High school baseball: MVPs displayed great leadership, plenty of clutch performances
"He's not really a vocal leader, he just leads by example. He's a great kid to all of his teammates, and they believed in him. One of the reasons I went to him in that second game (against Juan Diego) was the fact that I knew if I had to have anybody on the mound in that situation, it was him because of the confidence he has in himself and the way he handles pressure. He's got ice in his veins."
Rylan Anderson, Gunnison
This pitcher/catcher combo also enjoyed a stellar senior season, both with his bat and his pitching arm.
In the pitching department, he posted a perfect 9-0 won-loss record with a microscopic 1.09 ERA and 92 strikeouts, and he also hit .488 to help the Bulldogs sweep the 2A state title and finish 24-2 overall.
His coach, Jared Anderson (no relation), relied heavily on his one-two punch of Rylan Anderson and Ty Bartholomew, and they delivered every day.
"Both of them were like bread and butter, one with the other, they just compliment each other really well," Coach Anderson said. "Rylan got hit in the face with a fastball last year, and he was in the ICU for a couple of days. But he battled back and he was just clutch for us. He did what he needed to do at all times. Those two were our captains and led our team on and off the field."
Rylan, who was Gunnison's student body president this year, also earned Academic All-State honors.
"He's just a great individual and a great baseball player," his coach said. "He batted leadoff, drove in runs, and the thing that's his biggest asset as a player is he was an All-Stater the last two years as a tremendous catcher. No teams ran on him at all. His love is probably catching, and he and Ty caught for each other.
"After we won the championship after being down 4-0 in the final game, Rylan said 'I knew we had it in us. Our team has come back all year. And I just threw my last ball to my best friend.' They've been best friends and buddies forever, and they put a heck of a season together. They put together a 24-2 season and never lost to a 2A team this year.
"He's just a great kid, one of those you hate to lose. He's a class act and I've been proud to coach him."