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Eagleville's Brayden Baker leads DNJ 2024 All-Area team

Brayden Baker couldn't have ended his baseball career better.

The senior shortstop and pitcher from Eagleville spent his final week on the field being named Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A Mr. Baseball before leading the Eagles to their third consecutive TSSAA state championship.

He also ends his illustrious career by being named Player of the Year on the Daily News Journal's 2024 All-Area Baseball Team.

“I'm blessed to have won three state championships,” said Baker, a four-year starter who signed with Murray State.

Baker was successful both at bat and on the mound for Eagleville, which finished 34-5 this season. He batted .526 with 22 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 44 RBIs, 54 runs and 12 stolen bases.

He had a record of 9-2 with a 0.92 ERA, allowed only 32 hits and struck out 87 players in 61 innings.

“I think I had a solid season,” Baker said. “I accomplished my goal of becoming Mr. Baseball and winning another (championship). I think I had a solid career overall. I'm just thankful for God, my family and my teammates.”

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Baker hopes to make a quick impression at Murray State.

“I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to play at a school like Murray State and their baseball program,” Baker said. “As an all-around player, I think I can meet the needs of the team. I have to work my ass off on the baseball field and in the classroom to have the best chance of making a difference for the team.”

The DNJ All-Area Baseball Team for 2024 includes:

FIRST TEAM

Nathan Brown

Eagleville, Sr.

Position: Catcher

Why selected: The Lincoln Memorial newcomer posted a .532 batting average, making him his team's best hitter with 17 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 43 RBIs, 43 runs and 15 stolen bases.

Brayden Baker

Eagleville, Sr.

Position: Infielder

Why selected: The Murray State freshman and All-Area Player of the Year was Class 1A Mr. Baseball and led the Eagles to their third straight state championship, batting .526 with 22 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 44 RBIs, 54 runs and 12 stolen bases.

Liam Goodheart

Riverdale, then.

Position: Infielder

Why selected: Goodheart posted a .336 batting average with 12 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 39 RBIs and 36 runs to lead the Warriors to a Class 4A victory.

Jaxon Pridgen

Riverdale, Sr.

Position: Infielder

Why selected: The player, who signed with Tennessee Tech, had a batting average of .351 with eight doubles, one triple, one home run, 32 RBIs and 25 runs.

Jake Maddox

Central Magnet, Sr.

Position: Infielder

Why selected: The Belmont newcomer achieved a batting average of .396 with nine doubles, two home runs and 36 RBIs.

Layne Akers

Seal, Sr.

Position: Outfielder

Why selected: The MTSU newcomer achieved a batting average of .343 with 18 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 21 RBIs, 38 runs and 21 stolen bases.

Drew Hostetler

Seal, Sun.

Position: Outfielder

Why selected: Hostetler, who played strongly in the postseason, struggled with a .340 batting average, eight doubles, six triples, one home run, 19 RBIs, 40 runs and 38 stolen bases.

Coleman Neas

Stewart's Creek, Jr.

Position: Outfielder

Why selected: The District 7-4A MVP posted a .510 batting average with 12 doubles, four triples, one home run, 27 RBIs and 23 stolen bases and added six assists in the outfield.

Ben Kauffman

Cannon Co., Jr.

Position: Designated hitter

Why selected: Kauffman posted a batting average of .367 with eight doubles, 10 home runs (regional best), 41 RBIs, 22 runs and five stolen bases and led the Lions to the regional tournament.

Aiden Schwartz

Stewarts Creek, Sr.

Position: Utility

Why selected: The Lee University freshman was one of the team's best hitters while also being named 7-4A Pitcher of the Year, going 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA.

England Bryan

I am Sr.

Position: jug

Why selected: The Vanderbilt signee posted a 5-0 record with a 0.51 ERA, allowing just 18 hits in 41 innings and striking out 61 players.

Camden Scholar

Riverdale, Sr.

Position: jug

Why selected: Sholar finished the season 9-1 with a 1.54 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched and followed that up in the postseason, throwing complete shutouts in both the regional and sectional tournaments after allowing one run in a complete game in the District 8-4A tournament.

MORE: Murfreesboro Area TSSAA Playoffs Update: Siegel's Rich LaLance Wins State Singles Title

SECOND TEAM

Catcher: Ashton Keck, La Vergne, Sr.

Infielder: AJ Armstrong, Cannon Co., Sr.

Infielder: Brady Burns, Eagleville, Jr.

Infielder: Dylan Dapolito, Blackman, Sr.

Infielder: Owen White, MTCS, Jr.

Outfielder: Sean Birkofer, PCA, So.

Outfielder: Gunnar Waldrop, Riverdale, Jr.

Outfielder: Hunter Wrather, Oakland, Sr.

Designated hitter: Will Horn, Seal, Sr.

Utility: Josh Jeffcoat, Eagleville, Sr.

Jug: Nathan Stewart, Central Magnet, Sr.

Jug: Jack Santi, Seal, Sr.

Coach of the Year

Brandon Bassham, Eagleville

Why selected: Bassham led the Eagles to their third consecutive Class 1A state title, going 34-5 to end a three-year streak in which the team went 106-12 and won 32 consecutive postseason games. This season, the Eagles outscored their opponents in the state tournament by a score of 54-4. This included a 10-0 victory over University School – Johnson City in the TSSAA Class 1A state championship game.