LEAGUE CITY – In the 2013 season, Clear Creek junior first baseman Harrison Hill couldn’t crack the Mendoza Line. This year, Hill shattered the school’s single-season record for runs batted in during the very definition of a breakout year.

Hill batted .189 in his sophomore season on the varsity squad, and knew he would not have much to contribute to the team unless he did something to improve — thus leaving him with plenty of work to do in the offseason.

“You have to sacrifice a lot of time hanging out with your friends to come out (to the baseball field) to work,” Hill said. “In the fall, though, all the weightlifting and training helped a lot, too, getting my endurance up.”

During the first tournament of Clear Creek’s regular season, Hill said he overhauled his approach in the batter’s box and was encouraged by his coach to just swing as hard as he could. Hill smashed a two-run home run against Kingwood in the tournament, the beginning of a season-long hot hitting streak.

“After the first three tournaments, when I started getting all these RBIs with runners in scoring position, that’s when I realized that I could break the RBI record,” Hill said. “So, that was my goal for the rest of the season, was to break the RBI record.”

Hill led the Wildcats in RBIs with 50 — which broke the previous school record 40 and was 22 more than his next closest teammate this season — and in batting average with a .414 mark. Hill also had team-high 16 extra-base hits, including three home runs, and added 13 stolen bases.

“It’s just part of growing up,” said Wildcats coach Brent Kunefke. “He started to understand the game more and started to have some quality at-bats.”

Hill’s meteoric rise has come with plenty of postseason accolades — district most valuable player, a selection to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association’s 5A all-state team and an appearance in the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association’s juniors all-star game, to name a few.

Now Hill can add another honor to the list as the 2014 Daily News’ All-County Player of the Year.

This season, Hill was the most valuable player on a Clear Creek squad filled with talent, leading the Wildcats to a District 24-5A championship with an 11-1 district record and a run to the regional quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

Both Hill and Kunefke, the All-County Coach of the Year, also gave credit to the batters surrounding Hill, whose quality hitting made it possible for so many runners to be driven home all season.

“The biggest factor for him, as far as breaking the school record, was those guys who got on in front of him,” Kunefke said. “If you go back and look at runs scored on the season, and you see Satchel (McElroy) scoring 46 and (Michael) Rohland scoring 47, Landon (Etzel) scoring 35. Yeah, (Hill) had a lot to do with driving those guys in, but if those guys don’t get on, he doesn’t have that opportunity.”

After etching his name in the Clear Creek baseball record books, it would seem like tough task for Hill to top his 2014 campaign next year for his senior season. But Hill is looking on improving his pitch recognition and hitting breaking pitches, and he has a message for Wildcats baseball fans — the best has yet to come.

“It’s weird to look back and see I did so good because I feel like I didn’t even do that good,” Hill said. “Next year, I should be four times better than what I just did.”


All-County Baseball

Player of the Year: Harrison Hill, junior, Clear Creek

Offensive Player of the Year: Tim Johnson, junior, Santa Fe

Defensive player of the Year: Drew Barba, senior, Friendswood

Coach of the Year: Brent Kunefke, Clear Creek

First Team

P: Brandon Holder, senior, Santa Fe

C: Baine Schoenvogel, senior, Ball High

1B: Harrison Hill, junior, Clear Creek

2B: David Hernandez, senior, Ball High

SS: Tim Johnson, junior, Santa Fe

3B: Drew Barba, senior, Friendswood

OF: Jake Simon, junior, Ball High

OF: Satchel McElroy, junior, Clear Creek

OF: Preston Plovanich, junior, Santa Fe

DH: Landon Etzel, sophomore, Clear Creek

Second Team

P: Zach Esquivel, junior, Clear Creek

C: Anthony Cole, senior, Clear Creek

1B: Walker Williams, senior, Friendswood

2B: Stephen Garcia, senior, Clear Creek

3B: Jordan Gunter, junior, Santa Fe

SS: Carter Gwynne, junior, Friendswood

OF: Michael Rohland, junior, Clear Creek

OF: Logan Alexander, senior, Dickinson

OF: Lael Lockhart, sophomore, Friendswood

DH: Brandon Upton, junior, Clear Springs

Honorable mention

P: Blake Chisholm, senior, Clear Springs; Mario Reyes, senior, Ball High; Ryan Shetter, junior, Friendswood

C: Tyler Hockenbury, junior, Santa Fe

1B: Joey Silvas, senior, Dickinson

2B: Itchy Burts, sophomore, Clear Springs

3B: Michael Herrera, sophomore, Texas City

SS: Travis Spruiell, senior, Dickinson

LF: Zach Powell, senior, Texas City

CF: Ryan Bertelsman, sophomore, Friendswood

OF: Josh Elvir, senior, Clear Falls

DH: Sean Kelly, senior, Clear Creek


All-District Teams

District 24-5A

MVP: Harrison Hill, Clear Creek

Newcomer of the Year: Itchy Burts, Clear Springs

Manager of the Year: Brent Kunefke, Clear Creek

First Team

P: Anthony Dahl, Brazoswood; Blake Chisholm, Clear Springs; Zach Esquivel, Clear Creek; Joey Pulido, Brazoswood; Matt Svehla, Clear Brook

C: Anthony Cole, Clear Creek

1B: Zack Rheams, Brazoswood

2B: Stephen Garcia, Clear Creek

3B: Landon Etzel, Clear Creek

SS: Cory Julks, Clear Brook

OF: Logan Alexander, Dickinson; Kyle Jakubik, Clear Brook; Dustin Lacaze, Brazoswood; Satchel McElroy, Clear Creek; Michael Rohland, Clear Creek

DH: Sean Kelly, Clear Creek

Utility: Joey Silvas, Dickinson

Second Team

P: Eric Berno, Clear Lake; Mike Britt, Clear Brook; Chase Lowman, Clear Falls; Aron Solis, Clear Creek

C: Brandon Upton, Clear Springs

1B: Cody Williams, Clear Brook

2B: Travis Pruiell, Dickinson

3B: Landon Cooper, Brazoswood

SS: Alex Britz, Clear Lake

OF: Matt Currie, Clear Springs; Josh Elvir, Clear Falls; Kyle Vance, Clear Lake

Honorable mention

P: Jesus Buendia, Dickinson; Will Criss, Clear Lake; Colin Fries, Clear Falls; Trevor Pardo, Clear Creek; Jake West, Clear Lake

C: Chris Brandli, Clear Falls; Jerry Guel, Brazoswood; Logan Madden

1B: Hunter LaGrange, Clear Falls

2B: Brett Farroux, Clear Brook

Joel McDonald, Clear Lake

SS: Victor Garcia, Clear Falls

District 24-4A

MVP: Mario Moralez, Goose Creek Memorial

Co-Offensive Players of the Year: Carlos Gonzalez, Galena Park; Tim Johnson, Santa Fe

Defensive Player of the Year: Ryan Shetter, Friendswood

Co-Newcomer of the year: Lael Lockhart, Friendswood; Drake Rainer, Pearland Dawson

First Team

P: Shannon Broussard, Goose Creek Memorial; Dennis Cooper, Goose Creek Memorial; Brandon Holder, Santa Fe; Mario Reyes, Ball High

C: Baine Schoenvogel, Ball High

1B: Jordan Gunter, Santa Fe

2B: David Hernandez, Ball High

3B: Drew Barba, Friendswood

SS: JoJo Valencia, Goose Creek Memorial

OF: Fabian Arriazola, Baytown Lee; Ryan Bertelsman, Friendswood; Preston Plovanich, Santa Fe; Zach Powell, Texas City; Jake Simon, Ball High

DH: Collin Hopkins, Pearland Dawson

Utility: Theron Stockwell, Goose Creek Memorial

Second Team

P: Sam Boake, Pearland Dawson; Josh Crain, Friendswood; Andrew Lord, Baytown Lee; Ty Neuman, Santa Fe; Blake Toler, Pearland Dawson

C: Tyler Hockenbury, Santa Fe

1B: Walker Williams, Friendswood

2B: Jacob Gwynne, Friendswood; Malik Michel, Goose Creek Memorial

3B: Michael Herrera, Texas City

SS: Carter Gwynne, Friendswood

OF: Chase Ball, Goose Creek Memorial; Austin Lord, Baytown Lee; Josh Perez, Galena Park; Matt Sonnier, Pearland Dawson

DH: Sean Lanphier, Goose Creek Memorial

Utility: Tony Carrillo, Pearland Dawson; Santos Torres, Galena Park

Contact Sports Editor James LaCombe at 409-683-5242 or  james.lacombe@galvnews.com.

(4) comments

John Huskey

How does a sophomore athlete who plays 3rd base receive Honors of 1st Team All District, 1st Team All Houston Area, and 1st Team All STATE, make the All County Team as 1st Team Designated Hitter?

If I was this young man, I would feel disrespected!

JCHjr55

Gwisko

Who decides All-County honors??? Couple of these make no sense. And are out of positons they played.

JBG JBG

Guys, what do yall think about the school coaches in the County getting involved with these selections? I'm not saying the sportswriters have to give up the process but at least consult with or allow the County Coaches who are familiar with the kids, a piece of the process. What do yall think?

John Huskey

This idea has merit and MAY be fairer to the athletes involved.

JCHjr55

Welcome to the discussion.

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