2024 Journal-World All-Area Baseball Team

photo by: Journal-World Sports Staff

The Journal-World All-Area Teams.

photo by: Chance Parker/Special to the Journal-World

Free State coach Mike Hill talks to his team during the 6A State Championships at Hoglund Ballpark on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Coach of the Year: Mike Hill, Free State

Mike Hill and the Free State Firebirds posted a 23-6 overall record in 2024 and finished third in the 6A baseball state championship. It was the third time in four years that the Firebirds have placed third in the state tournament.

Eli Dean

Player of the Year: Eli Dean, Perry-Lecompton

Eli Dean had one of the best bats in the state as he set a school record for batting average at .591. The junior earned First Team All-State and unanimous First Team All-Big 7 Conference middle infielder. Dean finished with only three hitless games in 2024 and recorded multiple hits in 12 of 20 games. In a 30-29 win over Riverside on April 1, Dean went 5-for-5 from the plate and scored six runs.

Lawrence High junior Austin Crawford celebrates with his teammates after crossing home plate during a 7-5 win over Southern Boone on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence.

Austin Crawford, Lawrence

In his senior year with the Lions, Crawford batted .375 with 29 singles, 10 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. The shortstop also earned second-team All-Sunflower League recognition and a 6A all-state honorable mention.

Brett Davidson

Brett Davidson, Baldwin

Davidson played both corner infield spots for the Bulldogs and batted .500 from the plate. The junior scored 21 runs, batted in 26 runs and stole 10 bases while being one of Baldwin’s leaders in the dugout.

Brock Gibbs

Brock Gibbs, Tonganoxie

As a junior, Gibbs batted .400 with a .500 on-base percentage. The infielder earned first-team All-Frontier League and second-team 4A All-State honors.

photo by: Sarah Buchanan/Special to the Journal-World

Free State senior Kyle Graves winds up during the City Showdown on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at Hoglund Ballpark.

Kyle Graves, Free State

Graves finished his Free State career batting .473 from the plate with 27 RBIs and nine doubles. Some of Graves’s best work came on the mound, where he went 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA. He threw 36 strikeouts against only nine walks and was first-team All-State as both a shortstop and a pitcher.

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Free State senior Mason Lester rips a ground ball over to first base during a home game vs. Shawnee Mission North on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at FSHS.

Mason Lester, Free State

Lester played third base for the Firebirds and reached second-team All-Sunflower League after batting .344 with 25 RBIs as a senior. Lester also made honorable mention for the All-State team and helped the Firebirds take third in the 6A state baseball tournament.

James Lee

James Lee, Veritas Christian

Lee improved his already strong sophomore ERA of 2.33 to a 0.79 ERA with 91 strikeouts as a junior this season. At the plate, he batted .403 with a .507 on-base percentage. In the state tournament, Lee was named the MVP.

Trevor McGraw

Trevor McGraw, Tonganoxie

McGraw earned First Team 4A All-State and First Team All-Frontier League honors in his senior year as a utility player and pitcher. At the plate, he hit .427 with a .546 on-base percentage. On the mound, he threw 44 1/3 innings with 54 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA.

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Lawrence High senior Sammy Stoll shares a chat with his coach and father, Brad Stoll, during Wednesday’s Autism Awareness Game with Olathe West on April 24, 2024, at LHS. The Lions fell to the Owls 7-3.

Sam Stoll, Lawrence

Stoll hit .324 at the plate with 13 RBIs and five stolen bases. He earned second-team All-Sunflower League and a 6A All-State honorable mention. The senior first baseman and outfielder finished his career with the Lions with only three errors across his three varsity years.

Braeden VanDonge

Braeden VanDonge, Eudora

VanDonge batted .443 with a 1.213 OPS, which were both in the top five of the Frontier League. The junior also led the league with a 27% throw-out percentage.

Honorable Mention: Austin Alvarez (Veritas); Jack Cline (Eudora); Zac Essman (Baldwin); Blaine Hunninghake (Veritas); Tristen Kapelle (Baldwin); Blaine Larkin (Free State); Ryder Nigh (Baldwin); Dakota Pringle (Eudora); Vaughn Wells (Lawrence).

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