OTHS hurler, Deathrage named area player of the year

Progress Sports WriterJune 26, 2014 

Blake Deathrage

BY MARK RAEBER — For the Progress Buy Photo

When senior Blake Deatherage stepped onto the mound this spring for the O’Fallon Panthers, good things happened.

The razor thin OTHS hurler was perfect through the regular season, winning 11 games in a row before suffering his first loss in regional tournament play.

His 11 victories tied him with Vianney High School’s Jake Hemphill for the most wins in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Deatherage pitching statistics were eye-popping – a 1.24 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 67 innings. He allowed only 12 earned runs in 18 mound appearances for the Panthers.

The cumulative effect of Deatherage’s numbers earned him the Belleville News Democrat’s Player of the Year honors in Class 3A-4A for the 2014 spring campaign.

Deatherage, who has signed a letter of intent to attend McKendree University, is the third OTHS player to win the prestigious award in the last five years with Sam Hopkins (2012) and Nick Tindall (2009) preceding Deatherage into the spotlight as the area’s best high school player.

Deatherage’s performance in the batter’s box was nearly as impressive as his mound accomplishments. Playing centerfield when not on the hill, the OTHS standout led the team with a .453 batting average with 39 RBI’s.

"Blake did so many things for us," said OTHS coach Jason Portz. "When we needed a big win, Blake came through with an outstanding pitching performance. When we needed a clutch hit, he was in the batter’s box. A lot of times teams tried to pitch around Hahs and Harrison who preceded Blake in our batting order, but in almost every case they paid for that decision."

Six additional OTHS players joined Deatherage on the BND elite squad, filling a total of nine roster spots.

Three Panther diamondmen earned first team honors – outfielders Jeff Hahs and Bradley Harrison and utility infielder Collin Holton. Second team All-Area selections included Brad Snyder at first base, Holton at second and third baseman Kyle VanBevern.

Completing the list of O’Fallon High players to make the cut were honorable mention designees Dean Gerros as a DH/utility player and Bradley Harrison who earned a second roster spot as a pitcher.

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