Baseball team members earn player, coach of the year honors
Sabetha High School sophomore Gabe Garber and Head Baseball Coach Aaron Frey are named by Sports in Kansas as the 3A Co-Player of the Year and 3A Coach of the Year, respectively.
With only two seasons of high school baseball under their belts, the Sabetha Bluejays sealed the 3A State Baseball title on Friday, May 25, after defeating Hays-TMP in the championship game, 10-5. The Bluejays finished their season with a record of 23-3.
There is no doubt that the successful season was a team effort, but two members of the Bluejay baseball team – one player and one coach – have been named by Sports in Kansas for their efforts in the team’s success.
Sophomore Gabe Garber was named 3A Co-Player of the Year, and Head Coach Aaron Frey was named 3A Coach of the Year.
Garber was named as Co-Player of the Year, along with senior Micah Grover of Cheney.
When asked how it felt to be selected as 3A player of the year, Garber said he was honored.
“To be chosen is an amazing honor,” he said. “I’m really proud to represent my team, my school and Sabetha.”
During the season, Garber totaled 48 hits – which is six hits shy of the all-time Kansas state record for hits in a season. He also tallied 40 runs and 34 RBIs, while striking out only five times. In the 3A State Championship tournament, Garber went eight for 11 at the plate, while tallying nine RBIs.
According to his coaches, Garber was well deserving of the honor.
“Gabe had a tremendous season!” Coach Frey said. “He finished the year only six hits shy of the all time Kansas state record for hits in a season. He played solid defense and earned his name of ‘G Money’ at the plate.”
Assistant Coach Garrett Michael said he was honored to coach Garber for numerous reasons.
“It is an honor to coach Gabe for a number of reasons,” he said. “First, he has been blessed by God with athletic talent. Gabe is very humble and only wants the team in the headlines, deep down inside he wants to be the best at his craft and is as competitive as a guy gets. Gabe has a ‘put your nose to the grindstone’ mentality when it comes to work ethic. When the lights are on, Gabe delivers in crunch time, period.”
Frey agreed, saying Garber has a selfless attitude.
“As great of a season as Gabe had statistically, he is a better teammate,” he said. “His selfless attitude was indicative of how the entire team played this season, ‘We Greater Than Me.’”
These statements rang true when Garber was asked why he thought he was chosen for this honor
“Sabetha winning the State championship was part of it,” he said. “I would guess having a good season at bat also helped. I just always tried to do my best for the team.”
Although Garber had an astounding season, he said it wouldn’t have been possible without his team.
“I couldn’t have done it without the coaching and support from Coach Frey, Coach Garrett and Coach Michael. I have to thank God, my family and my team for it all,” he said. “Our team has a lot of talent. Together we pushed each other and supported one another throughout the whole season. I’m proud to be a part of that.”
In only the second season of Bluejay baseball, Coach Frey led the Sabetha to the 3A State Championship and a 23-3 record for the season, which helped him earn the Sports in Kansas 3A Coach of the Year.
Michael said the way Frey coaches the team is what earned him “3A Coach of the Year.”
“Aaron coaches baseball how the sport is supposed to be played,” he said. He expects our team to play with extreme effort, discipline and to be laser focused throughout the entire season. He is very humble himself and wants our team to be also and that is unique in this day and age.”
Sabetha High School Athletic Director Scott Burger said many things must happen for a coach to be selected as “Coach of the Year.”
“First, you must be blessed with good athletes that in turn have a successful season,” he said. “You must be surrounded by great assistants who help you not only during the season, but during the off season. You must also acquire a vast knowledge of the game as baseball has so many different strategies take place that many fans are unaware of.”
Burger continued, saying Frey’s love for the game and the athletes also had a direct impact on this season’s success.
“Aaron has played baseball since he was a kid and has put forth the effort to be not only good a good player, but a great coach” he said. “He is passionate about baseball, loves kids and strives for excellence. When you combine those attributes, the opportunity arises at times to have a great season, like this year. I couldn’t be more proud of his team, himself and his coaching staff.”
Reflecting on the entire athletic success from the 2017-18 school year, Michael said he and Frey agree the success was due to the attitude of all the athletes.
“Him [Frey] and I have had quite of few conversations about how amazing both football and baseball ended their seasons the exact same way, and we both agree it is all because of the players being totally unselfish and their leadership abilities.”
2018 All State Baseball Team
Multiple Bluejays also were named in the 2018 All State Baseball Team by Sports in Kansas. Being named to the First Team All State were senior Brayden Becker, pitcher; Garber, outfielder; and senior Blake Frey, outfielder. Being named the Second Team All State were senior Brandon Brownlee, catcher; and junior Joe Gruber, infielder. Included in the All State Honorable Mention were seniors Riley Herrmann and Seth Burdick.
About Sports in Kansas
The Sports in Kansas Network (@sportsinkansas, kansas-sports.com) is a high school and college sports network to interact in the state of Kansas. Kansas-Sports.com features breaking news, history and inside info on all things that have to do with sports in the state of Kansas.
Heather Stewart294 Posts
Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.