Rusk’s JD Thompson is among the players who will represent East Texas in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star games Saturday and Sunday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

Thompson will pitch for the Class 4A/3A/2A South All-Stars. He will be joined on the team by Lufkin Hudson pitcher Carson Courtney.

On the other North All-Stars are Spring Hill pitcher Easton Ballard, Harleton outfielder Taber Childs and Texarkana Pleasant Grove utility player Brock Bearden.

The 4A/3A/2A game is at noon Saturday. The 6A/5A game will be played at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Nacogdoches first baseman Wilburn Furniss is on the North All-Stars in the 6A/5A game.

Thompson pitched 50.1 innings this season. He was 6-0 with a 0.27 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 10 walks. Thompson also hit .400 with 15 RBIs.

As a junior, the Vanderbilt signee went 13-1 with one save, a 0.35 ERA and 19 walks. He also struck out a state-high 194 batters in helping the Eagles reach the state baseball time for the first time. Thompson was selected as the All-East Texas Baseball Pitcher of the Year and was a MaxPreps All-American. At the plate, Thompson hit .355 with 33 hits, two home runs, 10 doubles, five triples and 24 runs.

Thompson was the All-East Texas Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, when he was 8-3 with a 0.53 ERA with 98 strikeouts and just nine walks in 66 innings.

Ballard won 25 games during his high school career and helped lead the Spring Hill Panthers to the regional finals as a senior.

“This is a very special honor for him, and I’m very excited he got selected,” former Panther coach Trevor Petersen said. “He is one of 40 players that got selected to play in the 2A-4A All-Star Game. He deserves to be there, and I’m so glad I get to see him pitch one more time in a Spring Hill uniform. He has done it with such pride and will represent Spring Hill with all that Spring Hill embodies.

“Easton had a tremendous career at Spring Hill. There are not many young men that can lead not only on the field but off the field the way he did the past two years. He is a true East Texas young man. He is a great competitor and he eats and sleeps baseball.”

Ballard finished with a 14-1 record as a senior for Spring Hill, adding a 1.06 earned run average, 133 strikeouts and 23 walks in 91.2 innings pitched. He also hit .298 with seven doubles, three triples, 33 RBI, 18 runs scored, 31 walks and eight stolen bases.

The Panola College signee was 9-1 as a junior in 2021 with a 1.50 ERA, 92 strikeouts and 31 walks in 65.1 innings pitched to go along with a .320 batting average and 22 RBI.

In a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Ballard went 2-0 on the hill with a 2.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.

Furniss hit .535 this season with four home runs, 29 RBIs and 33 runs. He hit .489 for his career with five home runs and 66 RBIs.

Courtney was 7-4 with a 0.18 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 18 walks. Courtney hit .281 with two home runs and 21 RBIs.


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Sports Writer

Brandon Ogden is in his 22nd year covering high school sports in East Texas and has been in Tyler for the past four years. Follow on Twitter: @BrandonOSports