With another successful season of high school baseball in the books, it’s time to look back on the season’s most notable, standout players in Crawford County and honor them with spots on the All-County Baseball Team.
The all-county baseball team is made up of a coach of the year, a list of first-team players and a list of honorable mentions. The first-team includes a pitcher, catcher, four infielders, three outfielders and a utility player. The list honorable mentions include a pitcher(s), catcher and nine utility players.
The players were selected by Morning Sun sports editor Jordan Buckamneer based on statistical outputs in offensive, defensive and pitching categories within their respective leagues.
2017 Morning Sun All-County Coach of the Year
David Dainty - Southeast
Life in the CNC tends to be difficult for the small school in Cherokee, but the Lancers overcame the odds by winning regionals and made a run at the state title long after many had written them off. It was easy to underestimate the Lancers after a slow start to the season, but Dainty helped his team turn doubters into believers by winning regionals and taking game one of the state tournament. Southeast fell short of winning it all in the end, but it was a memorable and impressive run nonetheless.
2017 Morning Sun All-County Baseball First Team
Pitcher: Broc Ginivan - Frontenac, junior
To say that Ginivan was untouchable this season would be an understatement. In his 37.1 innings of work, Ginavan allowed four earned runs on 13 hits for an ERA and of .750 and finished with a record of 6-1. Unfortunately for the rest of the CNC, Ginivan still has one more season left as a Raider.
Catcher: Jeremy Dale - Northeast, senior
Dale’s presence behind the dish and at the top of the lineup was a big boost for the Vikings. As the leadoff hitter, Dale set the table by being a disciplined at the plate and getting on base at a high rate. In addition to his .633 batting average, he had an on-base percentage of .771. Dale managed to cross the plate 23 throughout the season, thanks to smart baserunning and quality at-bats by his teammates behind him.
Infield: Chase Curtis - Pittsburg, junior
Batting third in the order as one of the biggest hitters in the lineup, Curtis didn’t fit the mold of a typical middle infielder. Although Curtis had the glove of a quality shortstop — with a fielding percentage of .921 — he was unique because of his power at the plate. Curtis drove in 21 RBIs on 22 hits for a batting average of .328 and a slugging percentage of .403.
Infield: Tyler Brynds - Colgan, senior
As one of the most reliable hitters for the Panthers, Brynds was an offensive catalyst near the top of the lineup. Brynds was an on-base machine, tallying an on-base percentage of .554 with the help of a .486 batting average. His smart baserunning combined with quality at-bats from his teammates boosted him to a run total of 21. Brynds was also as reliable as they come on defense, committing one error on 31 attempts.
Infield: Garrett VanBecelaere - Colgan, senior
VanBecelaere’s ability to get on base made him a great table setter for the Panthers all season long at the leadoff spot. He had an on-base percentage of .494 with a batting average of .353 and cashed in with 23 runs scored. VanBecelaere was also disciplined at the plate, drawing a team-high 15 walks and driving in 17 runs.
Infield: Jake Burns - Southeast, junior
Burns was everything a coach could ask for this season, as he was tested often defensively and came through all but once in his 190 attempts. At the plate, he finished with a batting average of .325 and was second on the team in RBIs with 17.
Outfield: Elijah Harris - Pittsburg, senior
Harris’ combination of plate discipline and speed made him an ideal leadoff hitter and center fielder for the Purple Dragons. Harris led PHS in several offensive categories including hits (28), walks (26), runs scored (33), on-base percentage (.614), batting average (.452) and slugging percentage (.565).
Outfield: Cole Burdette - Southeast, senior
The Lancers’ excellent season was largely due to Burdette’s offensive firepower. Burdette led the Lancers in hits (32), RBIs (18), runs (27), batting average (.400) and slugging percentage (.600). Burdette was also versatile on defense with a fielding percentage of .956 in the outfield and a team-high 59 strikeouts on the mound.
Outfield: Dominic Piccini - Colgan, senior
Piccini proved to be a hitter who could produce in any part of the lineup. Piccini drove in 11 RBIs and scored 21 runs on 28 hits. His hit total was good for a batting average of .483 and an on-base percentage of .545. Piccini was also perfect in the field with no errors on 28 attempts.
Utility: Tejay Cleland - Northeast, sophomore
It was a rough season overall for Northeast, but Cleland’s productivity at the plate was a bright spot for the Vikings. Cleland led his team with a batting average of .381 and an on-base percentage of .458. He also tied for first in the RBI category with 11 and crossed the plate seven times.
Pitcher: Noah Vaughn, Jake Webb - Pittsburg, seniors
The dynamic duo on the mound of Vaughn and Webb led the Purple Dragons to 15 wins in the season. Although PHS came up short in regionals, the pair of ace pitchers were nothing short of special. Vaughn tallied 49 strikeouts and allowed 12 runs on as many hits for an ERA of 2.31. Webb also finished with an ERA of 2.31, with a strikeout total of 41.
Catcher: Simon Higginbotham - Colgan, senior
Higginbotham was as reliable as they come behind the dish, committing one error throughout the season. In the batter’s box, Higginbotham drove in a team-high 20 runs on 24 hits. He finished with a batting average of .358 and a slugging percentage of .482.
Trent Austin - Pittsburg, sophomore
Austin was a great asset to the Purple Dragons in the field and cashed in on scoring opportunities at the plate. Defensively, he committed two errors on on 31 attempts and had a team-high 24 RBIs on offense. Austin also notched 26 hits for a batting average of .388 and scored seven runs.
Trenton Diskin - Girard, senior
Diskin did a little bit of everything for the Trojans this season. In addition to being close to the top in nearly every offensive category, he was also reliable in the field and was available to pitch if needed. At the plate, Diskin drove in 13 RBIs, scored 12 times, tallied 19 hits and finished with a batting average of .317. Defensively, he committed one error on 25 attempts.
Hunter Jameson - Southeast, senior
Jameson was another big contributor to the Lancers this season. His bat at the plate, his arm on the mound and his glove on the field made him an all-around star in the CNC. At the dish, Jameson was a .291 hitter with nine RBIs and 11 runs. On the mound, he sat down 40 batters on strikes through 41.1 innings of work.
Brandon Mlekus - Frontenac, senior
Batting third in the lineup, Mlekus stepped up to the challenge of being a big contributor to the Raiders’ offense. He tallied 11 RBIs on 18 hits for a batting of average of .286. Mlekus crossed the plate 21 times and didn’t commit a single error in 24 attempts.
Evan Troike - Girard, sophomore
Troike was an all-around player for the Trojans, ready to fill any role his team needed at the drop of a hat. He was the team leader in batting average (.382), on-base percentage (.545), slugging percentage (.509) and runs scored (22).
Jake Wilbert - Frontenac, junior
The moment was never too big for the versatile Wilbert. He consistently cashed in on scoring opportunities, leading the Raiders in RBIs at 19 and hit for an average of .286. In addition to being a solid outfielder with a .955 fielding percentage, Wilbert was also available to pitch. On the mound, he notched 11 strikeouts in nine innings.
Addison Edwards - Northeast, senior
Batting cleanup usually isn’t the spot in the order for a typical shortstop, but Edwards wasn’t an average middle infielder. Edwards drove in 11 runs for the Vikings with a .378 batting average and a slugging percentage of .489. Defensively, Edwards had 23 putouts and recorded 18 strikeouts on the mound through 12.2 innings of work.
Ryan Long - Frontenac, senior
Long was the definition of a utility player for the Raiders this season. In addition to playing first and second base, Long also played all around the outfield and threw the second-most innings on the mound for his team at 18.1. At the plate, Long hit .277 and drove in eight runs with nine runs scored. On the bump, Long recorded nine strikeouts and finished with an ERA of 1.90.
Quintin Ausemus - Girard, senior
Another solid utility player for the Trojans, Ausemus was productive all around the diamond. He drove in 11 RBIs, crossed the plate 14 times and recorded 19 hits for a batting average of .302.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.