North Hardin seniors, Kyle Collin and Andrew Henderson rounded out their last season as 5th Region runner-up, Co-Players of the Year and now look to start their next chapter playing baseball together at Lindsey Wilson College.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Collin said about winning the award with his teammate. “We have a really tough district and a really great area to beat out some good players.”
“First, I’m glad they are both able to share it,” Coach Ace Adcock said. “I think what stands out is their experience. They’ve been in a lot of baseball games. They’re obviously talented. Andrew has any unbelievable arm. Kyle brought so much leadership, so much experience. He has a calm demeanor about him. I think that really helped our guys win close and tough games because of that leadership.”
Even though the Trojans came up short in the region title game against Taylor County, Collin and Henderson said they’re happy they left it all out on the field.
“I told myself before every elimination game that it could easily be my last game. Anybody can win on any day so just go out there and play as hard as you can and that way you won’t have any regrets after the last game. You only get to play high school ball once,” Collin said.
The Trojans made program history by winning the first district championship in 13 years and going back to its first region championship matchup in 13 years. North Hardin also tied the school record for wins with 32. Collin and Henderson had a big part in making that happen.
“It’s about the best way to end your high school career,” Henderson said.
In the district title matchup against Central Hardin, Collin pitched 5.1 innings of two hits baseball. He also produced at the plate, knocking in a run. Henderson nailed an RBI triple for the Trojans in the title game. In the first region contest against Marion County, Collin and Henderson handled the pitching duties. Henderson tossed five innings and fanned five. Collin came in for two innings to close to door and he whiffed five and only allowed one hit.
In North Hardin’s semifinal affair with Green County, Henderson knocked three RBIs in a 10-0 rout in six innings.
“That’s a big step in the right direction for North,” Collin said about winning 32 games and making it back to the region championship. “Coach Ace (Adcock) told us after the last game, this was our turning point for North Hardin baseball. We’ve had a couple rough seasons before that, .500 seasons.”
Collin wrapped up his final year with a team leading 48 hits, 11 doubles and 51 runs. Henderson finshed with 43 hits, 34 runs and 26 RBIs. On the mound, Collin and Henderson showcased their talents. In 15 games, Collin tossed 44 innings, gave up 22 hits, fanned 45 and recorded a 0.48 ERA. Adcock also used his arm to close games out as he picked up a team-high five saves. Henderson pitched 48 innings, started all 10 games he pitched in and whiffed a team-high 59 batters. He allowed 31 hits, 13 runs and earned a 1.46 ERA.
Collin and Henderson has been selected as Area Co-Players of the Year by the seven area coaches and The News-Enterprise sports staff. Collin earned 16 points with three first-place votes. Henderson earned two first place votes, totaling 16 points.
It was a clean sweep for the Trojans as Parker Estes finished in a close third, with one first place vote, totaling 14 points. Voting was done on a 5-3-1 scale and coaches couldn’t vote for their players.
“To have three of the best players out of the whole area, that’s outstanding,” Collin said.
Collin and Henderson credits their teams’ chemistry for their success on the field.
“These are the guys we want to hang out with everyday,” Collin said. “We got a good bond and it makes it a lot easier to play on the field with those type of guys.”
The Co-Players of the Year are continuing their love for the game after they hang up their North Hardin jerseys. They are excited to show their skills at the next level and hope to use their bond to help their new team to victories.
“Hopefully we can take what we did here and use it at the next level,” Collin said.
“He (Adcock) helped me a lot,” Henderson said. “He put me out there for colleges and really helped me go to showcases.”
Looking back at their four years at North Hardin, Henderson said one of his favorite memories was playing over spring break in Panana City. “It was pretty great because we played the old North Hardin coach and beat his team,” he said.
For Collin, winning districts and beating their district rival, Central Hardin, was a memory he will charish from his time at North Hardin.
“They played a lot of baseball growing up together,” Adcock said. “To be able to win the award and share it and then they’re leaving here to go to Lindsey Wilson where Coach Derek Cape and I are both from and to do that is pretty awesome. I look forward to seeing what the next four years of baseball has for them.”