New Richmond, Somerset baseball teams well represented on All-MBC baseball team
The baseball season in the Middle Border Conference was marked with teams that were highly competitive, especially the top six teams at the top of the conference.
So, when the 2014 all-conference team was announced last week, it wasn’t surprising that there was quite an even distribution of honors among those teams. New Richmond was able to get five players onto the All-MBC list, with Somerset getting six players selected.
New Richmond and Somerset both had one senior named to the All-MBC first team. For New Richmond, it was senior Jeremy Leavens, one of the leading hitters in the conference. Somerset’s representative was shortstop/pitcher Zac Waalen. Here is the rundown on each team’s all-conference honors.
Leavens ranked among the top hitters in the conference this season with a .387 batting average.
“Jeremy’s one of the better hitters in the conference. He identifies the fastball and hits it hard and he recognizes the curveball early,” said Tiger coach Chad Fehrman.
Two Tigers made the All-MBC second team: senior Josh Kizer and sophomore Cole Peterson. Kizer batted in the cleanup spot all season for the Tigers, leading the team with 18 runs batted in. Kizer is also an agile defensive player who can handle either corner infield position quite handily.
Peterson stepped into the Tigers’ leadoff role at the start of the season and quickly proved he belonged there. He led the Tigers with 19 runs scored and his 21 walks also topped the team. His on-base percentage (.500) was the best on the team.
Earning honorable mention All-MBC honors were senior Hayden Nelson and sophomore Caleb Manecke. Nelson was the Tigers’ most reliable pitcher this season. He led the team in wins and innings pitched and he put up a strong battle in every game he pitched. Manecke was the Tigers’ catcher and he developed into the leader the Tigers need behind the plate. His hitting came on strong in the second half of the season, raising his final batting average to .343.
“Caleb surpassed our expectations,” Fehrman said. “He really led our team in hustle.”
This is the third year that Waalen has been selected to the all-conference list and his first time as a first-teamer. Waalen had one of the most prominent roles in the conference as the Spartans’ shortstop and leadoff hitter, along with pitching more than 50 innings this season. Waalen has been a fixture in the Spartan program for years, starting out as the team’s batboy.
“The coaches liked his attitude, his defense, his gutsiness on the mound,” Spartan coach John Ball said on Waalen’s being voted onto the first team.
Senior Andy Peters, junior Tyler Lueck and sophomore Tommy Grygienc were Somerset’s selections on the All-MBC second team. Peters hit .429 in conference games, spending most of the season as Somerset’s cleanup hitter. He was also Somerset’s bullpen ace. He pitched in 16 of the team’s 23 games, registering 38 strikeouts in 24 innings of work.
Lueck developed into a legitimate ace pitcher this season in his second time making the all-conference list. He went 6-3 on the mound with a 3.25 earned run average, striking out 67 batters in 53 innings of work. He also was a key ingredient in the Spartan offense, hitting .365.
Grygienc was a rock-solid second baseman for the Spartans. He made just one error during the conference season and he hit .410 in the conference schedule.
Senior Aaron Moore and sophomore Logan Peterson were honorable mention All-MBC choices. Moore returned to baseball after several seasons away from the sport. He quickly became one of the best defensive outfielders in the conference. He made steady progress as the Spartans’ leadoff hitter, finishing with a .364 batting average, leading the team with 28 hits.
Peterson is another of the younger Spartans who showed the team has a bright future. He hit .351, ranking second on the team in hits. He also showed he’s a skilled defensive player.
All-Middle Border 2014 baseball team
Pitcher: Brady Yanish Junior Ellsworth
Pitcher: Matt Holman Senior Prescott
Catcher: Justin Lynner Junior Prescott
Infield: Jordan Luehman Senior Amery
Infield: Nick Taranto Junior Ellsworth
Infield: Mike Brookshaw Junior Prescott
Infield: Zac Waalen Senior Somerset
Outfield: Dennis Schutz Senior Ellsworth
Outfield: Jeremy Leavens Senior New Richmond
Outfield: Alex Helmer Senior Prescott
Utility/DH: Logan Armstrong Senior Ellsworth
Pitcher: Bennett Paulson Sophomore Amery
Pitcher: Tyler Lueck Junior Somerset
Catcher: Cody Paulson Senior Baldwin-Woodville
Infield: Isaac Hines Senior Ellsworth
Infield: Josh Kizer Senior New Richmond
Infield: Cole Peterson Sophomore New Richmond
Infield: Tommy Grygienc Sophomore Somerset
Outfield: Dan Giese Senior Ellsworth
Outfield: Tyler Maxon Junior Osceola
Outfield: Owen Schommer Senior Prescott
Utility/DH: Andy Peters Senior Somerset
Zach Anderson Senior Amery
Cole Monson Senior Amery
Bryce Paulson Junior Baldwin-Woodville
Hunter Black Sophomore Durand
Jake Biesterveld Senior Durand
Logan Polzer Sophomore Durand
Hayden Nelson Senior New Richmond
Caleb Manecke Sophomore New Richmond
Devon Jorde Senior Osceola
Aaron Moore Senior Somerset
Logan Peterson Sophomore Somerset