Thomas Jefferson's Booher caps scholastic career as Class AAA all-star
Thomas Jefferson senior Colton Booher will have one last hurrah on a baseball diamond before his high school career officially comes to an end.
The Jaguars' standout pitcher will play for the Class AAA team in the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association all-star doubleheader at Burkett Complex in Robinson Townhip on Sunday.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander went 5-1 on the mound, and batted .450 while driving in 23 runs.
“Colton was our leader, a big contributor, and he was a big reason why our team was so successful this year,” Kevin Gryboski, Thomas Jefferson's head baseball coach, said.
“He goes out and he battles, whether we are winning or losing. He has a lot of heart, and he loves the competition.”
The WBCA all-star event is in its ninth year and was started to showcase local athlete's talents for perspective colleges.
In order to compete in the games, coaches nominate a player, then a selection committee determines the rosters of deserving participants.
“It means a lot because it says that all the teams I played against and the coaches respected me as a baseball player,” Booher said. “I think it'll be a lot of fun. Through the years you play against and with some of the good players in the area.
“It's an honor to know that people know you are a good player and have talent.”
This season, Booher was an integral part in helping the Jaguars finish 13-9 overall before losing in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals against the eventual WPIAL champion, South Park.
Thomas Jefferson finished second behind the Eagles in Section 4-AAA.
Having a chance to play against some of the WPIAL's best players is an honor Gryboski said Booher definitely deserves. He said Booher will be able to showcase his speed and baseball IQ, and hopefully stand out in the exhibition.
“I think he'll be fine playing with and against the rest of those kids,” Gryboski said. “I told him early in the year I thought he was one of the fastest base runners in Triple-A, and one of the fastest base runners in our section without a doubt.
“He took that in stride; he'll definitely be able to hold his own and he'll do a great job.”
Booher's talents extend beyond the baseball field. After seeing limited playing time as a sophomore, Booher become a permanent starter at wide receiver as a junior and a senior in the Thomas Jefferson football program.
Bill Cherpak, the Jaguars' head football coach, said Booher brought leadership and an excellent work ethic that will be valuable in his college experience.
“He's a really good kid, very respectful,” Cherpak said. “He made a lot of big catches for us in our game against West Mifflin, and he had a very good baseball season.”
Booher will attend Geneva College and pursue a degree in either business or accounting. He also plans to try to crack the starting lineup on the football team.
“I chose Geneva not only because it's not too far away, but it has the same family feel that TJ had,” Booher said. “Football's a lot different than baseball. Everyone has your back, so it's kind of like high school.”
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.