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Crouse brothers have same all-state look

Crouse brothers have same all-state look

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:00 pm

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Press Sports
The Crouse brothers — Heath and Hunter — are admittedly different in a lot of ways.
Where they’re similar though, is that each is a member of the 2012 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Class 1A All-State baseball team.
Heath, a recently-graduated senior at Greenfield High School, is a repeat choice for the glitter unit, while Hunter — a year younger and with still a prep season to play for the Yellowjackets — made the squad for the first time after a stellar junior campaign.
Together, the Crouse boys — who shared Most Valuable Player honors at the recently-held team banquet — helped lead GHS to its fourth straight district championship and a sparkling 27-3 record this past spring.
Heath made the TSWA All-State team as a utility player after shining both at second base and on the mound, while Hunter was chosen for infield spot.
And while the brothers have different personalities and demeanors, those opposite traits serve each other well — both on and off the diamond — according to Yellowjacket skipper Willlie Trevathan.
“They’re a perfect complement to one another,” said Trevathan, who piloted the ’Jackets to the aforementioned 14A titles and three sectional berths during Heath’s prep career. “Heath really just sits back and leads more quietly and by example. Hunter is really our vocal leader and more of a take-charge kind of player.”
The elder Crouse, who also earned All-State accolades as a junior in 2011 when he hit .462 and is the only player in GHS history to make the team twice, led Greenfield in virtually every offensive statistics in his final season in the Black and Orange.
He hit a robust .517 with 13 doubles, seven home runs and 42 RBIs and posted an on-base percentage of .583 — all team bests — in 28 games. He also stole 15 bases and made just four errors in 80 chances while playing mostly second base when not on the mound.
When pitching, Heath was unbeaten in six decisions with a 2.19 ERA and three complete games. Opponents hit just .213 against him. He struck out 54 batters in 602⁄3 innings.
“Making it (all-state) a second time was just icing on the cake for what Heath did and meant to our program in four years,” Trevathan continued. “There were times where he literally just put us on his back and carried us. He knew the expectations of him would be greater in light of what we’d lost last year, but he accepted the challenge and his numbers were actually up from his junior year.”
Younger sibling Hunter, affectionately known as ‘Jaybird,’ was the prototypical table-setter atop the Greenfield batting order and the unofficial captain of the squad by most accounts.
He was second to his brother in hitting, coming in at a .430 clip and his 43 total hits were also No. 2 on the squad.
His on-base average of .500 was runnerup to only Heath as well.
Hunter was perfect in 18 stolen base attempts, but perhaps his most telling stat in his role of getting on base was that he struck out just five times all season in 100 at-bats — one fewer than Heath, who went to the plate eight more times.
Defensively, while playing mostly shortstop, the younger Crouse made just nine errors in 102 chances and helped turn 11 double plays.
“Hunter’s leadership skills are off the chart,” Trevathan said of his star infielder. “He made so much happen at the plate and on the bases. It really takes a lot of pressure off your pitching staff when you can have a run or two to work with early in the game, and I certainly think our pitchers benefited from what he brought to the table, both offensively and defensively.
“No question, he was a worthy all-state selection.”
The coach closed by saying he believes the close family ties played an important role in the brothers’ earning the honors.
“I really think there’s something to that,” Tre-vathan said. “I remember when they were younger and I lived close to them. Every day I’d see them and their dad, Jeff, go by my house, headed to the park with their bats and a bag of balls to hit and work on the fundamentals of the game.
“I might not’ve known I’d be their coach, but I certainly knew they were going to be something special with that type of commitment and work ethic.”
In that case, maybe it’s truly hard to tell the brothers apart. Published in The WCP 7.24.12

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