Mustangs rule the district


The Madisonville baseball team garnered multiple All-District awards for their performances this season including Co-MVP honors for Matt Rudis and Zach Poe.

“We talked a lot about being consistent and improving our play throughout the season, and I think we did a great job of that in district play,” said Madisonville Coach Keith Sitton. “We had a lot of guys who raised their level of play and stayed there. This is something you need as a team and I think we carried it over into the playoffs as well.”

Throughout the season, Matt Rudis had a record of 7-4 on the bump and allowed a total of just 10 runs for an ERA of 0.54. Poe led the team with 39 runs batted in, 14 more than the next most in that category, and was the team’s only player to hit over .400 (.426).

Madisonville’s Ben Phillips was also named the district’s Offensive MVP with a batting average of .308 and 25 runs driven in. The Mustangs who qualified for First Team All-District were Bryce Bennett and Kasey Williamson at pitcher, Sam Bennett at shortstop, Brad Rudis at third base, Corey Shuck in the outfield and Will Hudson at designated hitter. Daniel Young was named to the Second All-District Team in the outfield.

Williamson and Bryce Bennett join Matt Rudis in representing a dominant Madisonville pitching staff in 2018. Bennett posted a final ERA of 1.32 with a record of 7-1 while Williamson was 5-1 with a 3.84 ERA. All told, Mustang pitchers finished the 2018 campaign with a team ERA of 1.88.

Sam Bennett finished his season with a batting average of .374, the second highest on the roster behind Poe, drove home 24 runs and stole a whopping 28 bases. Freshman Brad Rudis impressed with an average of .360 and 17 runs driven in from the hot corner. Outfielder Corey Shuck finished the year with an average of .343 and 19 RBIs while Will Hudson drove home 17 runs with a .333 batting average. Second Team selection Daniel Young hit .265, scored 22 runs and swiped seven bases.

As a team, the Mustangs hit .327 on the season and scored 232 runs. They also completed their league slate with an undefeated record and a district championship.

In a year that saw him surpass the 300-win total, Keith Sitton was also honored as the District Coach of the Year.

“Everything that we focus on is about our team and our players,” said Sitton. “When you have success in doing things right as a team, the individual accolades sort of come with it, and that’s what you’re seeing from our kids and the awards they’ve received. All of our awards are a tribute to how well we play together. If you’re not successful as a team, you won’t be successful as an individual.”

Off the field, 12 Madisonville players were also named to the All-District Academic Team. They earned four more selections in this category than Palestine, who had the district’s second most. The Mustang student-athletes to qualify were Jordan Baker, Sam Bennett, Ben Phillips, Matt Rudis, Brad Rudis, Riley Wood, Brandon Larson, Bryce Bennett, Kasey Williamson, Jake Risinger, Zach Poe and Will Hudson.