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: Tanner Sparks
School: Shawnee (Okla.)
Height/Weight: 6-0, 160
The future: Signed with Oklahoma State.
By the numbers: Led team to 40-0 record and a state championship, hitting .504 with 12 homers and 81 RBI and as a pitcher, was 10-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 51 innings.
Unusual skill: I am kind of funny.
Best advice a coach gave me: Just to relax and not press too hard. I tend to try too hard when things aren’t going my way.
Biggest accomplishment: Three state championships. That’s pretty awesome.
Biggest disappointment: I am guess I’m disappointed that I will never get to play baseball again with some of my best friends.
Nickname: Everybody just calls me Sparky.
Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni. It’s a little spicy. I just like the taste.
Ideal walk-up song: Something that makes you feel good, gets you ready to compete, gets you locked in. The year before this, I did Hells Bells by AC/DC.
First car I drove: A 2003 Chevy Tahoe. It’s not a bad car.
Favorite MLB player: I really like Kris Bryant. He seems very humble.
Favorite current song: Body Like a Back Road (by Sam Hunt).
Mistake I learned from: When I was 16, I got in a wreck the second week I was driving. My grandpa was calling me while I was driving. The lesson is to not be on the phone while I’m in the car and to pay attention to my surroundings at all times. Fortunately, I wasn’t going very fast.
Least favorite current song: iSpy by Lil Yachti.
Favorite teacher: Mrs. (Melisa) Rice for pre-calculus and AP calculus. She’s really fun and energetic and really explains stuff well. She made sure everybody got it. She really cared about everybody.
Longest homer I gave up: One in Florida last year to Chiles (Tallahassee, Fla.). The kid smashed it. It cleared a road behind the field. It was a bomb.
Memorable homer: When I was 11, going onto 12. We were playing in a tournament in a high school field. I hit one to left and it went over the fence, which was about 340. It was still climbing and hit a light tower about three-fourths of the way up.
Favorite phrase: Don’t try to do too much. I know that’s a big thing for me.