Kansas’ best play in baseball All-Star game

By Joel Jellison

On the day he was awarded as the Class 3A Player of the Year, Rock Creek’s Josh Srna helped the Blue team defeat the Red team 11-7 at the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches’ All-Star game on Wednesday.

Srna went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and a triple, and his performance was only topped by a Blue team teammate in Junction City’s Nick Heath, who went 4-for-5 and finished a home run shy of a cycle.

Srna’s Rock Creek teammate Ryan Harshbarger also played for the Blue team, finishing the game 0-for-3. Rock Creek coach Chad Herren was a coach for the Blue team. Manhattan’s Derek Francis played for the White team in game two in a 17-7 loss to the Purple team.

Srna said it was a good chance to wear his Rock Creek hat again, and to see some higher level pitching.

“It’s always a privilege to represent Rock Creek again, and I thought I did pretty good,” he said. “I got to see a lot more heat. The first guy who pitched was throwing 95 and that’s about 10 more than I’m used to seeing, so it was pretty impressive.”

Srna, who will play baseball at Washburn next season, was honored between games as the 3A Player of the Year.

The Rock Creek catcher also said it was a great opportunity to play alongside a future Washburn teammate in Olathe South’s Connor Brady.

Srna, who said he will play catcher and second base for the Ichabods, got a chance to be alongside a player when his name was called for the MLB Draft. Blue Valley’s Hayden Edwards was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 31st round, just moments after he left the mound in Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Srna said Edwards casually told everyone he had just been drafted, which he said was a pretty cool experience to be around.

All in all, Srna said the chance to come back to Tointon after the Mustangs first-round exit from state, was a rewarding one.

“We played here at state and it was nice to come back here, I always enjoy it,” he said. “To get to come back here after state, it was a pretty good experience.”

Francis had two for hits for the White team in his final high school contest, opening his day with a triple. He scored a run on each hit.

The Purple team put the game away in the seventh inning with a grand slam from Maize’s Ryan McBroom.

Francis said it was a fun way to finish off his high school career.

“It was a blast, playing with different guys is fun, just getting to know everybody,” he said. “Whenever you get a chance to play at K-State, it’s fun, playing on turf is great.”

Francis will attend Iowa Western next year, a junior college that is fresh off winning a national title. He said he hopes the team can reach that level again next season, giving him a chance to compete on the highest level of junior college baseball.

The recent MHS grad said the culmination of his high school career is both a sad and happy moment.

“Closing out the high school career is sad, but I’m moving on to college now and playing another level of baseball,” he said. “I’m going to miss high school baseball and everything I’ve done. I’m going to miss coach (Don) Hess and all that, but this was a good way to close it out.”

KABC Player of the Year Collin Wiles was in attendance between games on Wednesday. The Blue Valley West product was drafted by the Texas Rangers on Monday in the first round of the MLB Draft, but he did not participate in the games.

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