Benton’s Rutledge, Craft named co-MVPs on All-District 1-4A baseball team

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Benton seniors Jackson Rutledge and Tanner Craft have been named co-MVPs on the All-District 1-4A baseball team selected by the district’s coaches.

Rutledge, an Arkansas signee, and Craft helped the Tigers win their fourth straight district championship. Benton went 10-0 in district, outscoring its opponents 124-2. The Tigers finished 20-13 and reached the Class 4A quarterfinals for the fourth straight year.

Rutledge, a left-hander, went 5-5 for the full season with a 1.633 ERA. He had 104 strikeouts in 60 innings.

Craft, a right-hander, went 9-3 with a 1.937 ERA. He had 63 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings. Craft was also one of the Tigers’ top hitters. He batted .374 with 22 RBI, four doubles and two triples.

Benton placed eight other players on the first team — senior catcher Austin Beck; sophomore infielders Cody Norris, Garrett Hable and Taylor Ward; senior outfielder Wade Grubbs, freshman outfielder Sam Simmons, junior outfielder Coleman Nerren and junior utility Connor Jack Smith.

Grubbs led the Benton starters with a .427 average. He had seven doubles, one triple and one home run. He also walked 20 times and had an on-base percentage of .547.

Nerren was second on the team in batting with a .421 average. He had 16 RBI, five doubles and an on-base percentage of .493.

Smith led the Tigers with 26 RBI. He batted .389 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs.

Simmons batted .396 and was second on the team with 25 RBI. He had 12 doubles, two triples, one home run and an on-base percentage of .491.

Norris batted .370 with 21 RBI. He had 11 doubles and a triple. Hable batted .290 with 12 RBI and eight doubles. Ward hit .250 and had 15 RBI and four doubles.

Beck was outstanding behind the plate for the Tigers. He had a fielding percentage of .991 and made just two errors. Beck had nine RBI and reached base 10 times via hit-by-pitch.

Bossier placed two players on the first team — freshman pitcher Jon-Mikal Robertson and senior utility Brent Wroblewski.

Robertson was 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA. He had 34 strkeouts in 33 innings.

Wroblewski batted .487 with eight doubles, two triples and 26 RBI.

Benton junior pitcher Will Hine and senior pitcher Jake Pierrelee were second-team selections.

Bossier’s second-team selections were freshman infielder Chase Bonds, senior outfielder, David Dunson and junior utility Derrick Jones.

Benton senior Tyler Self was an honorable mention selection. Bossier sophomores Kevin McCuthen and Devon Smith also made honorable mention.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com