This is going to blow your mind. Ten years ago, Jason King made the Big 12 baseball all-tournament team. Since then — and yes, this even includes the 2013 regional host squad — not one Kansas State player has earned that honor. Not Ross Kivett. Not Jared King. Not Tanner Witt. Not Shane Conlon. Not Austin Fisher. You’re getting the idea.
Yesterday, not one but two Wildcats broke through.
Zach Kokoska, who posted an absurd 1.237 OPS during the tournament and had six RBIs, and Eric Torres, whose brilliant relief effort on Saturday morning was just part of his 6 2⁄3 innings of scoreless work in the tournament, were both named to the 2021 all-tournament squad.
Kokoska and Torres join a very short list of Wildcats who’ve earned this recognition. Jon Yeagley in 1976 and Matt Koeman and Scott Poepard in 1995, and Todd Fereday in 1996 were named Big 8 all-tournament. After the change to the Big 12, in 2002 Osmar Castillo, Pat Maloney, and Ty Soto made the list; Brad Hutt in 2007 was followed by another triumvirate in 2008 with Drew Biery, Nate Tenbrink, and Daniel Edwards. Daniel Dellasega made the squad in 2010, and then King’s selection in 2011 was the last before yesterday.
Kokoska, Torres, and the rest of the team now have nothing left to do but wait. It won’t be a long wait now, however, as the NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air on ESPN2 at 11:00am. The Cats are on a knife-edge here, as Baseball America’s projections have K-State in the second four out while D1Baseball is a little more optimistic with the BatCats as the 67th team. Of course, 67 is more than 64, so temper your hopes.
But maybe, just maybe, this team that’s actually been ridiculously fun to watch for most of the last two weeks will get another shot.