A post-game interview with Kaden Hepler almost always includes a section devoted to his teammates.
The West York senior wouldn't have it any other way.
Sure, Hepler is a star: his remarkable 13-0 pitching record and ridiculous 0.50 earned-run average attest to that. Oh yes, he also carries a .346 batting average.
However, Hepler is a lot more comfortable on the mound and at the plate than in the spotlight.
The Winthrop (S.C.) University recruit enjoys spending time with his teammates, whether they're competing in games, hanging out in the clubhouse or filling time during a lightning delay by doing their rendition of songs from the 1960s to the 1990s.
"I have great teammates who I have to be thankful for," said Hepler, this year's York-Adams League Division II Player of the Year. "I couldn't ask for any better group of guys. I count on them to score runs for me, and they count on me to go out and shut them (opposing teams) down."
Hepler also appreciates the Player of the Year votes he received from the division coaches.
"I'm honored that I got the support of other teams," he said.
West York head coach Roger Czerwinski, who's been working with the right-hander since he was 13, sees a side of Hepler that fans don't get a chance to see.
"Along with everything he does out here (on the field), I'm just as impressed with what he does in there (the dugout)," Czerwinski said. "His leadership is outstanding. Kaden is a special young man."
Hepler will try to cap his stellar career by leading West York to a PIAA Class AAA state title on Friday evening at Penn State against Lampeter-Strasburg.
While Hepler was winning the Player of the Year honor in Division II, Austin Calaman of Dallastown, Alex Emlet of Bermudian Springs and Casey Ayers of Biglerville were selected by the coaches as the top players in Division I, III and IV, respectively.
Czerwinski shared the Coach of the Year award in Division II with Don Kauffman of Northeastern.
Don Trout of Dallastown (Division I), Todd Gantz of Littlestown (Division III) and Rob Alkhas of York Tech (Division) were the Coaches of the Year in their respective divisions.
Dallastown's Trout said his team leaned on Calaman.
"Driving in runs, starting, relieving, he did a lot for us," the Wildcats' veteran coach said. "Cal came in this year with the reputation from the men's league. (Calaman was the Outstanding Young Player in the Susquehanna League last summer). He can flat-out hit."
Calaman batted .479 during the regular season, displaying extra-base power with six triples and three home runs. As a pitcher, he was 5-2 with a 2.10 earned-run average.
Calaman, who will play baseball at York College, credited the constant workouts he had with former teammate Derek Pitzer and others for getting him in tip-top shape.
"I dropped 40 pounds and I built on my new body," he said. "We did some lifting, but not a lot. We did a lot of throwing and running and other baseball-type things."
Calaman said it's an honor to be selected Player of the Year.
"It was a sentimental moment being my senior year," he said. "It was also nice coming after being honored last year in the Susquehanna League."
Emlet compiled a 2.22 earned-run average in 35 innings for Bermudian Springs. He batted .434.
Ayers hit .561 with nine doubles, two triples and one home run. Biglerville coach Jeff Taylor said Ayers' batting average is the highest in his 24 years with the Canners' program.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.