The best baseball player in Springfield attends New Covenant

His baseball team is in its second year of existence. He has lived in Springfield for a year, and Cody Malan has been chosen as Springfield’s high school baseball MVP.

New Covenant Academy senior Cody Malan was named Springfield's most valuable high school baseball player for 2016 by the Springfield Lead-off Club

New Covenant Academy senior Cody Malan was named Springfield’s most valuable high school baseball player for 2016 by the Springfield Lead-off Club

The senior pitcher and third baseman for New Covenant Academy earned the 2016 Steve Brewer Most Valuable Player Award from the Springfield Lead-off Club. Malan received the award Monday at the Lead-off Club’s final meeting of the spring season.

“I don’t really know what to think about it,” Malan said. “It’s an honor.”

New Covenant Academy is 17-4 and holds the No. 1 seed and hosting rights for the upcoming Class 1 District 7 playoff tournament.

“We have so many good players,” Malan said. “The quality of baseball is fantastic.”

Malan is batting .434 with four doubles, four triples and one home run. He has driven in 23 runs.

As a pitcher, Malan is 5-0 with a 1.70 earned run average. In 37 innings pitched, Malan logged 41 strikeouts to just 16 walks.

Malan moved to Springfield from Minnesota at the end of his junior year. He joined the Warriors summer team in 2015, just after they finished their first high school baseball season, and said his assimilation with his teammates was a fast one.

“Everyone on the team is just amazing,” Malan said. “They just took me under their wing last summer when I joined them. I played summer ball with them and I just fit right in with them.”

The Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association voted New Covenant Academy the No. 3 Class 1 team in the state in a poll released May 2.

After the high school baseball playoffs end, Malan plans to stay in Missouri. He is committed to play college baseball at Central Methodist University.

Malan, being still relatively new to the Springfield baseball community, didn’t know much about the Lead-off Club awards, but said he was surprised and honored to be named MVP. He initially thought he and his teammates were off to have a quiet lunch with Hartley at Pasta Express on Battlefield.

“My coach told me about this lunch,” Malan said. “I thought he was just taking us out.”

Kickapoo pitcher Kaleb Schmidt won the 2016 Dave Dickensheet Pitcher of the Year Award from the Springfield Lead-off Club.

Kickapoo pitcher Kaleb Schmidt won the 2016 Dave Dickensheet Pitcher of the Year Award from the Springfield Lead-off Club.

Kickapoo and Glendale too

Kickapoo players took home a pair of awards from Monday’s awards luncheon.

Central Arkansas signee Kaleb Schmidt received the Dave Dickensheet Pitcher of the Year Award. Schmidt is 6-0 in seven starts with an ERA of 0.95. He struck out 47 batters and surrendered just 21 hits and five earned runs in 37 innings pitched.

Beyond the numbers, Chiefs coach Jason Howser believes Schmidt’s leadership skills helped Kickapoo to a 21-6 record and a No. 1 seed in the Class 5 District 11 playoffs.

“We’ve leaned on these guys for a lot of leadership, especially Kaleb off of the mound. He’s given that to us this year and having another outstanding year — a very fierce competitor and when he has the ball in his hands, we’re generally in a pretty good place,” Howser said.

Riley Herron, a Drury baseball signee, won the Howard Bell Offensive Player of the Year Award.

“(Herron) has the quickest hands in 24 years of coaching I have ever seen at the plate,” Howser said.

Herron’s fast hands allowed him to bat .424 with an on-base percentage of .523. He logged 28 hits through the first 23 games of the season with extra base power that includes seven doubles, five triples, five home runs and 24 RBI.

“When he walks on the field, people know, I mean they see who he is,” Howser said of Herron.

The fourth and final award for the 2016 season of Springfield high school baseball went to Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass, who took home the Dick Birmingham Coach of the Year Award.

Glendale improved to 20-10 on the season by beating Republic 8-4 Saturday. Snodgrass coaches six seniors who will lead the Falcons into the Class 5 District 11 tournament fresh off the team’s first 20-win season since 2001.

“This group won two Ozark Conference championships and they’re on a Glendale team that won 20 games for the first time in 15 years, so we’re very proud of these guys,” Snodgrass said.

Their district tournament is loaded with Kickapoo, Ozark, Nixa, West Plains, Branson and Parkview, but Snodgrass is optimistic with the way the Falcons are playing.

“We’re very, very happy with where we are in our season,” Snodgrass said. “You’ve got to peak at the right time, we kind of feel like we’re doing that.”

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