstown
Second Base: Orlando Martinez, Sr., A.C. Jones
Third Base: Marty Hinojosa, Sr., Ingleside
Shortstop: Austin Ochoa, Jr., Refugio
Outfield: Elias Carrera, Sr., Taft; JC Coronado, Jr., Robstown; Tanner Smith, Sr., Bishop
DH: Tristan Ortega, Jr., London
Utility: Mike Mendez, Sr., Sinton
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.