All-Bi-City baseball: Glenwood, Harris County, Smiths Station garner major awards

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comJune 7, 2014 

Pitching in the Bi-City area was phenomenal, the offense wasn't far behind and the coaching was as good as ever.

If there's one thing this crop of top players and coaches for the 2014 Ledger-Enquirer's All-Bi-City team proves, it's that baseball is still alive and well in the area.

The Glenwood baseball team won an AISA state championship, led by coach Tim Fanning and seniors Tanner Thomason and Chad Silvani.

In his first year at the help at Smiths Station, Mike Ferry took a floundering first-half team that was trying to get over losing the majority of its 2013 starting lineup and led it to the Class 6A quarterfinals.

At Harris County, junior pitcher Casey Cobb was the consistent force on the mound that helped the Tigers to a region championship and nearly a lot more.

For their efforts, Thomason and Cobb are co-pitchers of the year, Fanning and Ferry are co-coaches of the year and Chad Silvani is the player of the year.

Silvani's numbers were good enough to warrant consideration to begin with. He batted .341 with 15 doubles and three home runs, and his 65 RBIs tied a school record. He was also 6-4 with a 2.77 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.

Great numbers.

The real highlight, though, came in Game 3 of the state semifinals in which Glenwood trailed Monroe Academy 8-4. Silvani launched a game-tying grand slam to keep the Gators alive, pitched the top half of the eighth inning and walked with the bases loaded in the bottom half to give them the win.

"If that wasn't the highlight of the season, I can tell you it was the highlight of my life," Silvani said. "… I still lay in my bed and re-watch those news clips. We're still talking about it."

Thomason helped the team's cause on the mound, compiling a 9-1 record and 1.08 earned run average, the fourth-lowest in school history. He threw a six-inning no-hitter in the playoffs, a game in which he was near

ly perfect.

He attributed his success to throwing strikes, letting batters put the ball in play and relying on his defense. The result was helping the team to a state title, something that was on his mind for a long time.

"I've been dreaming about that since I've been at Glenwood," he said.

"I've been there since kindergarten."

Cobb spoke similarly of his success at Harris County this season, during which he was 8-1 with a 1.21 earned run average and 70 strikeouts in a region full of talented hitters.

He was the Tigers' Day 1 starter in every series and could be counted on to either dominate or give his team a chance every time out.

"I just tried to throw strikes," he said. "I know the offense is going to give me some support and my defense is going to help me out of jams. It makes it a lot easier when you've got guys behind you you can trust.

And while Ferry didn't take home the big hardware like Fanning did with Glenwood, the Panthers turned around a season that appeared headed for disaster in the early goings. A losing record in the first half was improved to a 25-15 overall record and a trip to the state quarterfinals.

He, of course, attributed that to his players.

"We had some good guys who just weren't used to starting early on," he said. "They were young, and it took a little time to find their groove. Once they did, they were as good as anybody."

David Mitchell, Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports and on Facebook at facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports

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