Admirals Wood and Shaver split All-Area Player of the Year

Published 10:27 pm Friday, July 5, 2019

The Danville High School baseball team were one of the most statistically dominant teams in the state this season. As a team, they ranked in the top 25 of almost every major offensive statistical category in the state.

Senior catcher and pitcher Cayden Shaver and sophomore first baseman and pitcher Ethan Wood were the driving force of an Admirals team that finished second statewide in home runs. Shaver’s 10 long balls ranked seventh individually, while Wood’s 13 was a state high.

It should be no surprise, then, that the two Danville standouts would share the honor as Advocate-Messenger All-Area co-players of the year.

Email newsletter signup

Last season, Shaver was named the All-Area Pitcher of the Year, but moved behind the plate this year due to a wealth of pitching (the Admirals finished with the third most strikeouts in the state), and a need at catcher.

“This year, we had developed a few good young arms, and didn’t need to rely on him on the mound as much, needed him behind the plate more,” Danville coach Paul Morse said. “So he sacrificed some of his pitching to do that for the team, and that’s just the kind of kid he is.”

Cayden Shaver spent more time behind the plate this year because of Danville’s talented pitching staff. (File photo Matt Overing)

Shaver’s transition to the other end of the battery was a smooth one, as he was named a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the top high school catcher from each state.

One attribute that may have led to Shaver’s 10 homers was his patience. No other hitter drew as many walks as his 45 on the year. And he posted a slash line of .350/.545/.718. He hit eight doubles and drove in 36 runs. Those numbers led to Shaver being named to the second team All-State in his last year with Danville.

“He will be missed next year not just for the numbers he put up but even more because of the leadership he brought to our team. That will be hard to replace,” Morse said.

Next year, Shaver will be attending Murray State University, where head coach Dan Skirka said that he will have an opportunity to compete early on for playing time.

“So proud of him, and excited to see him do great things in the future,” Morse said.

Sophomore Ethan Wood entered Danville as a freshman last year with a lot of expectations. As an eighth grader, he had already committed to play baseball for the University of Louisville, one of the nation’s top programs. As a sophomore, he built on a strong freshman season by hitting .432/.545/.909 with 56 RBI to add to his 13 home runs. He walked 23 times compared to only striking out 17. On the base paths, he was equally dangerous with 22 stolen bases.

Ethan Wood has accomplished a lot in just two years at Danville. This season, he led the state in home runs, was named First-Team All-State, and co-Player of the Year by the Advocate-Messenger. (File photo Matt Overing)

Wood also received votes as a pitcher, and was well deserving. He was a perfect 7-0 on the season with a 1.66 ERA.

“Really good year as a freshman, came back and improved as a sophomore. He was one of the five finalists for the Gatorade Player of the Year for Kentucky,” Morse said of Wood. “That just doesn’t happen as a sophomore; it’s a really big honor.”

The 6-foot-6 sophomore looks to be a force in the region for the next two years, and is already getting Major League scouts looking at him, as well as agencies, which Morse said he hadn’t seen before. But he believes that with Wood’s tools, making that level is well within his grasp.

“I played pro-ball for seven years, so I want to help him get there. It’s definitely an attainable goal for him.”

With the teammates sharing the Player of the Year Award, and Morse’s Coach of the Year honors, the Admirals are well represented in this year’s Advocate-Messenger All-Area baseball honors.