060421-JUCO Champs 6-CPT

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

McLennan’s Logan Henderson delivers a pitch Friday night in the Highlanders’ 7-3 victory over Central Arizona in championship game of the JUCO World Series. Henderson struck out 17 in eight innings and was selected The Daily Sentinel Most Valuable Player as well as the outstanding pitcher of the tournament.

McLennan Community College (Texas) baseball coach Mitch Thompson had some pretty good players in his 31 years, but Logan Henderson may be one of his best.

The freshman pitcher from Katy, Texas, had a performance not to forget in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, earning him the Daily Sentinel Most Valuable Player award and the tournament’s most outstanding pitcher. He was also selected to the all-tournament team.

“Logan was phenomenal,” Thompson said. “This may be as good as you’ve ever seen when you talk about pitching in this ball park in this altitude against the competition he faced. That is an incredible hitting team. Those guys can crush baseballs and they ended up with two hits on him and throwing a shutout in eight innings before that. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Sabin Ceballos of San Jacinto College-North (Texas) was chosen the outstanding defensive player and Noel Perez of Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) was the outstanding hitter of the tournament. Crowder College (Mo.) coach Travis Lallemand received the Tillie Bishop Sportsmanship Award.

Henderson was 2-0 in the tournament with a 0.56 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. He pitched the Highlanders to a 7-0 win in the opener and a 7-3 win in the championship game Friday night. He allowed one earned run and seven hits in his two games.

“I was just thankful they gave me the ball to start tonight,” Henderson said. “I wanted it more than anyone. I’m just glad we came out with a win.”

McLennan catcher Dominic Tamez had no doubt Henderson would have another stellar performance.

“From Day one I knew Logan was a stud,” Tamez said. “He’s really been lights out for us. Whenever he’s on the mound I have no doubts in my mind we’d win the game.”

Thompson also was certain of what Henderson would do.

“When we recruited him, the guys we talked with about him said this is the best big game guy we’ve ever had,” Thompson said. “This guy is a warrior. He just keeps getting better and better. When he’s not on the mound, he’s our ball boy running the ball to the umpire. I couldn’t be any more proud of him. He’s such a great competitor.”

Henderson has signed with Texas A&M, but he has plenty of options to consider this summer, including the likely hood of being drafted in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. He could also return to McLennan for his sophomore year.

“The Major League Draft should be calling,” Thompson said. “If they don’t call him early enough, then if he wants to come back, you know I’ll take him back. I want him to do whatever is best for him. He may think this is best for him and if he does, he’s going to help us get back here next year and try to do it again.”

The only thing on Henderson’s mind today is celebrating the Highlanders ‘national championship.

“I haven’t been worrying about it right now,” the pitcher said. “I’m just soaking it in right now.”