Sparks sees time on field at baseball all-star game
Derek Sparks made a brief appearance in the eighth annual Border Battle last week at Rockhurst University.
But with 26 players each on the Missouri and Kansas all-star baseball teams, most players were in the same situation.
Because of so many baseball players on the roster, the game lasted 12 innings. Sparks played in four of them. He went 0-for-1 and had one ground ball hit to him at shortstop.
"I fielded it and threw it over there, so I guess I did all right," Sparks said of making the routine play to first.
The Kansas City Metro Baseball Coaches Association picks players for the two squads. THS coach Andy Gilner submitted Sparks' stats, which caught the eye of the committee.
"His leadership qualities were very important to us," Gilner said, noting that Sparks probably was the team's most consistent player.
In 21 games, Sparks had 68 at-bats, 30 hits and 8 RBI. Of those 39 hits, eight were doubles. He also had one home run. The senior carried a .441 average.
Defensively, he had 25 putouts and 58 assists, but had just 12 errors.
"He led our team in about every category," Gilner said.
Sparks played four years for Tonganoxie High and currently is on Tonganoxie's American Legion team.
Sparks is looking to play collegiate baseball, but still is undecided where he will enroll at in the fall.
The Kansas team won the game, 18-4, as Sparks and two other Kaw Valley League players were on the roster. Mill Valley's Andy Marques played, while teammate Tyson Corley was on the roster, but couldn't make the game. Also on the team were Bishop Ward catcher Jason Docman, pitcher Brendan Higgins and infielder Brad Wiss. Bishop Ward, which will join the Kaw Valley League next year, won the Class 4A state title last month.