Pair of Purdy players picked for All-State baseball squad
Junior Mason Roller and senior Ryan Veith, both members of the Purdy Eagles baseball squad, were selected to the Missouri All-State second team for their play during the 2008 season.
Veith and Roller were leaders for a Purdy squad that finished 17-6 last spring, won a district championship and garnered a state play-off birth.
Roller finished the season with a .507 average at the plate along with 40 RBI. The junior did a lot for the Eagle squad. He pitched, caught and played in the infield this year for Purdy.
"Mason's mentality is amazing," said Josh Hughes, Purdy head baseball coach. "He wants to be on the mound in big games or at the plate with the tying run on second (base) in the last inning."
Roller feels he has benefited from playing multiple positions, especially catcher.
"I try to keep my pitches under control, because it is a lot harder whenever they're not," said Roller. "It makes you respect your catcher a lot more."
Roller starred in many Purdy games this season, but Hughes' best memory of the junior came when he faced adversity.
"I remember him being zero-for-two in a game and really upset," said Hughes. "One of my assistants told him that he could still go two-for-four, so what did he do, he went out and went two-for-two the rest of the day and ended up two-for-four."
It is this type of determination that led to Roller's inclusion on the All-State roster.
The selection is Roller's second of his career as he was also named to the All-State second team last year.
"I feel very privileged to be in that group," said Roller. "It means a lot to me."
Roller's goal for next season is making the All-State first team.
Ryan Veith was also named to the All-State second team. Roller who has played with Veith since the two started baseball had nothing but compliments for his teammate.
"He is the same today as he was then," said Roller. "Ryan is a great athlete, very quick, very fast, has a good read on the ball, hits it well, just a good all-around player."
Veith played center field for the Eagles, often coined as the quarterback of the outfield. Often centerfielders must be the fastest player on the team, cover the most ground in the shortest amount of time and know where the ball is going the minute it is hit. Veith excelled at all of these.
"I told Ryan three years ago when he was a sophomore that I needed him to step up and become my centerfielder," said Coach Hughes. "I play my outfielders shallower than most and he bought into what I taught and preached and then he went out there and worked his tail off that first year. (Now) he would run through a wall to catch a ball if he had to."
As a senior, Veith also was a leader to his fellow players.
"Ryan led with his hustle and play on the field. He played hard every play," said Hughes. "He was one of the dirtiest players every game, I sometimes had to put the chains on him because he was so aggressive."
Veith didn't only excel in the field. Veith batted .430 on the year with 33 runs scored and 39 RBI. Veith also had back-to-back games when he hit not one, but two, home-runs in each contest.