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Heny makes All-State for third straight season

Powell Pioneers player Cory Heny takes a lead off of second base in a game against the Billings Halos on June 20. Heny was selected to his third-straight Single A All-State team, it was announced on July 25. Powell Pioneers player Cory Heny takes a lead off of second base in a game against the Billings Halos on June 20. Heny was selected to his third-straight Single A All-State team, it was announced on July 25. Tribune file photo by Joe Alberico

19-year-old is Powell’s only selection

Powell Pioneers do-it-all player Cory Heny was the team’s only player to be named to either Single A All-State team.

Heny — who played centerfield, shortstop, third base and pitched for the Pioneers — was a second-team selection, it was announced on July 25, after making the first team in both 2013 and 2014.

Powell manager Jason Borders thinks Heny was probably deserving of a third straight first-team selection, but knows the team’s failure to qualify for the state tournament in Cowley (where voting took place) hurt Heny’s chances.

“I know from past experience ... when you don’t make it to state and you’re not there to vote, and the other teams that are there don’t see you play, it has an affect,” Borders said.

Borders said he should have requested permission to attend the meeting and vote, though he doesn’t know if his vote would have changed the outcome.

Heny hit .393/.478/.556 with two home runs, three triples and 10 doubles in 135 at-bats. His 32 stolen bases (he was caught just twice) were more than double that of the next Pioneer.

His offense may have been enough to warrant an All-State selection by itself, but his pitching solidified his inclusion.

Heny led a team desperate for quality innings with 10 starts and 59.1 innings pitched. His 2.83 ERA and 1.71 WHIP were second only to Matt Brown (1.75 ERA, 1.44 WHIP), who made eight starts and pitched 36 innings before a back injury shortened his season.

“We pretty much threw Cory in all our tough games. He threw against Cody, (and) the (Billings) Halos,” Borders said. “It’s just like last year, he threw all the big games.”

Heny never shied away from the strike zone, and led the team with 55 strikeouts.

“Cory is such a little bulldog, he won’t throw waste pitches, he’ll go right at people,” Borders said.

Heny threw strikes with 65 percent of his pitches, issued a team-low .47 walks per inning, and led Powell with 39 no-walk innings.

Borders said Heny’s work with pitching coach Pat Day made him even more efficient on the mound.

“He developed a changeup that helped him a bunch,” Borders said. “He’d get guys to roll over, get those ground balls that he didn’t used to get.”

Heny was one of two Pioneers to play 43 (of 45) games, and was Borders’ most valuable and versatile player.

“He was probably as important if not more important than he was last year,” Borders said.

Borders slotted Heny anywhere from first to fourth in the lineup and played him in center and at short, two of the diamond’s most critical defensive positions.

But Powell’s absence from the state tournament forced voting coaches to judge Heny’s season based on a couple of head-to-head games with the Pioneers, and, of course, his stats.

Heny’s standard hitting stats were down compared to his stellar 2014 season, in which he hit .426/.503/.611 with two home runs, eight triples and eight doubles in 49 games.

He drove in nine fewer runs in 2015 (26 from 35), and scored 20 less (35 from 55), but that was with 39 fewer plate appearances and a lineup that didn’t generate as much offense.

“We didn’t score as many runs; we didn’t have that type of the team,” Borders said.

Still, nothing may have hurt Heny’s resume more than missing state. No player from a non-qualifying team was included on the Single A first team.

This was the first season a Pioneers player didn’t make the first-team since 2011.

Heny was Powell’s only selection in 2015 after the Pioneers had three in 2014, five in 2013 and three in 2011.

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