The 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball First Team was chosen by USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Halley in consultation with high school coaches.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jordon Adell, Ballard (Louisville)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Todd Boyer, Shawnee (Okla.)
Name: Shane Baz
School: Concordia Lutheran (Tomball, Texas)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 200
The future: Signed to Texas Christian. Drafted No. 12 by Pittsburgh Pirates.
By the numbers: Led team to state semifinals, going 6-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 90 strikeouts and one no-hitter through 46.2 innings Through 43 at-bats, he hit .434 with 23 RBI. Also had nine homers. Throws a 98 mph fastball with a tough cutter and curveball.
Unusual skill: I’m a pretty good pingpong player. My dad and I play each other all the time. It’s kind of a rivalry thing. I also consider myself a pretty good dancer, even though others disagree sometimes.
Best advice a coach gave me: My dad told me to control the control-ables. If there’s something out of your control, just take care of your end. That’s all you can do. He coached me up until high school. We had some pretty good summer ball teams.
Biggest accomplishments: Winning a gold medal with Team USA (at the COPABE Pan American “AAA” Championships). That was unbelievable.
Biggest disappointment: Probably losing in the semifinals of state my senior year.
Nicknames: The Wizard of Baz is probably the best. I also have Shabba that I got on Team USA from Hans Crouse. It’s a song and I was listening to it. He said that Shane and Baz kind of sounds like Shabba.
Favorite pizza topping: Pineapples don’t belong on pizza. I just want to make that clear. I would like to say pepperoni. I’ll stay classic.
Ideal walk-up song: Something by Kodak Black, he’s a rapper. Something with a beat that gets me in a zone.
First car I drove: I think I was 13 and my grandma let me drive her 2004 Ford Five Hundred. She let me drive down her street. It was pretty scary. I don’t think I got over 10 mph.
Favorite MLB player: (Derek) Jeter is my guy, but if we’re talking current players, I have to go with Lance McCullers.
Favorite current song: Closer by The Chainsmokers
Least favorite current song: I’ll go with (anything by) Fetty Wop. He’s pretty brutal.
Mistake I learned from: Not showing up with a hat to practice. Coach made me wear my helmet the whole practice.
Favorite teacher: Mr. (Jonathan) Kirchenberg. He’s my math teacher. He’s a huge Cubs fan, so we talk about baseball all the time. He’s an awesome guy and a really good teacher.
Longest homer allowed: I didn’t give up one this year. I gave one up in the fall of my junior year. We were playing Cy Falls (Houston) and one of their guys, in the eight or nine hole, took me about 400 feet. He was 0-2 and I had thrown him a couple of fastballs and I threw him another one and he was all over it.
Longest homer: At the Tournament of Stars (in Cary, N.C.). My first at-bat. I hit about a 415-425-foot home run. I think the pitcher was ambidextrous.
His curveball: My pitching coach kind of developed it and I learned it really quick and I had a good feel for it. We nicknamed it the “Freak Nasty.” It has helped me keep hitters off balance and not sit on my fastball.
Favorite phrase: “Ayyye dat way.” It’s a celebration or telling someone where to go.