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Valley infielder, pitcher earns All-State honors after standout senior season

VALLEY — Recent high school graduate Coby McDonald was named to the 2018 AWSA All-state baseball team last weekend.

McDonald was selected as one of the two designated hitters on the team. The 5-foot-11-inch shortstop and right-handed pitcher kept his batting average above .400 for most of his senior season, Valley head baseball coach Patrick Shivers said.

“He was great for us his senior season, he was pretty much our hottest batter all year,” Shivers said. “There were times where it seemed like he couldn’t strike out.”

McDonald also emerged as one of Valley’s better pitchers this past season, according to Shivers. The impressive season on the mound came months after McDonald tore his labrum in the winter.

Although he didn’t hit more than a handful of home runs in his career as a Ram, McDonald’s gap hits zipped past defenders. In the rare occasion that a McDonald at-bat didn’t end in a hit, the out was typically a result of a powerful line drive coming straight to a defender.

“He’s definitely got good pop on his bat,” Shivers said. “Everything he hits is hard and on the [foul] line.”

The baseball Rams of Valley won back-to-back area championships for the first time in approximately 25 years this past season. Now, the team looks to adjust to life after McDonald.

“Guys like him are hard to replace,” Shivers said. “We lost a good group last year, but he was one of the guys who replaced them.”

The Rams are returning some great young players as well, however, and Shivers is confident that the program can continue the turnaround that they have started the last two seasons. Next season, Valley will be in a new region where the competition should be tougher, Shivers said. The team has already begun summer workouts. In the upcoming days, the Rams will start throwing and begin to take a look at the pitchers.

“Right now what I’m preaching to the guys is that it’s the will to win,” he said. “Everybody’s got that will, but you have to have that will to prepare to win.”