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Crone, Truslow and Lara headline all-conference team

Crone, Truslow and Lara headline all-conference team

By Mike Pilosof

Garden City, KS-The 2019 season will always be remembered for what could have been.

Chris Finnegan's team won 10 of their first 11 games before a near two-week delay, thanks to mother nature, diffused some serious momentum. But that didn't stop some outstanding individual accolades from being accomplished.

Designated hitter Corbin Truslow and starting pitcher Malachi Crone were named second-team All-Jayhawk West performers while first baseman Chris Lara came in as an honorable mention.

Truslow followed up an all-conference freshman season, with a stellar sophomore campaign. He hit .353 with 11 homers and 43 RBI. He finished his career with five multi-homer games and sprinkled in 18 multi-hit contests during his second season. He finished 12th in the conference in long balls, 23rd in total bases, third in walks, sixth in on-base percentage and ninth in slugging percentage.

Crone was sort of a second-half revelation. He posted a 6-2 record with a 3.64 earned run average (ninth in the conference). He struck out 56 batters, including a seven-punchout game vs. Barton on March 9.

His last two starts of the regular season were really good. Crone tossed a seven-inning, four-hit gem in a 2-1 win over Cloud County on April 25; then followed that up with another complete-game performance a week later vs. Butler where he struck out five in a one-run loss.

Lara may have had the biggest transformation from his freshman to sophomore season. He reshaped his body, dropping more than 20 pounds. And the work definitely paid off.

After becoming the everyday starter at first base in late March, Lara produced big numbers, tallying 10 multi-hit games, which included a 4-for-5 showing vs. Seward County on April 12. He hit .316 with four homers and 30 RBI.

"Chris worked his butt off to get where he's at," Finnegan said. "He really improved this year. We didn't expect him to be Corbin Truslow, but he definitely gave us a stabilizing force at first base and at the plate."