MANHATTAN — Nick Heath turned the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches All-Star game into his own personal highlight reel.
The Junction City High School senior outfielder went 4-for-5 at the plate Wednesday afternoon — a home run shy of the cycle — and made a sparkling diving catch in right field to help the Blue team roll to an 11-7 win over the Red at Tointon Family Stadium on the Kansas State University campus.
If there were a game’s most valuable player to be named, Heath would have taken home the hardware.
“I think he’s definitely one of them that would have been considered,” said Great Bend’s Jace Bowman, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate and scored a run for the Red while batting in the No. 9 slot as the team’s designated hitter.
“We played against (Heath) during school ball in the spring and he’s definitely a good player. He was a good player then and he’s definitely gotten better. He had a heckuva game today.”
Bowman had the Red team’s first hit, lining a single to left in the third and later scoring their second run. He also hit into a 5-4-3 double play in the fifth, had a single to center in the sixth and reached on a fielder’s choice on a deep grounder to short in the eighth.
“I was pretty pleased with how I hit,” Bowman said. “I hit some hard balls and unfortunately, I hit a couple right at some people.
“I was just excited to play and this was a great opportunity. I had a lot of fun today, met a lot of great kids and a lot of great baseball players.”
The lid-lifter of two games, the Red vs. Blue game was televised on Cox Channel 22, the first time a KABC all-star game has been shown live.
“This was one of the most fun things I have ever gotten to participate in,” Bowman said, “and I’m just glad that I was blessed enough to play in this game.”
The line for Heath, a baseball signee at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.: a single in the first, a double in the second, a triple in the fourth and a single in the sixth before flying out to center in the seventh.
Heath led off the game with a base hit, and the Blue proceeded to load the bases. Goddard’s Austin White later stroked a three-run triple as the Blue owned a 4-0 lead after one inning.
In the second, Heath doubled and later scored the first of two Blue runs for an early 6-0 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish despite the Red closing to within 7-5 in the fourth.
Lawrence’s CJ Roush led off the Red’s half of the fourth with a triple into the alley in left-center and crossed the plate on Trae Smith’s RBI single.
Nick Hammeke of Hays’ Thomas More-Prep Marian and Billy Kirkpatrick of Shawnee Mission East stroked RBI singles to make it a two-run game.
But the Blue team put it out of reach with a four-run uprising in the sixth, keyed by a two-run triple by Rock Creek catcher Josh Srna and Labette County’s Hunter Seibert’s two-run double.
Bowman was a first-team Class 5A all-state selection by the KABC and a first-team all-conference pick in the Western Athletic Conference this past season for the Panthers.
Bowman, a second baseman, finished the spring with a team-leading 36 hits in a team-most 75 at-bats for a team-high .480 average. He also led GBHS in singles (24), home runs (2), runs batted in (22), slugging percentage (.707) and on-base percentage (.557).
Bowman ranked second on the team in doubles (9) for the Panthers, who finished 14-8 after falling to Goddard 8-0 in a regional championship game at Goddard.
Bowman, also a first-team All-WAC basketball player and the Panthers’ leading scorer this past winter, considered playing basketball for Barton Community College in 2012-13.
“I think that I have decided that I want to play baseball next year,” Bowman said. “But I haven’t decided where yet.
Barton and Tabor College in Hillsboro are two potential suitors, among others.
In the second game of the day, the Purple team handed the White a 17-7 setback.
GAME NOTES — The Red team’s starting batting order was as follows: RF Austin Kochsmeier (Kansas City-Bishop Ward); 2B Shon Pinard (Sedan); LF Jacob Spring (Mill Valley); CF CJ Roush (Lawrence); 1B Trae Smith (Sedan); C Tyler Moore (Mill Valley); SS Ty Herman (Moscow); 3B Matt Wommacks (Bluestem); DH Jace Bowman (Great Bend); and starting pitcher Garrett Cleavinger (Lawrence). … Blue Valley West pitcher Collin Wiles was a first-round selection in the 2012 draft by the Texas Rangers. … Blue Valley North beat Blue Valley West for the 6A state title this spring, and Bishop Carroll was the 5A state champion, toppling Stilwell-Blue Valley.
2012 Kansas Association
Of Baseball Coaches
Tointon Family Stadium
Kansas State University
Blue 11, Red 7
Team 123 456 789 R H E
Blue 420 104 000 — 11 14 1
Red 002 301 001 — 7 12 3
Blue: Matt Eckelman, Hayden Edwards (3), TJ Segebart (4), Greg Frey (5), Steven Gillespie (6), Quintin Dougherty (7), Connor Brady (8), Evan Bell (9) & Josh Srna & Matt Edwards; Red: Garrett Cleavinger, Greg Brummett (3), Stefan Bray (5), Billy Kirkpatrick (6), Nick Hammeke (8), Luke Knehans (9) & Tyler Moore & Cade Minnick & Tanner Thurman. W — Eckelman. L — Cleavinger. LOB — Red 8, Blue 6. 2B — Blue: Nick Heath, Hunter Seibert; Red: Shon Pinard, Bray. 3B — Blue: Heath, Austin White; Red: CJ Roush, Srna.