By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
WASHINGTON — Brayden Walls had one of the best seasons in the history of Washington baseball, and the accolades keep rolling in.
Walls will play in the IHSBCA North-South All -Star Classic beginning with a Saturday doubleheader at Wabash College before concluding with a single Sunday game.
“This is the cream of the crop ¬ all classes combined,” said Washington coach Steve Reed. “It’s the ultimate accomplishment as a player. Obviously during the season you want your team to do well, but once the season is over there’s nothing wrong with getting greedy. If you put the numbers up that Brayden Walls did - the ultimate accomplishment is making the South All-Star team.”
Along with playing against the state’s best players this weekend, Walls also will take his talents to the collegiate level next year. He has signed on to play baseball at the University of Southern Indiana in the fall.
“It’s local and I like the coaches there,” Walls said. “They’re a great program, the campus was absolutely awesome and it just felt like where I should be.”
As the ace starting pitcher, Walls finished with an 8-2 record with a 1.61 ERA. Walls allowed 40 hits in 66 1-3 innings, while striking out 116 and walking only 23. At the plate, he had a .514 batting average, .624 on-base percentage and a 1.129 OPS. His eight home runs, 28 RBI and 36 hits led the team.
“Brayden Walls had probably the biggest season from a statistical standpoint that I’ve ever witnessed,” Reed said. “He did it with the bat, he did it on the mound ¬ just a monster season.”
Walls’ selection to the South All- Star team marked the third straight year a Hatchet was named to the team following the selections of Matt Hooten (2011) and Jalen Hyde (2012).
“It’s such a big honor to be able to be a part of that – it’s the best players in the state,” Walls said. “It’d be an honor to be an honorable mention, let alone be selected for it. You’re playing with the best players in the state. It says a lot about where the (Washington) program is going; it’s really a big honor.”
When Walls heads to Evansville to begin the next step in his baseball career, he will be taking the same path his coach took at his age. Reed played for USI from 1996-2000. Reed said he thinks Walls’ tools will translate very well to the collegiate level.
“I think it’s a great fit for him,” Reed said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Brayden Walls can step right in and contribute at USI. The kid is gifted, he has a chance to play this game for a while ¬ there’s no doubt about that.”
As Reed has gushed many times this season, Walls can do anything on a baseball field that he wants, and Walls, himself, knows there is a tough road ahead with many adjustments, but he¹s ready for the challenge.
“I don’t really know what to expect, I’m just going to work my tail off and hopefully good things will happen,” Walls said