Two juniors from Grain Valley High School and an “old-school” infielder from Truman are the lone area representatives on the Missouri Baseball Coaches Association All-State teams.
Grain Valley pitcher Jacob Misiorowski and center fielder Mason Rogers and Truman infielder Josh Patrick are the only all-state players from Eastern Jackson County this season. Misiorowski and Patrick are Class 5 second-team members and Rogers was named honorable mention.
“I don’t know what I can say about those two guys that I haven’t said so many times this season,” Eagles coach Brian Driskell said of the two underclassmen who are expected to play a pivotal role for the team in 2020. “First, they’re juniors – and I like that (chuckling). We’ve had some fast kids on the team, but never anyone as fast as Mason. He gets on, and before you know it, he’s at third base. Like Little League, he steals second, steals third and then someone drives him home.”
Rogers and Misiorowski were two big reasons the Eagles finished their first season in Suburban Conference play with a 20-10 record and won their Suburban Small Seven championship with ease, finishing with a 9-1 record.
Rogers hit .375, with an on-base percentage of .464. He had 34 hits, including eight extra-base hits, and 21 RBIs from his leadoff position. The speedster set a school record with 35 stolen bases.
He was also second at the state track and field meet as a member of the Eagles’ 400-meter relay team and as part of the fourth-place 800 relay team.
“He’s all-state in baseball and all-state in track and two seasons are at the same time,” Driskell said of Rogers. “That’s pretty amazing and shows what a great athlete he is.”
Misiorowski, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma State University, finished with a 9-2 record and 1.48 ERA. In 47 innings, he had 67 strikeouts and he threw a pair of no-hitters against Fort Osage and Platte County. Opponents hit just .140 against him and he allowed just 19 hits all season.
“Jake single-handedly put our team on his back several times throughout the season to give us the opportunity to win a game,” Driskell said of the junior pitcher. “If it was a big game, Jacob was on the mound.
“But think about this – he allowed just 19 hits all season. That’s nuts. He’s that good, and he’s only going to get better.”
Rogers and Misiorowski both seemed more excited about sharing the all-state honor with their teammate than they did earning the award themselves.
“Man, Mason meant so much to the team,” Misiorowksi said. “He’d get on base, and you’d look up and he’d be on third – he’s fast! I had a lot of success, but I owe so much of it to my coaches and teammates. I think Mason deserved more than honorable mention, but next season we want to make a deep run into the playoffs and have more people see Mason and the other guys on the team play.”
The Eagles lost to Blue Springs South in the district championship game this season.
“That’s what’s so special about having two guys on the team, because we didn’t go as far as we had hoped for in the playoffs,” their coach added. “They both deserve it. They really do – and the best thing about this is that they are better kids than they are players and that is a credit to their folks.”
Rogers, who was on the road in Omaha, Nebraska, with his Mac ‘n Seitz summer baseball league team, was thrilled with the honor.
“It’s so cool to share it with Jake,” Rogers said. “When he pitched, we just felt like we were going to win. He’s one of the best high school pitchers I’ve ever seen.”
When asked about being all-state in two sports, Rogers added, “It’s cool. But it’s all about my teammates – the guys I run with on the relay teams and the guys on the baseball team. We’re all just one big family. I didn’t expect this, but it’s pretty cool.”
Truman coach Corey Lathrom was thrilled that Patrick earned second-team all-state recognition.
Patrick had a .428 average and a .786 slugging percentage. He finished the season with 35 hits and five home runs, and he played every inning of every game for the third season in a row. He was also the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 5 All-Star Game MVP and he has signed to play at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, next year.
“Josh is a kid who just plays the game the right way,” Lathrom said. “He is an old-school kid who loves the daily grind. He is a leader in the weight room and hustles all the time, which was the first thing opposing coaches always noticed.
“Josh runs harder from the on-deck circle to grab a foul ball than most guys do trying to beat out an infield grounder.
“I’m thrilled for him. I may never coach another kid like Josh. We’re going to miss him.”
Patrick was happy to realize one of his objectives for this season.
"Being all-state was one of my goals this season, so this is really specail to me," said Patrick, who played third base mainly this season. "
Patrick said he heeded some advice from former coach and Truman graduate Chad Abernathy.
"I just love (the game)," Patrick said. "A former coach of mine (Abernathy) talked about attitude and effort. You don't need talent to have attitude and effort."