MIAMI — Marcus Crawford of Neosho, Missouri, and Ryan Lechner of Haskell were named the most valuable players of their respective divisions at the Mickey Mantle Classic.
Lechner, who also received the Tape Measure Award for home runs, helped Haskell win the Comet Division with a 4-3 win over Diamond, Missouri.
Crawford was on the winning side as Neosho, Missouri, topped Wyandotte 10-2 in the Triple Crown Division.
Other major honorees were:
Comet Award — First Christian Church of Miami for its cooperation in staging the annual awards banquet the past 18 years;
Dugout Award — Kade Witten, and
Great Teammate — Bryce Waybright of Commerce.
The Triple Crown Division all-tournament team included Braxton Douthit, Carson Loncarich, Devan McLoud and Ryan Cooper, Wyandotte; Keshon Witham, Hunter Hartman, Drew Williams and Connor Womack, Miami; Crawford, Colton Marion, Kaleb Moreland and Jacob Galbreath, Neosho, Missouri; Jamie Hanke, Oakley Roessler, Emmanuel Baish and Grant Cooper, McDonald County, Missouri; Alex Halbert, Darryle Trammell and Blake Gibson, Locust Grove, and Logan Bush, Tahlequah Sequoyah.
Players named to the Comet Division all-tournament team were Gabe Mustain, Afton; Jonas Gregory and Andrew Barnes, Quapaw; Kody Benton and Gavin Long, Fairland; Chase Cunningham, Blake Kelly and Carlos Pinales, Commerce; Lechner, Trenton Campbell, Dustin Herriman and Jakoby Gouldsby, Haskell; Darin Conway, Sarcoxie, Missouri; Carter Prewitt, Troy Bowman, Cole Seward and Hunter Renfro, Diamond, Missouri, and Kaden King, A.C. Marion and Mason Ray, Neosho JV.
Bret Saberhagen, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and a member of the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champion team, was the guest speaker.
He spoke briefly then fielded questions from members of the audience.
One answer was a no-brainer with Royals fans: if you were building a team around any one player, who would it be?
Saberhagen immediately responded: Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett.
“He was a hard-nosed guy who kept you in line,” Saberhagen said.
One regret for Saberhagen, who had been traded to the Mets after the 1991 season, missed seeing Brett collect his 3,000th hit the following season.
Who was his toughest out? Another Hall of Famer, Wade Boggs of the Red Sox and Yankees.
“He hit a lot of guys pretty well,” Saberhagen said. “There were no easy outs with him.”
He said Bo Jackson, who split time between the Royals and the Oakland Raiders of the NFL, was the best all-around athlete he had been around.
“He did some stuff that was not humanly possible,” Saberhagen said.
Saberhagen, former Royal pitcher Mark Gubicza and basketball legend Magic Johnson was on the sidelines when Jackson suffered a dislocated hip that eventually had to be replaced.
“He limps off the field and looks at us like ‘this is not good,’” Saberhagen said.
Following the hip replacement, Jackson played two seasons with the White Sox then wrapped up his career with the Angels in 1994.