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GC Baseball: Kerens celebrates big season with landslide on All-District team

Jun. 7—KERENS — Cole Lancaster's Kerens Bobcats, who went unbeaten with a 14-0 district record before marching to the Class 2A Region III Semifinals, landed 10 players on the 20-2A All-District team.

The Bobcats went 26-7 and produced the best season in the history of the baseball program this spring by marching to within one series victory of reaching the State Tournament. .

Junior Kannon Ritchie was named the district's MVP, his twin brother, Krayton Ritchie, won the Defensive MVP Award and Lane Lynch put an exclamation point on his brilliant four-year career on the Kerens' diamond by winning the Offensive MVP Award.

Kannon was brilliant on the mound and at the plate. He had an awesome season on the mound, putting up head-shaking numbers all year. Kannon went 11-0 with a 0.45 ERA and struck out 165 batters in just 78 innings — an average of 2.11 strikeouts an inning. He gave up just six earned runs all year and did not allow an extra base hit in 2024.

He also had a monster season at the plate, where he hit .349 with a team-leading .522 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage and a whopping 1.064 OPS. Kannon scored 21 runs and drove in 29.

The Ritchie Twins combined to ignite a 21-game winning streak without giving up a run, tossing 19 shutouts. Kerens won a 14-2 Mercy Rule game and a forfeit to account for the other two victories.

Krayton pitched two perfect games over a three-game span, including one to start Kerens' playoff run in which the Ritchie Twins combined to go 7-0 to start the playoffs without allowing a run, tossing 49 scoreless innings of one-hit ball before Beckville scored in a 5-1 loss in Game 2 of the Region Quarterfinals. Krayton also opened the Region Semifinals with a six-inning shutout that Kannon closed with three strikeouts in the seventh to secure a 1-0 victory.

Krayton had his own dazzling season numbers on the mound, going 12-3 for the season with a 0.51 ERA with 116 strikeouts in just 68 innings, and he hit .295 with a .443 on-base percentage, a .420 slugging percentage and an .863 OPS. Krayton scored 23 runs and drove in 27 more.

Lane has been the heart and soul of the Bobcats for four seasons and has played just about everywhere in his career, from shortstop to the outfield and taking over behind the plate as the catcher and leader this season, and he has also pitched for the Bobcats.

He led Kerens in just about every offensive category during the Bobcats' historic breakout season. He led the team in batting (.396), hits (36), extra base hits (14), home runs (2), RBIs (30) and fielding percentage (.994). Lane also had a .521 on-base percentage, and led Kerens with a .593 slugging percentage and a head-shaking 1.114 OPS.

Kerens not only swept the Superlatives on the 20-2A All-District Team, but landed three players on the 20-2A First-Team — junior outfielder Matt Rickard, senior outfielder/pitcher Ryan Priddy and junior shortstop Andy Conklin.

Rickard had a huge season, hitting .337 with a .481 on-base percentage and leading the team in runs (33) and stolen bases (10) while driving in 28 runs and slugging .373 with an 0.853 OPS.

Conklin was a key player at Gold Glove shortstop and as backup pitcher. He hit .307 with a .456 on-base percentage and had 27 hits, scored 25 runs and drove in another 17 runs. Priddy was a senior leader and clutch hitter and invaluable in the outfield and on the mound.

The Bobcats also had three players make the 20-2A Second-Team: Senior second baseman Adrian Solis, who had one of the best gloves on the team and a clutch bat in the lineup, DH Kooper Hill, whose big bat and never-ending energy helped spark the Bobcats, and JJ Hightower, a clutch player who earned Second-Team honors as a versatile Utility player.

Muziq Gunnel, a junior outfielder who ran down everything in center field and gave the Bobcats a threat at the plate in on the bases, was named to the Honorable Mention list.