All-Concho Valley MVP: Heuertz, Wall Get Redemption in 2019
WALL, TX -- Entering 2019, Wall junior Caleb Heuertz had a bone to pick with the way his 2017 season ended -- a 10-0 loss on the mound in the state championship game against Nacogdoches Central Heights.
He set out in 2018 to try to mend that and emerged as a solid pitcher and shortstop for the Hawks. But they came up short with Brock sweeping Wall out of the playoffs in the regional semifinal.
In 2019, the junior right-handed pitcher stole the show in a loaded rotation and lineup for the Wall Hawks.
He went 13-0 in 14 starts and guided the Hawks to the program’s first state championship. In 72.1 innings pitched, Heuertz had a team-best ERA of 1.25 with 110 strikeouts and just 18 runs allowed.
At the plate, Heuertz led the team with a .462 batting average and team highs in RBIs (68) and home runs (9).
His performance on the mound and at the plate earned him honors as the All-Concho Valley MVP this season. He was an All-Concho Valley selection as a shortstop in 2018.
“He’s been a big piece of what we’ve done all year long,” head coach Jason Schniers said. “He’s a true competitor. He wants the ball in his hands. He’s a quiet, humble kid. You’re not gonna know he’s the kid that’s getting this award and he probably won’t say two words about it. But he’s very well-deserving of it.
“He works hard every day. He plays it the right way and he does the little things. That’s what you want out of an MVP. He’s not a leader, not one of those rah-rah type leaders. But he’s one of those guys who leads by example. I’m super proud of him.”
Heuertz is the second-straight Hawk to earn the honor after Dryden Virden took the honors last year.
Heuertz worked out to be one of the first choices for Schniers’ squad from day one of the season. He never said he wanted to be their ace, but he proved it.
“He wants it. He’s not gonna say ‘I’m the number one guy,’” Schniers said. “But deep down, you know he wants the ball. He was 13-0 on the year. He put us in a chance … in the semifinal game. He didn’t get the decision, but he gave us the opportunity to find a way to win. That’s what you want out of that guy. I’m lucky to have him and Luke (Young) coming back next year. We expect big things out of those two guys.”
For Caleb, taking the Class 3A crown was surreal two weeks ago.
“It’s awesome. Just seeing how all of us played and all of us battled together, we all put it together as one this weekend. It’s awesome,” Heuertz said.
After Wall took a 2-0 lead on Blanco in the sixth inning of the state championship, Heuertz knew nothing would stop them. Ryan Gully’s strikeout to close out the game sparked euphoria throughout the dugout.
“It was crazy. We were all waiting for that,” Heuertz said. “When we got up 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, we just had a feeling what was coming next.”
But Heuertz knows it wasn’t just him that led the Hawks to the title. Wall used three pitchers in the state tournament and a steady rotation of five to six guys on the mound leading up to the state tournament. He credits that to Wall’s title more than his individual play.
The junior utilized a steady diet of uncertainty to beat the batters, though.
“I like to mix my pitches a lot,” Heuertz said. “I’ll start them off with a curveball, a changeup, and then from there, it usually keeps them guessing on what’s coming next.
“Everybody wanted it. Everybody in the Wall community wanted this to happen. To be the first team to do this is awesome.”
With eyes turned to 2020 and the departure of eight seniors, Schniers feels the experience from Heuertz and Young will prove vital for a Wall team looking to defend their title.
The All-Concho Valley team will be released later this week.
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