HHS' Hutchison receives preseason honor

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

For Hays High School senior third baseman Hayden Hutchison, 2012 was a special year.

Hutchison had multiple successes on the baseball field, and as a result, he was named to the 2013 Rawlings Pre-Season All-Central Region Baseball Team this week by Perfect Game, a national scouting organization. He made the team as an honorable mention selection -- one of 22 Kansans to make the list.

The Central Region included baseball players from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"I was pretty shocked," Hutchison said regarding his reaction to the recognition.

Hutchison had a wild 2012.

During the spring, he was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year after leading Hays High to a league championship and state tournament berth. Then in the summer, Hutchison helped the Hays Senior American Legion team win its first state title since 1981 and advance to the regional tournament in New Orleans, La.

However, six months of baseball wasn't enough for Hutchison. He signed up for a scouting camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, run by Perfect Game, and he impressed the scouts.

At the plate, he hit 5 of 7 with two home runs and a double, and he ran a 7.41-second 60-yard dash. Hutchison received an 8 rating. In comparison, Major League Baseball players Prince Fielder and Eric Hosmer received 10 ratings when they were seniors. At the camp, he was invited to play in a fall baseball league in Kansas City, Mo., which was observed by junior college coaches.

"I got some connections here and there, and it got my name out a little bit," Hutchison said.

Through all of this, Hutchison attracted the attention of Neosho County Community College where he signed his letter of intent to play college ball in January.

Hutchison did all of this despite dealing with knee problems early in his prep career. He had surgery prior to his sophomore season, but he had a rough time coming back from it and wasn't fully prepared to play baseball until 2012.

"It's great knowing I'm healthy now," Hutchison said. "I was so discouraged throughout my freshman year. I thought I hit rock bottom."

With his college recruiting out of the way, now Hutchison can focus on 2013 Hays High baseball. The team graduated a number of seniors, including four-year starters Austin Unrein and Riley Kaus, but Hutchison said the Indians are ready to pick up where they left off.

"It's kind of different this year not playing with Austin (Unrein), Trevor (Henningsen) and Riley (Kaus)," Hutchison said. "Some of those kids I've been playing with since I was 9 years old. ... It's different this year, but I'm excited. I really am."