When Chaparral coach David Soto first met Tommy Crone a little more than two years ago at intramurals, he knew the then-sophomore player was filled with untapped potential.
At the time, Crone was merely a project, though, a very talented one.
“He always had the ability but he was very raw,” Soto said. “He had to learn a little more of the game. He was too aggressive at the plate and he just wanted to throw harder and swing harder. I’ve watched him become more confident in himself. Patience made him a better ballplayer and a better person. He got much, much better.”
A couple years of development has transformed Crone into one of the top players in town and was named the Division I-A Sunrise League’s Most Valuable Player by the coaches.
Crone went 10-1 with a 0.71 ERA and 100 strikeouts in the regular season to help the Cowboys secure the Sunrise League’s No. 1 seed. He threw two no-hitters against Desert Pines and Sunrise Mountain and batted .446.
“He did it all offensively and defensively,” Soto said. “On the mound, he was almost a sure thing. His pitching definitely merited (the award). He’s developed one of the better curveballs I’ve seen, and he moves the ball around and spots it well.”
Crone was also named to the All-Southern Region first team, along with teammates Tyler Crone and Luis Giro.
“He was always looking at us to make sure he was doing what we wanted from him,” Soto said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s one of the key players that carried us to Reno.”
Soto believes Crone still has a lot of room for growth and remains anxious to see where his ace ends up for college.
“Tommy just needs a chance,” he said. “He’ll prove that he can help any program out there because of his work ethic. He’s not even close to reaching the potential he has.”
Soto was named the Southern Region Coach of the Year after leading Chaparral to its first league championship in school history and an appearance in the state tournament.
Faith Lutheran’s Erich Uelmen was named the Southern Region’s Most Valuable Player.
In softball, Boulder City’s Charlene Masterson was named the Southern Region Most Valuable Player.
Faith Lutheran’s John Chilman was the region’s Coach of the Year.
Faith Lutheran’s Lauryn Lipe was the Sunset League’s Most Valuable Player.
Virgin Valley’s Travis Griffiths earned Sunrise League Coach of the Year honors.