Macks Creek's Gage Mashburn, Versailles' Chase Hyman and Eldon's Riley Pope to play among the best
Seniors Gage Mashburn of Macks Creek, Chase Hyman of Versailles and Riley Pope of Eldon will get to represent their respective schools one last time.
The trio of Lake area athletes were recently chosen to participate in All-Star Games on Saturday with Mashburn playing in the Ben Adhem Baseball Showcase in Springfield while Hyman and Pope take on the Missouri Lions All-Star football game in Warrensburg. Their efforts and contributions over the past four years did not go unnoticed and so they were rewarded with one more show before they embark on the next chapter of their lives.
GAGE MASHBURN, MACKS CREEK
Mashburn is no stranger to the showcase that will be played at Hammons Field, the home of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, at noon on Saturday. Players ranging from age 15 to 18 are chosen to display their talents to college and professional scouts while also raising money for the Shriners Hospital for Children and Mashburn is glad to be back for a second straight year.
“I enjoy it and I don’t know about college baseball so it is good to play and hopefully have fun,” the senior 1st Team All-State player said. “Coach (Jason) Trusty has taught me a lot and I got to play with some good people and for good coaches so it is good to go off and show what they taught me.”
The feeling is mutual for Trusty who is proud of the player Mashburn became in his four years with the Pirates.
“He is very deserving. Gage works hard and did so through his four years with our program in high school,” the coach pointed out. “He gradually grew into a leader both on and off the field. I’m glad to see him receive this honor again and am proud of the way he developed as a player and as a young man.”
Mashburn has maintained the tradition of a persistent Pirate presence at the showcase, being chosen for his second straight appearance while former players like Matt Hicks and Cameron Charlton were selected back in 2016. Overall, players from Macks Creek have been called in three of the four years the showcase has existed.
“Macks Creek is a good school and it can be overlooked because it’s small, but it is nice to get Macks Creek on the books because we have good stars coming up like Hunter Lane. Just because you’re small does not mean you don’t have talent,” Mashburn stated.
For Trusty, it has made the journey that much more enjoyable and to see his players get rewarded is simply icing on the cake.
“I’ve been blessed with some hard-working individuals in my time here,” the coach recalled. “All my players, former and current, have made or make my job a joy.”
Mashburn noted there may have been a little rust to shake off as he has been hitting the ball off a tee and warming up his arm when he is not working, but he is looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.
“I’m blessed to play again and glad to have people (Trusty) that like to throw my name out there and get me noticed because we’ve put in a lot of hard work over four years and it is good to get Macks Creek’s name back on the map,” the senior said.
CHASE HYMAN AND RILEY POPE
Hyman and Pope will team up as they strap on the helmets and step onto the gridiron for their final high school game when the 42nd annual Missouri Lions All-Star game kicks off from Kennedy Field at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The game features graduated high school players from all over the state of Missouri for one final clash that originally sought to raise money for the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation (MLERF) and now supports the Missouri Lions KidSight, which is an offshoot of the original organization. According to a press release, $200,000 has been raised statewide for the project.
“I’m just excited to play my last high school football game,” said Hyman who will be representing the Tigers of Versailles at right tackle. “Most of the people going, this is it for them… and I am going to have as much fun as I can and play as hard as I can.”
Versailles coach Broc Silvers has no doubt of that, noting that the 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman who received All-Conference Honorable Mention was as deserving as any. The coach nominates his players every year for the annual gridiron showdown and was glad to see one of his own make it.
“It will be exciting for him and I don’t want to say he was shocked, but I put him on there and you always put on who you think deserves it and it is up to the coaches to decide from there,” Silvers said of the process. “You just put your stats on there and they don’t watch film per say, but his body looks good on paper with his size and stuff and we just told them what a good kid he is and how hard he works.”
Just down Highway 52 at Eldon, Head Coach Chad Hult did not hesitate to do the same as Pope will play alongside Hyman at right guard as the two seek to put defenders on their heels.
“I believe it was well-deserved. At times, Riley was the most dominant lineman on the field in multiple games last season,” Hult said of Pope who measures at 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds and was listed as undecided on the roster for his college plans. “Riley was a kid that started at fullback, but grew into a lineman that became an (1st Team) All-State player. He became a team leader that we looked to for big plays.”
Back at Versailles, Silvers said Hyman was the first Tiger selected to play since 2014 graduate Kyler Turpin while 2016 graduate Gage Smith had been previously chosen as a replacement. Hyman, who was also a thrower for the track and field team, thought his athletic career may have been over when his season ended at sectionals, but Silvers told him his future may have a different path. Having played in an All-Star game himself in Springfield during his playing days in Camdenton, Silvers told the senior to simply enjoy himself.
“I’m happy for Chase, excited for him and luckily he is actually continuing his career to play at Missouri Western, but this could have been his last game,” Silvers stated.
“I told Chase it was the best time I ever had. You are around guys, and some of them it is their last time, but they love to play football and for a lot of them it was their last hoorah. It was a really exciting time, practice was loose and there was no conditioning.”
Hyman will likely take that message to heart, noting how much fun he had at Versailles and how his time with the Tiger shaped the person he is today. Silvers said his example is certainly a good one to follow.
“Anytime you are selected for something like that it is cool for your school and great for our program going forward,” the coach said. “Hopefully our kids are like, ‘Hey, that is an opportunity for me if I work hard like Chase did’ and he has worked his butt off all summer to get ready for college.”
But before then, Silvers plans to see Hyman take the field on Saturday and bring a few Tigers with him as well.
“I’m excited and hopefully we get some more guys to come out and do that,” the coach said.
Riley Pope could not be reached for comment at the time of press