When you think of baseball in the News-Telegraph area, the first team that comes to mind is often CAM.
The Cougars typically have the best teams in the area, and this year they had another outstanding season, going 24-6 in a year that was shockingly halted abruptly in the Iowa Class 1A district semifinals.
But it’s little surprise that the Cougars landed seven players on the first-ever News-Telegraph baseball team. That’s more than 35 percent of the 19-member squad, which the newspaper named today.
Atlantic, guided by second-team all-stater Chase McLaren, had four players named to the team, while Exira-EHK landed three. AHSTW and Audubon had two each, while Griswold also saw representation.
AHSTW, Audubon and Exira-EHK both had records at or near 0.500. Atlantic came on toward the end of the season after some early struggles, and it was McLaren who helped keep the team together during the rough stretches.
ACGC, Griswold Riverside both struggled this year, each having young, inexperienced squads. With work during the off-season and focus on the sport, there is every reason to believe each team can improve in 2020.
For now, here’s how the teams shape up:
• Jackson Jensen, jr., Audubon: Had several team bests for the Wheelers’ bullpen, including record (4-3), ERA (1.83), strikeouts (69) and opponent’s battling average (0.185).
• Josh Pettipier, sr., Exira-EHK: Second-team all-Rolling Valley Conference who was the Spartans’ ace. Went 3-3 in 43 1/3 innings, striking out a team best 57 batters and compiling a 3.23 ERA while batters averaged 0.242 against him.
• Cade Ticknor, fresh., CAM: Second-team Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A Southwest District. Went 8-0 in 10 appearances for the Cougars in a breakout freshman year. Had team bests in opponent’s batting average (0.143), strikeouts (41) and ERA (1.93).
• Mitchell Williamson, sr., CAM: First team all-Rolling Valley Conference and Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A Southwest District. A five-sport athlete who was the elder part of a strong one-two pitching punch for the Cougars. Opponents’ on-base percentage was 0.151 against him as he struck out 36 batters while compiling a 2.63 ERA.
• Isaac Bower, sr., CAM: Went 9-of-25 in catching opponents stealing. A solid presence behind the plate who helped in the success of the Cougar bullpen.
• Bodie Johnson, soph., Atlantic: Was 14-of-54 in catching opponents stealing, and was very knowledgeable helping call pitches for the Trojans.
• Cole Burmeister, sr., Exira-EHK: First-team all-Rolling Valley Conference. Team bests with a 0.420 average and 0.518 on-base percentage. Stole 43 bases. Defensive leader on the field.
• Brody O’Brien, jr., Atlantic: Second team all-Hawkeye Ten Conference, who played third base for the Trojans when not pitching. Had a team-high 17 RBIs and batted 0.343.
• Sam Porter, jr., AHSTW: First-team for both all-Western Iowa Conference and Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A Southwest District. The Vikings’ leader offensively, batting 0.457 and having an on-base percentage of 0.545. Of his 32 hits, 13 went for extra bases, including four triples, and those drove in 22 runs. At first base, was 120 for 125 fielding, either put-outs or assists. Went 6-3 on the mound, with a team-high 63 strikeouts.
• Lane Spieker, fresh., CAM: First-team all-Rolling Valley Conference who was part of a strong freshman class for the Cougars. Team high in batting average (0.422), on-base (0.559) and drawn walks (21); he also was perfect in 19 stolen-base attempts.
• DeShawn Carr, sr., CAM: Second-team all-Rolling Valley Conference. An anchor for the Cougars’ outfield for several seasons with his speed, also stole 14-of-15 bases offensively.
• Collin Mullenix, soph., Atlantic: Second-team all Hawkeye Ten Conference who captained the outfield much of the season. A 0.313 batting average and on-base percentage of 0.477 were highlights. Had a team-high nine stolen bases.
• Trey Nelson, sr., Exira-EHK: Batted 0.377 and had an on-base percentage of 0.457. Was 59-of-61 fielding.
• Schuyler Schultes, jr., Audubon: First team all-Western Iowa Conference, second team all-Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 1A Southwest District. Led outfield from his left field position. One of three Wheelers to have 27 hits (a team high), six went for extra bases, including a triple and home run. Drew 19 walks and was 18-for-19 in stolen base attempts. Went 37-of-40 in fielding. Was also the team’s No. 2 pitcher, going 3-2 and having a 1.91 ERA.
• Joey Cunningham, jr., AHSTW: Second team all-Western Iowa Conference. Was 0.408 batting and 0.478 on-bas percentage. Went 25-for-27 in stolen base attempts. Split time between the mound and left field.
• Chase McLaren, sr., Atlantic: Second-team all-state Class 3A as voted by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association, and one of just four Hawkeye Ten Conference first-team players to be voted unanimously. A five-year letterwinner and only returning player this past season with extensive varsity experience, he spent his senior season at shortstop and pitching. A two-sport athlete who also was noted for his academic achievements, batted .500 (38-of-76) and 0.582 on-base percentage. Had 16 RBIs as 12 of his 38 hits went for extra bases. Committed just three errors in 102 total attempts. Pitchingwise, went 4-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 51-1/3 innings of work.
• Derek Mueller, jr., Griswold: A bright spot for the Tigers during a tough season. Had a .360 batting average with eight of his 18 hits going for extra bases, including one home run.
• Kolby Nelson, jr., CAM: Second team all-Rolling Valley Conference. An infielder, batted 0.345 and had an on-base percentage of 0.424. His 38 hits was a team high.
• Colby Rich, fresh., CAM: Second team all-Rolling Valley Conference. On-base percentage was 0.411. Team high 28 runs batted in. Part of a strong underclass for the Cougars.