SIKESTON -- Several area standouts were honored with selection to the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association all-state baseball teams.
Sikeston seniors Blake DeWitt and Jacob Priday were first-team choices in Class 3 as were Oran seniors Matt Seyer and Garrett Roslen in Class 1.
Lance Rhodes, also a Sikeston senior, was a second-team selection, while Charleston senior A. H. Marshall was a Class 2 second-team pick and Oran junior Trevor Irwin was voted to the Class 1 second team.
DeWitt, the recent Los Angeles Dodger draftee as the 28th overall pick in the Major League Draft, earned his third straight first-team all-state honor. As a sophomore in 2002, he was voted to the team as an infielder, then as a pitcher in 2003 and again as an infielder on this year's squad.
DeWitt, whose name is sprinkled throughout the state high school record book in various categories, also holds almost every one of Sikeston High School's records.
"What's so refreshing about Blake, is he's so humble," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "He just wants to play and I think that's exactly why he is going to make it in professional baseball.
"He's not only an all-state player, but, as his draft status proves, he's an All-American, one of the best in the country."
The 6-foot, 175-pound DeWitt, who bats left and throws right, hit .548 with 14 home runs, 50 RBIs and 51 runs scored for the 27-2 Sikeston Bulldogs, who placed third in this year's state baseball playoffs.
He also went 7-1 as a pitcher with a 1.47 ERA. His career high school pitching record stands at 27-1, the only blemish, a 2-1 loss in this year's state semifinals.
Priday, a strapping 6-1, 195 pounder with above-average speed, made the all-state squad as a catcher and was also a first-team choice last year.
Said Self, "Jacob (Priday) has put up some tremendous numbers for us. He has special tools as a catcher. He runs and throws extremely well. When teams have chosen to pitch around Blake, he has made 'em pay."
Priday, who has committed to the University of Missouri to continue his diamond career, hit a team-leading .571 with eight home runs, 44 RBIs and 50 runs scored.
Rhodes, a 6-foot, 170-pound righthander, made the all-state second team as a pitcher.
He compiled a 9-0 mark as a starter with a 2.18 ERA and eight complete games.
The versatile Rhodes, who has signed with St. Louis University, also played all the middle infield positions and the outfield for the Bulldogs and hit at a .392 clip with four homers and 25 RBIs.
"He can play anywhere," said Self. "He really solidified the top of our batting order. When one of the others had a bad day, he picked them up."
Added Self, "They're all big reasons why we won so many games the last two years."
Other area selections in Class 3 were Lee Essner, a senior at Cape Girardeau Notre Dame, who was voted to the first team as a utility player and Notre Dame senior Matt Wulfers, a second-team choice as an outfielder.
Surprising Oran, the runners-up in this year's Class 1 state playoffs, placed two players, seniors Seyer and Roslen, on the all-state first team, and junior Irwin on the second team.
Seyer, who led Oran to a 23-4 record, was voted to the all-state team as an infielder.
He hit a team-leading .474 with 28 RBIs and 52 runs scored and was also the workhorse of the Oran pitching staff with a 9-3 record as a starter and picked up two saves in relief.
"He was one of our senior leaders, our go-to guy all year long," said Oran coach Mitch Wood.
Roslen, a power-hitting outfielder, led the Eagles with 38 RBIs and tied Seyer for the team lead in homers with four. His .398 batting average was third-best among the Oran regulars.
"Garrett was a clutch player," said Wood. "He started out a little slow, but picked it up around the middle of the season and really carried us down the stretch to our state run. A lot of teams feared his bat."
Irwin, a second-team infielder, hit .458 with 32 RBIs, both stats second-best for the Eagles. He also posted a 3-1 record as a pitcher.
Said Wood, "Trevor's a quiet kid, but he lets his bat and glove speak for him. We're looking forward to having him back next year in a leadership role for us."
Catcher A. H. Marshall led Charleston to its best-ever record of 14-8. He hit for a .449 average with 26 RBIs and set a single-season school record with 31 runs scored.
Marshall, a tough out, struck out only twice in 78 at-bats. Find the rest of the all-state team in the scoreboard on page 11.